The HyperTexts

A Proposal for Peace through Justice in the Middle East: The Burch-Elberry Peace Initiative

by Michael R. Burch, an editor and publisher of Holocaust and Nakba poetry

Is the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians irresolvable, and thus hopeless? The consensus opinion seems to be that Jews and Palestinians have been "fighting for thousands of years," leaving little or no hope of peace. But before we wring our hands or throw them helplessly up in the air, we should consider two things:

First, even people who don't care for each other can live together in peace, if everyone is governed by fair, nonracist laws and courts. During the Holocaust, Nazis enslaved, brutalized and murdered Jews, Gypsies, Slavs and other "non-Aryans" in the most despicable and horrific ways. However, after Germany lost the war and was forced to establish a much fairer system of laws and courts by the Allies, ethic Germans and minorities were soon able to live together in relative peace, even though there was no sudden outpouring of affection between the victims and their former oppressors. The same is true for the descendents of black slaves and white slaveowners where I live in Nashville, Tennessee. After the United States finally abolished Jim Crow laws and kangaroo courts during the days of the American Civil Rights Movement, millions of white citizens came to the conclusion that the main problem all along had been racial injustices, not the previously-alleged "character defects" on the part of their darker-skinned victims. If Israel would establish fair, nonracist laws and courts, the evidence of history is that racial tensions and violence would decrease dramatically within a relatively short period of time. The reduction in violence and the demonstration that peaceful coexistence is actually possible would then help foster better feelings, and new friendships, over time.

Second, it is a myth that Jews and Palestinians have been "constantly at war" with each other. The New Testament records what life was like in Palestine during the first century AD, when Roman laws and courts (the famous Pax Romana) governed everyone in the region, but it doesn't mention any major hostilities between Jews and Palestinians, only minor frictions. And during the Jewish diaspora there were always Jews who continued to live in Palestine. For the most part, they lived in peace with their neighbors. As the great Jewish scientist and humanitarian Albert Einstein pointed out in his extensive writings on the need for peaceful coexistence, Jews had historically been treated much more tolerantly by Muslims than by European Christians. It was only after Jews began to arrive in Palestine in increasing numbers in the early 1900s, with the stated intention of taking over, that tensions began to mount, nerves began to fray, and both sides began to resort to violence. And let's be honest: if millions of Jews had emigrated to Texas en masse, planning to turn Texas into a Jewish state, all hell would have broken loose there too. After all, Texans, like Palestinians, prize their freedom, rights, religion and culture. Some of the greatest Jewish intellectuals of the modern era―including Einstein, Sigmund Freud and Noam Chomsky―pointed out that Palestinian violence has been a reaction to the injustices inflicted on the native population. If Israel really wants peace, the first step must be to put an end to the injustices that produce so much resentment, anger and violence.

Nelson Mandela gave the world a valuable clue at his trial for sabotage. He pointed out that the African National Congress (ANC) had used Gandhian non-violent resistance for more than fifty years without success, because non-violent methods do not work when the laws and courts have been rigged to favor the oppressors over their victims. Mandela did not resort to acts of terrorism because he hated white people, or wanted to rule over them. He resorted to acts of violence because a wildly unjust system left him no other viable choice. But if Israel were to establish fair laws and courts, the Palestinians would have a viable recourse other than acts of violence.


Justice is the key. If we consider historical facts, it is justice that leads to racial peace, not feelings. And this makes sense, because fair laws and courts make it too expensive to practice racism, since lawbreakers on both sides face fines, civil damages and/or prison sentences. Once fair laws and courts have been established, everyone willing to coexist can live together in peace, while everyone else ends up broke, or in jail. But wherever fair laws and courts do not exist, the result is invariably violence, with the greater violence being on the part of the people in power because the laws and courts have been rigged to favor and protect them. This is the problem Mandela faced, and it is clearly the case in Israel/Palestine today. As Mandela's fellow Nobel Peace Prize laureates Jimmy Carter and Desmond Tutu have pointed out, Palestinians have been subjected to a system of daily, large-scale, systematic, grinding racism, apartheid and ethnic cleansing. Many Jewish peace and human rights organizations agree. But there is hope, if we can persuade Israel to do what Americans, Germans and South Africans did, when they finally established justice in the form of fair laws and courts.

