Yes, I am running for President of Palestine in the next election, if there is one. No, I don't expect to win. But then, many long shot candidates who don't expect to win, actually find themselves winning.
Still, my goal isn't to win office but to help re-ignite the peace process between Palestinians and Israelis not by pushing the leaders to do their jobs and stop putzing around but by reaching out to the grassroots Palestinian and Israeli publics.
I figure the leaders are hemming and hawing and violating past agreements because they believe the public doesn't care any more and that things have gotten so bad that conflict seems like a better alternative. Conflict is never a better alternative.
So I threw my political hat in the proverbial election campaign ring, and I am tossing my tongue in my stand up comedian cheek, too, in the hopes that maybe, just maybe, the publics of both people can return to a place of sanity and end the blame game.
Here's my campaign platform and I think it's doable because Israelis and Palestinians are already responding positively:
- I support two-states, one Israel and one Palestine. As faras I am concerned, I can recognize Israel’s “Jewish” character and Israelisshould recognize Palestine’s “non-Jewish” character.
- I oppose violence of any kind from and by anyone. I rejectHamas’ participation in any Palestinian government without first agreeing tosurrender all arms and to accept two-states as a “final” peace agreement. But Ialso reject allowing Israeli settlers to carry any weapons and believe Israelismust impose the same restrictions on them.
- I can support some settlements remaining – given the realityof 42 years of time passing -- in a dunum-for-dunum land exchange. If Ariel is500 dunums with a lifeline from Israel, then Israel gives Palestine 500 dunumsin exchange.
- Jerusalem should be a shared city and Palestinians shouldhave an official presence in East Jerusalem. The Old City should be shared byboth permitting open access to the city to all with a joint Palestinian-Israelipolice presence.
- Palestinian refugees would give up their demand to return topre-1948 homes and lands lost during the conflict with Israel. Instead, somecould apply for family reunification through Israel and the remainder would becompensated through a fund created and maintained by the United States, Israel,Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Saudi Arabia and the United Nations.
- I also think Israelis should find it in their hearts to showcompassion and offer their apologies to Palestinians for the conflict.
- I support creation of a similar fund to compensate thoseJews from Arab lands who lost their homes and lands, too, when they fled.
- I think the Wall should be torn down, or relocated to thenew borders. I have no problem separating the two nations for a short durationto help rebuild confidence between our two people.
- All political parties, Palestinian and Israelis, shouldeliminate languages denying each other’s existence, and all maps should bereprinted so that Israeli maps finally show Palestine and Palestinian mapsfinally show Israel.
- A subway system should be built linking the West Bankportion of the Palestine state to the Gaza Strip portion of the PalestineState. Palestine should be permitted to build a seaport access to strengthenits’ industry, and an airport to permit flights and too and from the Arab andIsraeli world.
- I would urge the Arab World to renew their offer tonormalize relations with Israel if Israel agrees to support the creation of aPalestinian State.
- And I would ask both countries to establish embassies ineach other’s country to address other problems.
- While non-Jewish Palestinians would continue to live inIsrael as citizens, Jews who wish to live in settlements surrendered by Israelcould become Palestinian citizens and they should be recognized and treatedequally.
- If Jews want to live in Hebron, they should be allowed tolive in Hebron and should be protected, just as non-Jews. In fact, for everyJewish individual seeking to live in Palestine, a Palestinian should bepermitted to live in Israel. In fact, major Palestinian populations in Israelcould be annexed into Palestine (like settlements).
- Another concept is to have non-Jews living in Israelcontinue to live there but only vote in Palestinian elections, while Jewsliving in Palestine would only vote in Israeli elections. A special citizenshipprotection committee could be created to explore how to protect the rights ofminorities in each state.
- Israel and Palestine should create joint-governing andsecurity agencies working with the United States to monitor the peace, andestablish an agency to pursue criminal acts of violence.
You tell me who has a better campaign platform that makes more sense among Israel's and Palestine's leaders?
Everyone knows what the answer is, we just need to find people with courage to start saying it. But Palestinians and Israelis don't have to wait until their leaders suddenly see the light and stop pandering to the extremists.
Enough is enough! Yalla Peace!
My campaign web site is www.YallaPeace.com. Join in this movement, not to make me president, but to give our children a better future than the nightmare of a past and present we now have.