Since 1968, I have been intellectually and politically absorbed by the issue of Middle East peace. The only way to achieve real and lasting peace between Israel and the Arabs will include:
1. An independent Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza
2. This state must be neutral politically and not have a standing army
3. Both Israel and Palestine must have their respective capitals in Jerusalem
4. Palestinians must give up their idea of a right of physical return for those refugees who fled or were expelled in 1948. In return, Israel must recognize a right of financial compensation for the properties confiscated from its Arab neighbors inside the Green Line
5. For a time, international peacekeepers will have to patrol the border and maintain peace between Israel and Palestinians until each side has confidence that the other wishes to abide by peace agreements.
Currently, I believe that both sides are on the wrong road and will never achieve peace with their respective agendas. The Palestinian Islamists must renounce terror. It gets them nowhere and is not a legitimate means of resistance. Israel's settlements are an obstacle to peace and should not be enlarged. In a final peace agreement, Israel will have to dismantle and downsize some of these settlements. The settlers who lose their homes will have to be resettled within Israel.
Until each side recognizes the inevitability of making painful and difficult compromises, there will not be peace. For more commentary on this subject, see my weblog Tikun Olam: Making the World a Better Place (http://richards1052.blogspot.com/).
Jewish Peace Resources: If you'd like to learn more about Israeli-Jewish groups working to promote peace and reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians, please visit the following sites:
Americans for Peace Now: A U.S. group that supports Israel's Peace Now movement--http://peacenow.org
American Friends of Neve Shalom/Wahat Al-Salam (Oasis of Peace): An Israeli communal village which contains members who are Jewish and Arab. Their mission is to educate the world about the possibilities for Jews & Arabs living together honorably and peaceably--http://oasisofpeace.org
New Israel Fund: An international group dedicated to promoting social justice and equality within Israel. It supports projects both in Israeli Jewish and Arab communities within the Green Line--http://www.newisraelfund.org/
Brit Tzedek V'Shalom--Jewish Alliance for Justice and Peace: A U.S. Jewish group devoted to Mideast peace which supports a two state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict--http://www.btvshalom.org/
In spite of everything I've stated here, I believe that peace can and will come not in decades, but in years--perhaps less than five years.