But how?, you may be wondering. Sure, it makes sense to say that fair laws and courts are necessary for peace, but what can anyone do, to persuade Israel to do what other nations have done with considerable success? The answer may be surprisingly simple. It can, in fact, be stated in a single sentence that we may call "The One-step Peace Solution" or TOPS:

We need a new U.N. resolution that requires Israel to unconditionally establish equal rights, fair laws and fair courts for every human being under its jurisdiction, whether civil or military, without exception.

Features of this new resolution that would help it succeed in reducing violence and creating a foundation for a lasting peace are: (1) the resolution should be backed by economic sanctions; (2) the courts should be able to set legal precedents; and (3) important court cases should be subject to peer review by judges appointed by the United Nations.

We have called this "The One-step Peace Solution" because here on planet earth, peace requires justice and justice requires equality. If we manage to establish equality and justice, peace can begin to grow "organically" even if Israeli and Palestinian politicians cannot agree about eternal borders, or matters of security and sovereignty. What politicians cannot accomplish in a fell swoop at the bargaining table, fair laws and courts can accomplish one case at at time in an "organic" process. Fair laws and courts are the basis of civilization. Without them, a just, lasting peace is impossible. With them, violence can be reduced and peace can begin to grow and flourish, regardless of who is running the show. And it is important to note that fair laws and courts are compatible with a one-state solution, a two-state solution, a bi-national state, a confederacy, or any other form of democracy that may emerge over time.

If Israel complies with this new resolution, then peace through justice becomes possible. Palestinians will be protected from their homes being demolished and their land being confiscated without due process. This will help reduce the very understandable anger some of them feel, and the violence that anger produces. As violence on the part of the Palestinian resistance decreases, Israeli Jews will benefit in many ways from the "peace dividend."

If Israel does not comply, the U.N. can impose economic sanctions and in due course Israeli voters will "vote their pocketbooks" (a worldwide democratic phenomenon) and elect new leaders more amenable to establishing peace through justice. But hopefully economic sanctions will not be necessary, once Israeli voters and politicians understand their new reality. Just the threat of economic sanctions should be the catalyst for Israel to abandon its unsustainable and peace-defeating "settlement expansions" in the West Bank. 

If you think this idea has merit, please feel free to share the URL with your family, friends and elected representatives.

Michael R. Burch
Holocaust and Nakba poetry editor
The HyperTexts


Questions and Answers:

Won't the United States veto this resolution, the way it has vetoed so many other resolutions about Israel and Palestine in the past?

It will be very difficult for the U.S. government to veto a resolution that is limited strictly to establishing equal human rights, fair laws and just courts. After all, these are principles the entire world now confirms. And the most famous phrase in the American Declaration of Independence is "all men are created equal." How, then, can the U.S. government veto equal human rights, fair laws and fair courts for millions of people? And if the U.S. government considers such an unjust action, the international community can put enormous pressure on the people making the decision, including the acting president, by asking: "Who are you to deny equality and justice to your suffering brothers and sisters? You claim that you believe in the fundamental principles of equality and justice. Will you prove yourself and your nation to be hypocrites, by vetoing your own creed of equality and justice for everyone?" So this resolution has a chance to pass where other resolutions were vetoed.

How can we be assured that Israel will abide by the resolution?

If the resolution is backed by economic sanctions, Israel will not be able to ignore it, because Israel needs imports and exports to have a viable economy.

Given its lack of teeth, and the diffusion of responsibility inherent within its structure, how can we be assured the U.N. will follow through on the resolution?

