(Another glitch: this posting was made on Thursday, May 12 as Number VII in the Abraham Federation series . . . and "disappeared" from the blog. It is reposted again, necessarily out of sequence because we can't go back in time.) Although some Arabs would dispute the legitimacy of all Israeli-occupied territory, the Israeli military has the power to maintain law and order over all areas it now patrols. Despite the intifada and mounting international pressures on Israel, this reality is unlikely to change in the foreseeable future. On the other hand, the easy diffusion of modern military technology, including weapons of mass destruction among Arab guerrillas and their allies, makes a military status quo uneasy at best.
The main obstacle to peace, in this author's view, is not the Israeli military or the deep-seated Holocaust fears which justify in the minds of most Israelis the continued Israeli military presence on the land where the Abraham Federation could be created. Rather, the deeper issue is whether a more just society can be conceived, which will eventually allow the Israeli military presence to be phased out and replaced by US and international security forces during the transition to a viable Abraham Federation at peace with all its neighbors, including Israel.
Some occupied territory under Israeli control is now open to negotiation for a new status at least as a foothold for a more comprehensive, longer-term strategy in the future for the entire Middle East.
The biblical region of Judea and Samaria the West Bank (with extensions in Gaza and other areas covered by the Oslo Agreement) could provide that foothold. It includes Bethlehem, Hebron and the surrounding mountain region west of the Jordan River. It also encompasses Jerusalem, which deserves special handling, perhaps serving in the transition period as the capital of the new nation as well as present Israel. Jerusalem could even be designated by the UN as a special "global capital," to be administered by spiritual leaders of all faiths and policed by security guards under the authority of the Security Council of the UN.
The proposed strategy would go beyond the demeaning "autonomy" proposals of the Israeli Likud Party. It would be less threatening to Jewish settlers than the Labor Party's "land-for-peace" proposals. And it would offer a significantly more just future for all Palestinians than what they are now demanding.
If a new beginning can be made in the West Bank and Gaza, with a free transit corridor linking the two areas, a more comprehensive regional approach could later be negotiated, based on the success of the Abraham Federation model.