The Only Just Solution to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is about land, and the only just and lasting solution is an equal ownership of the land. This cannot be an equal possession of land, but the benefit of land is fungible, i.e. divisible. That benefit can be measured by what people pay to possess land, namely the market rent of land. The practical equal ownership of land is an equal share of its rent.

There is much talk of a two-state solution, or a one-state solution. The best governance structure for the territory is to have three-states: Palestine, Israel, and a Confederation of the two. A Palestinian state is inevitable and already recognized by many countries, but it is impossible for it to exist without an association with Israel. There would need to be agreements and dispute resolutions on common resources such as water, so a confederation government is optimal.

For starters, the government of Israel should stop destroying and taking over the property of the Palestinians, a source of much of the current conflict. In a lasting solution, the State of Palestine would have the current borders of Gaza and the West Bank. The key problem is the Israeli settlements in the West Bank. The just solution is to convert the settlements into leaseholds that pay ground rent to the Palestinian government.

Many people on both sides have taken maximalist positions. Some Palestinians demand the expulsion of all the settlers, while some Israelis seek a continuous expansion of the settlements. The least worst solution is that no settlers are forced to move, but they must compensate the Palestinians for the exclusive use of that land.

In the longer run, an equal ownership of the land would have each landowner pay ground rent to the Confederation, except that the ground rent of the West Bank settlements would be paid to Palestine. The rent obtained by the Confederation would be distributed in two amounts. Half the rent would pay for the expenses of the Confederation, and the other half would be periodically distributed to the residents. Thus each person would see a concrete benefit as an equal owner of the land.

The Palestinian Arabs have inflicted violence and terror on the Jews of Israel, while the Israelis have been arrogant in grabbing Arab land for settlement expansion and, according to many accounts, for overly harsh treatment of Palestinian Arabs. Israeli Jews and Muslims plunged into a tragic civil war in May 2021.

Both sides are stuck in a “who goes first” trap. Israelis say, first stop the rocket attacks, bombings, and terror. The Palestinians say, first stop the checkpoints and expulsions, and end the occupation. Israelis point to the fact that after they removed their settlements in Gaza and left that whole territory to the Arabs, the Palestinians responded with rocket attacks on Israel, and the residents of Gaza have chosen a government that refuses to accept the presence of Israel regardless of its boundaries.

If the Israeli government and the Palestinian National Authority are unwilling to negotiate a confederation funded by ground rent, the rest of the world could implement the concept by recognizing and promoting the confederation, even in the face of opposition by some Israelis and Palestinians. If governments do not seek the Confederal solution, then peace groups and pro-justice individuals should do so. There is already an organization promoting an Israeli-Palestinian Confederation (https://ipconfederation.org).

Let us recognize the Confederation of Israel and Palestine as the legitimate government of Israel and Palestine, and equal rights to the land, as reflected in its rent, as the unique just solution to the conflict. Let there be a global organization of those who recognize and promote this peace plan, and let this grow until those who have power are compelled to confront the idea of a Confederation with equal rights to the land.

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