The U.N. has followed through on sanctions imposed on Iraq and Iran, so there is no reason that the U.N. cannot follow up on this one. One way to enforce the resolution is for the U.N. to appoint a panel of judges to review important court cases and make sure the principles of equality and justice are being met by Israel's courts and judges. If the proper standards are being met, economic sanctions will not be needed. If Israel's courts fail to meet the required standards, the U.N. can impose an escalating series of economic sanctions, until Israel complies.

How does the one-step solution differ from a one- or two-state solution?

Fair laws and courts are compatible with any just form of government. Fair laws and courts are also compatible with an "emerging" democracy in which everything doesn't have to be agreed upon in advance. If Israeli and Palestinian politicians cannot agree on eternal borders, for instance, a two-state solution falls apart. If they cannot agree on the right of return of Palestinian refugees, a one-state solution falls apart. But fair laws and courts can settle such matters in a series of smaller steps, one legal case at a time.

Who can propose the new resolution?

Any member nation of the U.N. can submit a new resolution, so we don't have to depend on Israeli, Palestinian or American politicians to "do the right thing." Politicians are often much better at saying than doing the right things. They often do what is expedient, rather than what is right. But TOPS takes this unfortunate reality into account and operates through the U.N., bypassing American, Israeli and Palestinian politicians in the early going. Once progress is being made in a better direction, politicians can adapt to the improving climate.

Why go through the trouble of passing and implementing the one-step solution when most of the world agrees the Palestinians need their own state and it needs to happen now or never?

Creating a new political state in the middle of such chaos will be very difficult, if not impossible. But TOPS will help reduce the chaos and the violence, which could help a Palestinian state emerge over time. But it is also possible that when Israeli Jews and Palestinians see that they really can live together in peace, they will prefer a one-state solution. TOPS keeps all the doors open at all times, in terms of how the state(s) will be configured.

Why go through the trouble of passing and implementing such a resolution when a single-democratic state, with equal rights for all is more ideal?

Similarly, it will be very difficult if not impossible to create a single state amid such chaos and violence. If a single state is to develop, it may have to develop over time, as the conflicting sides learn to trust each other and work together.

Why not let solutions arise from the Palestinians themselves, who may not even want this resolution?

TOPS does not impose any particular state configuration on either Palestinians or Israelis. They are free to choose whatever solution they are able to agree upon, between themselves. But in the meantime, if there is no mutual agreement, there will at least be a system of justice that reduces chaos and violence.

What’s in the resolution for Israel?

There are tremendous benefits for Israel: (1) a just, lasting peace; (2) being able to spend more money on productive things and less money on weaponry and war; (3) ending the accusations that Israel is practicing apartheid and committing war crimes against a mostly defenseless people; (4) improving Israel's standing in the world community; (5) improving Israel's relationships with its neighbors who want the Palestinians to prosper rather than suffer; (6) and the satisfaction of doing the morally correct things.

Why would an occupying power relinquish control to a population that is openly hostile and occupies a critical buffer zone between it and other hostile states?

Because peace is not possible as long as Israel remains an occupying power. Because the open hostility is a result of the occupation. And because Israel has massive military superiority over its neighbors and does not need a "buffer." The last point was confirmed by the man responsible for Israel's defense, Ehud Barak, in an interview he did with the Los Angeles Times. Barak confirmed that Israel has massive military superiority over its neighbors and does not fear an invasion or losing a war. Thus, Israel can negotiate from a position of strength, rather than weakness.

Why should we believe peace with Israel is even possible?

Because history has demonstrated that fair laws and courts make racial peace possible: (1) in Germany after the Allies defeated the Nazis and imposed a fairer system of laws and courts; (2) in the United States, after the reforms introduced by the American Civil Rights Movement; and (3) in South Africa after apartheid was ended.

Will the resolution give Israel jurisdiction over areas currently under Palestinian Authority control?

The resolution does not change Israel's jurisdiction. But in areas where Israel has jurisdiction, it requires Israel's laws and courts to be fair. Israel's military courts have a conviction rate of nearly 100% and cannot be considered to be "just" in any sense of the word. Palestinian children are being arrested, detained for long periods of time, and prevented from seeing their parents and lawyers. With the resolution, such abuses would have to end, and ending such abuses will help reduce tensions and violence on both sides.

