Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

The World According to Whitbeck

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

The World According to Whitbeck

Article excerpt

The World According to Whitbeck By John V. Whitbeck, Five and Ten Press, Inc. 2005, 100 pp. List: SlO; AET: $8.

This small pocketsize book sends a giant message. In 18 brief chapters, international lawyer John V. Whitbeck presents solid recommendations for a just peace in the Middle East.

Two chapters, "Two States, One Holy Land" and "Sharing Jerusalem: The Condominium Solution" are masterpieces of analysis and vision. The path Whitbeck recommends is "plain, peaceful, generous, just," to borrow a phrase from Abraham Lincoln's most famous message to Congress. If the principals of the Arab-Israeli conflict can someday generate true goodwill for one another at a peace table, they will be led irresistibly to Whitbeck's plan for the West Bank and Jerusalem. Lasting harmony between Israelis and Palestinians will, I believe, follow.

Under his proposal for two states within one Holy Land, all inhabitants would choose between Israeli and Palestinian citizenship, "thus determining in advance which state's passport they would carry and in which state's national elections they would vote. All citizens could vote in municipal elections where they actually live. Both states would establish their own law of return. Borders would have to be drawn on maps but would not have to exist on the ground."

There would be no walls, no high fences, no demeaning searches of Arabs by Jews, no checkpoints. Citizens of both states would enjoy free movement within any part of the one Holy Land. Israelis could continue to live in settlements throughout the New Palestine and Palestinians could live within Israel, with their rights and privileges fully protected.

Jerusalem would be undivided, and both Israel and Palestine would include the entirety of the city in a concept called shared sovereignty.

Whitbeck offers a vista of beauty, harmony and peace among people of different nationality and religion but united as equals in a new society completely shed of the bigotry, hatred and blood of recent years.

The book contains other enticing subthemes and propositions-including three chapters on the use and abuse of the word "terrorism"-but the heart of the "world according to Whitbeck" is two states within one Holy Land and remarkable details on how to get there.

When I first read the initial chapter in the Washington Report several years ago, Clarence K. …

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