No. of Recommendations: 6
I would point out the obvious - simplicity of viewpoint is dangerous in this part of the world. The word "Arab", for example is used loosely to define all Arabic speakers from Morocco to Yemen, yet there are many ethnic groups (and even religions) which speak that language (actually, I would more accurately say read the language as the spoken tongue is so variant in accent that it is difficult for someone from Saudi Arabia to understand the spoken language of someone from Morocco.

Around 25 percent of Israeli Jews speak fluent Arabic (with a Palestinian accent) and an even larger percentage of Palestinians speak fluent Hebrew.

While Islam is the most prevalent religion amongst Palestinians, there is a large minority (especially on the West Bank of Christians).

There are also other ethnic groups in the area such as the Druze and the Samaritans (yes, they still exist) which have their own religions and cultures and in fact live comfortably within Israeli society.

I would recommend a thought experiment. Since, in the US, we have been subjected to the bias of news and propaganda for decades about Israel (most of it "not wrong" - even very right, but propaganda all the same) which makes it difficult (without living there) to wrap one's arms around the complexity of the issues, I would recommend concentrating on the last few decades of the History of Lebanon instead. This country ended up in a civil war with religious factions (some Christian, some Moslem), right wing vs. left wing factions, proxies for Israeli/Syrian interests, proxies for US/Soviet interests and tribal conflicts.

Most of us followed the challenges of Lebanon (still in play) from a distance and without personal passion. Taking that experience and overlaying it over Israel gives us both an idea of the complexity of this neighbor's issues as well as pointing out the dangers of some of the proposed scenarios to a "solution" to the millennium old conflict between the Israeli/Hebrew/Judean vs. Phoenician/Philistine/Palestinian (depending if you are speaking Greek, Anglicized Hebrew or Latin (as none of these are Arabic terms for this ethnic group). This sounds pessimistic - how can we expect to create a peaceful solution to a conflict this old. In fact, over much of that time (under the Ottoman Empire, for example), there was no conflict. It only came to flame up when the British took over the territory after WWI and promised both sides independence over more or less the same territory (they seem to have had a knack for this sort of thing as demonstrated in Cyprus, India/Pakistan and Ireland).

My prediction: There will be a two state solution with the borders more or less as they are right now. Gaza may likely go back to Egyptian administration. The Old City of Jerusalem will be under Israeli sovereignty, but the Temple Mount will be accessible and administered by Palestine with security supplied by Israel (this is more or less the status quo today). East Jerusalem outside the walls of the Old City will go to Palestine. The settlements on the West bank will be abandoned (and likely dismantled out of vengeance by their current occupants). The West Bank portion of Palestine would maintain close relations with Israel (for both economic and security reasons as they will be weak enough for other neighbors to pick on them and pragmatic accommodations will be made) as well as Jordan. Palestinians (we are not talking about those who have lived permanently in Israel, but of those in the Palestinian territories and elsewhere) will be allowed to work in Israel and visit Israel with a valid visa, but will not be permitted to take up residence in Israel. Some Palestinians will receive reparations for certain specific conditions, but not as a general rule. Israel will be required to make a certain amount of Jordan River water and certain aquifers available to the Palestinian state.

See - that was easy, wasn't it? :-)

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