Will Israeli Defense Forces continue to make arrests in areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority?

The resolution does not stop such arrests directly, but it requires that when arrests are made, the people being arrested must be treated as equals before the law. So Jews should be treated no differently from Palestinians, and vice versa.

Wouldn’t extending civil law to the occupied territories signal a de facto end to the occupation and a move toward annexation?

Not necessarily. Annexation is not a given, because lacking a political solution acceptable to both sides, just courts would decide what happens on a case-by-case basis. If Palestinians have a better legal claim to land in the West Bank, then some of  the land that has been informally "annexed" by Israel may pass back into Palestinian hands. If Israel seeks to annex land in the West Bank, Palestinians can sue to protect their rights.

How will the resolution effect Gaza, where Israel seldom stations troops or make arrests, but tends to do the most damage?

Gazans will have the right to sue Israel for death, dismemberment, loss of property, etc. So Israel will have to consider the cost of inflicting so much damage on noncombatants in Gaza.

What might the relationship of such a movement be to the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement?

Whenever Israel does not treat Palestinians as human beings with fully equal rights, both the resolution and the BDS movement seek similar goals using similar methods. If Israel reforms its policies and actions, then neither U.N. economic sanctions or BDS actions will be needed.

How will the resolution effect the right of return?

That is a matter the courts will determine, over time. If there is a political solution that the courts deem legal, the matter can be decided by Israeli and Palestinian negotiators. But whatever happens will have to meet the tests of equality and justice for both sides.

How would the resolution effect Palestinian rights to West Bank groundwater, 80-90 percent of which is currently being used by Israel?

As with the right of return, this can be determined by negotiators if the courts deem the settlement legal, or lacking a political solution, the courts would determine what happens on a case-by-case basis.

Are there weaker and stronger versions of the resolution, and if so, what do they look like?

The "weakest" version of the resolution would be a U.N. requirement that requires Israel to recognize the human rights of all individuals under its jurisdiction, without any oversight, enforcement or sanctions. Based on what Israel has done in the past, one might predict that Israel would either ignore the resolution or only pay lip service to human rights and justice, while continuing to acquire land illegally in the West Bank. The "weak" resolution would at least express the concerns of the international community, but it seems doubtful that it would achieve the goal of a just, lasting peace for Israelis and Palestinians. The "strongest" version of the resolution would incorporate the following: (1) the resolution would be backed by economic sanctions; (2) the courts would be able to set legal precedents; and (3) important court cases would be subject to peer review by judges appointed by the United Nations.

The Proposed Resolution
first draft composed by Avram Meitner, January 30, 2015

The General Assembly,

Recalling the historic adoption of Resolution 217,

Further recalling the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations,

Noting with deep concern the loss of both Israeli and Palestinian lives in recent years,

Fully aware of the complexities of the ongoing conflict,

Believing that a restatement of our common humanity will serve the pursuit of peace;

Declares that both Israelis and Palestinians:

1. are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

2. have the right to life, liberty and security of person.

3. are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law.

4. are entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of their rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against them.

[5. have the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of their state.]

Items in brackets may not be included in the final version of the resolution, subject to further discussions.

Letters and Correspondence
The One-Step Peace Solution (TOPS)
by Theo Horesh

A true chess master will often win a match long before his opponent grasps his downfall. Why? Because there are certain moves that allow the end game to develop. We can think of this in terms of logic: certain moves necessitate all resulting moves. Or we can think in terms of "snowball" effects: certain movements have a way of building over time, until a tiny snowball creates an avalanche.
 
Ending the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories may require setting such an escalating process in motion. First steps tend to be easier to implement than total solutions because they are less threatening and allow present leaders to defer more difficult questions to the future. Partial solutions can also create space for new, previously-unimagined solutions, as people adapt to each step in the process of transformation.
 
