THE SOLUTION TO THE MIDDLE EAST PROBLEM
Israel vs. Lebanon. Israel vs. Palestinians. Israel vs. Syria. Israel vs. Iran. Israel vs. the UN.
What’s the common denominator here? ISRAEL!
I think it’s way past time the international community took action to nip in the bud the whole ongoing Middle East crisis lo these 59 years: An international Police Action to push Israel back within its pre-1967, internationally-recognized borders, and end the threat it poses to its neighbors. Israel is an outlaw State. To let it “negotiate” regarding its illegal occupation and annexation of Palestinian Territories has been exceedingly generous of the international community. But Israel has not shown good faith in “negotiating.” It’s time for an ultimatum: Withdraw, give up nuclear weapons, and renounce the policy of invading and threatening its neighbors, or face large-scale military action.
I don’t pretend the United States regime will let such an action be approved by the UN Security Council. But forcing a US veto would put the US squarely on the record as a big part of the problem in the Middle East. (As if there were any doubt.) So the action must be proposed. So here is what I propose:
This is clearly something the Arab countries by themselves can’t pull off, or they would have years ago. So it really has to be a Korea-scale, global effort.
The United Nations Middle East Police Force (UNMEPF) – with permission of the countries involved, of course – masses troops in northern Lebanon, southern Syria, western Jordan, and the Egyptian Sinai, with sea and air cover in the Mediterranean and Red Seas. This may require several hundred thousand land troops, prepared to meet any possible resistance posed by Israel or its opponents.
If Israel hasn’t withdrawn by the deadline, air forces implement a no-fly zone over Israel (barring both planes and helicopter gunships), sea forces a blockade to end delivery of weapons and money to Israel, and land forces converge on Israel’s northern and southern borders, the Gaza border with Egypt, the Golan Heights line of control, and the east bank of the Jordan Valley. At the same time, the forces in southern Lebanon disarm all armed groups there, and round-up criminal suspects, with Lebanese assistance, for prosecution.
Then land forces enter the Golan Heights, Gaza, and the West Bank. The Heights should remain an internationally-occupied neutral zone between Israel and Syria, with a permanent UN force there not subject to dismissal by Israel or Syria. Israeli settlers there need to be evicted. In Gaza, UNMEPF disarms all armed groups and rounds-up criminal suspects, with the assistance of the Palestinian National Authority, for prosecution. It also begins what will probably by that point have to be one of the most massive humanitarian aid missions in history. And in the West Bank, UN forces disarm and evict illegal Israeli settlers – including those in illegally-annexed areas – and disarm and arrest Palestinian armed factions for prosecution. All the while safeguarding Jewish, Muslim, and Christian holy sites from all attack. Those parts of the West Bank Wall encroaching on illegally-held territory are dismantled, and UNMEPF takes up positions at the internationally-recognized border, including in the Old City of (East) Jerusalem.
At the same time, UN commandos enter Israel Proper and seek to neutralize Israel’s nuclear threat. UNMEPF should only enter, or project land force into, Israel Proper, in self-defense or in defense of populations falling under Israeli attack.
The Police Action probably shouldn’t include armed forces from Arab or Muslim states, except by Lebanese, Syrian, Jordanian, and Egyptian forces up to their own borders. But local tactical and logistic advisors, humanitarian aiders, cultural advisors, and translators will of course be necessary. It also probably shouldn’t be more than half drawn from Europe, North America, Australia, and New Zealand, to avoid the appearance of a Christian “Crusade.” So it will require lots of support from Latin America, North and East Asia, and non-Muslim Africa. (Probably not India, either, because of that country’s Muslim conflicts.)
Like the Korean Police Action, this could all take a very long time for the acreage, and be very destructive. Alot of humanitarian aid will probably also be needed in the West Bank. But the alternative seems to be worldwide Armageddon.
Probably the international community should impose permanent international occupation and control of the Old City of (East) Jerusalem, again, not subject to dismissal by Israel or Palestine. If either country wishes to make it their capital, it should be on a non-exclusive, and non-militarized (by them), basis.
Palestinian freedom of movement between the West Bank and Gaza will need to be secured.
Palestinian refugees should be encouraged to return to the West Bank and Gaza – and emigrants overseas too – and a financial settlement should be exacted from Israel for those not being permitted to return to Israel Proper, in lieu of a Palestinian Right of Return there.
UN forces and humanitarian aiders should remain in the West Bank, Gaza, and south Lebanon, as long as the UN believes it is necessary, not subject to dismissal by the PA or the Lebanese. Though as the PA and Lebanon build up professional, and professionally-run, police and military forces, UN forces may withdraw to the border regions.
The no-fly zone over Israel Proper, and the sea blockade, should remain, with modifications after the cessation of active hostilities, until conditions in Israel warrant their lifting.
And Iran and Syria should be “strongly encouraged” to end support for Palestinian resistance groups, and Iran should be “strongly encouraged” to accept overseas processing of uranium for its nuclear power plants, to prevent it from obtaining the Bomb.
Israel and its neighbors (that haven’t already) should be “strongly encouraged” to – in real good faith – reach final peace settlements guaranteeing each other’s borders, security, and other issues. And Israel and Palestine must guarantee full reasonable access of unarmed pilgrims to Muslim, Jewish, and Christian holy sites remaining under their respective control.
Any demilitarized or neutral zone between Israel and Palestine must take land equally from both, except in Gaza, given the shortage of land there.