Israelis and Palestinians are currently engaged in a zero-sum game. There is only so much territory and it must somehow be divided between the two parties, or shared. Some want everything for the Israelis, others want everything for the Palestinians, while others want a division that favors their side. But zero-sum games inevitably lead to conflict in which the stronger power usually wins. And zero-sum conflicts tend to leave both sides insecure, stressed out, and worried about losing everything. 
 
An increasing number of individuals would like to form a single democratic state, with equal rights for all. But getting there is not easy. Israelis tend to see the one-state solution as a masked call for Palestinian demographic dominance. Thus achieving such a state would almost certainly require significant outside pressure, coupled with internal efforts at reconciliation. And even under the best of circumstances, it could take decades to build an international consensus to make it happen.
 
Military occupations are usually brutal. The siege of Gaza has crippled economic and life prospects there. The occupation of the West Bank involves the theft of Palestinian property for settlement building, the destruction of olive trees, the arrest and detention of Palestinian children, and a patchwork of invasive checkpoints. Such unjust occupations are resisted through peaceful protests, stone throwing and occasional acts of terrorism. Halting the worst of these abuses might, if nothing else, dramatically improve the quality of life for Palestinians while reducing tensions on both sides.
 
But as Mike Burch, a friend and editor and publisher of Nakba and Holocaust poetry has pointed out, any change in the status quo must get past the American gatekeeper. This requires major shifts in public opinion and power in Washington, or else making American politicians an offer they can't refuse. Israel made such an offer to the Palestinian Authority at Oslo, but it left the PA burdened with policing the occupation. If it refuses to do the policing, the PA loses power and West Bank cities are taken over by Israeli Defense Forces. But by policing the West Bank, the PA becomes a party to the occupation –- a classic double bind. Ironically, the same sort of double bind may be applied to the U.S. through a new U.N. Security Council resolution proposed by Burch.
 
Perhaps the hardest resolution for the U.S. to veto would be one calling solely for basic Palestinian human rights. This is true because the most famous phrase in the most famous American foundational document is "all men are created equal." Can the U.S. veto the American creed on the world stage, in the court of human opinion?

If the U.S. cannot veto human rights for Palestinians, Israel will have to change its ways, because while the PA ostensibly polices West Bank cities, in truth the IDF maintains a near-totalitarian control of the areas within and around them. When Palestinians are arrested, they are not tried under Israeli law, but rather in military courts which enforce several thousand overlapping military decrees. Few Palestinians enjoy adequate representation or fair trials, and many are picked up for peaceful protesting, then are pressured to become informers. Some are tortured, according to humanitarian watchdog organizations like Amnesty International.
 
Meanwhile, Israeli settlers often literally get away with murder. Hilltop youth terrorize local Palestinians in an effort to run them off their lands. And the discrimination in Israel proper runs far deeper than even most Israelis imagine. Palestinians are educated in separate, unequally-funded schools, are forbidden from buying most Israeli land, are discriminated against in the workplace for never having served in the army, and in some cases can be separated from their own children if they marry spouses unacceptable to the apartheidist state. And of course Jews abroad who have never set foot in Palestine have the right of return, while native Palestinians don't.
 
These legal abuses might be ended, as Burch suggests, through passing a Security Council resolution that mandates full equality before the law for Palestinians in areas under Israeli control. Such a resolution would draw attention to current inequalities and would be harder for the U.S. to veto than other more comprehensive solutions of the past. While the expectation of equality before the law runs deep in American culture, supporters of Israel seldom defend Israeli inequalities, but instead argue that they simply do not exist. Arguing against such a resolution would thus first necessitate admitting that the inequalities do, indeed, exist.
 
The genius of the solution lies not only in the fact that it would have a better chance of passing than previous resolutions, but it also sets the condition for nonviolent solutions to come. A native of Tennessee, Burch notes that the U.S. Supreme Court set the conditions for ending segregation in the American South. American courts, in effect, curbed the lawlessness of Southern states. And by treating blacks and whites as equals in principle, they transformed the basis of relations between the two groups. Fair and equal courts are foundational to democracy. And they enshrine reconciliation in the law. American whites and blacks have generally friendlier relations today because American courts made the breaking of common ground possible.
 
Relative equality before the law would curb the worst abuses of, but not immediately end, the occupation. This would make it more acceptable for the U.S. and Israel and therefore easier to pass. By improving the day-to-day conditions of Palestinian life under occupation, it would help ease the strains of the conflict. By legalizing and protecting civil protest it might also facilitate the emergence of a genuine nonviolent movement able to end the occupation peacefully. By easing tensions it would set the conditions for a two-state solution, or help a single democratic state emerge. In either case, the provision of full civil rights would be foundational. Hence, this “first-step solution” would set in motion a process compatible with one state, two states, a bi-national state, a confederacy, or any other just configuration.
 
Such a U.N. Security Council resolution would, of course, be difficult to enforce. But this could be left to an body of peer judges appointed by the U.N. to determine whether Israeli courts are acting in good faith. If not, the International Court of Appeals would have the power to impose sanctions. Any number of countries might initiate the new U.N. resolution, and because vetoing it might be more embarrassing than usual for the U.S., many countries would have an interest in placing them in this unique double bind. The U.S. would understandably not want to be put in such a Catch-22 position, and might put more pressure on Israel to avoid it. While it may not be a perfect solution, and while it leaves many questions unanswered, it is nonetheless an elegant solution which sets in motion an "escalating peace process." But this peace process is still in the early stages of development and could use your input. Please share your questions and concerns and ask friends for their suggestions. We especially need help from people versed in international law to help us with the specific wording of the resolution.

Questions posed by Dr. Milena Rampoldi:

1.- As I can understand your point of view LAW can bring PEACE. How do you think this is possible for Palestinians and Jews after these hateful decades of war?

Yes, I firmly believe so. And I think history demonstrates that peace is possible, when the laws and courts are nonracist and just. Take, for example, the situation of Jews in Germany after the Holocaust. Obviously, there were very bitter feelings on the part of the Jews who survived the Holocaust. Many of them left Germany, but many stayed. Today I believe there are more than 200,000 Jews who live in Germany, and more Jews are emigrating to Germany. Something very similar happened in the American South, where I live. Before the mid 1900s we had slavery, then Jim Crow laws, kangaroo courts and segregation. Black Americans could not drink from the same water fountains as white people. They had to sit at the back of the bus. But once the United States had fairer laws and courts, things began to change for the better. Today I live in an upper-class neighborhood that is open to everyone of every skin color and tone. And we really do get along. So it is possible for fair laws and courts to created friendships between former bitter enemies, over time.

2.- Do you think a real democracy with no apartheid and equality of all in front of the law is enough to guarantee the long-lasting peace? And why should it work considering all the religious and nationalist movements in the region on both sides?

I'm not sure that we can guarantee a long-lasting peace. But I think we can greatly increase the chances for a long-lasting peace, in a nonviolent way. I think it should work despite the diverse religious and nationalistic movements. The United States is extremely diverse. The European Union is extremely diverse. The greater the diversity, the more equality becomes necessary, I believe, or the group in power takes advantage of the other groups, and that leads to friction and hostilities. Then things begin to escalate and you have an avalanche of horrors.

3. - If we consider historical facts, it is justice that leads to racial peace, not feelings.  Can you explain this thesis to our readers?

Yes, I will use three examples of justice leading to racial peace. Not perfect peace, but relative peace.

(1) The situation of Jews and other "undesirable" people in Germany improved quickly and remarkably after the Allies forced Germany to create a fairer system of laws and courts.
(2) The situation of blacks and other minorities improved quickly in the United States once American courts began to protect the victims rather than the oppressors.
(3) The situation of blacks in South Africa began to improve quickly once fairer laws and courts were established.

There were no sudden outpourings of love and affection in these cases. Rather, implementing a better system of justice allowed people on both sides to see that they could live together in relative peace. That led to more friendships forming, over time.
 
4.- Do you think we should give such much power to the USA? Would it not be better to take the veto right from the USA?

I think it would be much better to take the veto away from the permanent Security Council members. But the superpowers do not trust each other, so I do not expect them to give up their vetoes willingly. I'm sure they would veto their vetoes being taken away!

5. - If we consider historical facts, it is justice that leads to racial peace, not feelings.  Is this peace possible without the involvement of the masses of people?

Yes, I think so. When the United States began to reform its laws and courts, there were a few brave souls who made it happen: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, and a relatively small number of people with similar liberal views. The majority of Americans did little or nothing. The attitudes and beliefs of the masses did change over time.
Dear Richard Falk,

I am an editor and publisher of Holocaust and Nakba poetry. I am an admirer of your work for peace and we have spoken briefly in the past. I have been working as a peace activist for many years, and I have devoted a lot of time and considerable thought to the question: "How can there be a real, lasting peace between Israeli Jews and Palestinians?" I know you are a busy man and I don't want to waste your time, so I will be brief. I think the answer would be simple if the government of Israel wanted peace more than it wants to keep acquiring land in the West Bank. The answer is that peace requires justice, and justice requires equality, so one must begin by establishing fair laws and just courts. But how can we establish fair laws and just courts in Israel/Palestine? When I studied the UN votes, it became apparent that only the US security council veto was preventing the UN from creating a path to peace, with the right resolution and enforcement thereof. So the question became: "What sort of new UN resolution would help Israeli Jews and Palestinians achieve peace, that the US could not veto?" The answer I discovered is that the US cannot veto its core belief -- enshrined in the most famous passage in the Declaration of Independence -- that "all men are created equal." And that is exactly the rule that Israel needs to establish and enforce, in order to have a lasting peace.

So my idea, in a nutshell, is that we need a new UN resolution backed by economic sanctions that is strictly about human rights.

I have created a brief webpage with my idea about the wording of this new UN resolution, but I am not am not an expert on international law, so I need advice on the wording. Again, I realize that you are a very busy man, but if you could take a few minutes of your time to advise me, in the cause of peace, I would very much appreciate it.

Here a link to the webpage: http://www.thehypertexts.com/peace.htm

Thanks so much,
Mike Burch

Dear Stanley L. Cohen,

I am the editor and publisher of Holocaust and Nakba poetry who tweeted you earlier today. I have been working as a peace activist for many years, and I have devoted a lot of time and considerable thought to the question: "How can there be a real, lasting peace between Israeli Jews and Palestinians?" I know you are a busy man and I don't want to waste your time, so I will be brief. I think the answer would be simple if the government of Israel wanted peace more than it wants to keep acquiring land in the West Bank. The answer is that peace requires justice, and justice requires equality, so one must begin by establishing fair laws and just courts to enforce those laws. But how do we establish fair laws and just courts in Israel/Palestine? When I studied the UN votes, it became apparent that only the US security council veto was preventing the UN from creating a path to peace, with the right resolution and enforcement. So the question became: "What sort of new UN resolution would help Israeli Jews and Palestinians achieve peace, that the US could not veto?" The answer I discovered is that the US cannot veto its core belief -- enshrined in the most famous passage in the Declaration of Independence -- that "all men are created equal." And that is exactly the rule that Israel needs to establish and enforce, in order to have a lasting peace.

So my idea, in a nutshell, is that we need a new UN resolution backed by economic sanctions that is strictly about human rights.

I have created a brief webpage with my idea about the wording of this new UN resolution, but I am not am not an expert on international law, so I need advice on the wording. Again, I know that you are a very busy man, but if you could take a few minutes of your time to advise me, in the cause of peace, I would very much appreciate it.

Here a link to the webpage: http://www.thehypertexts.com/peace.htm

Thanks so much,
Mike Burch

The HyperTexts