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Why Does The Plan Require Israel To Vacate 95%

– And Not 100% – Of The West Bank?

 

A lot of reviewers ask why the Bermigo Plan calls for Israel to vacate only 95% of the West Bank (or equivalent land area), and not 100%.

The reason is that the Palestinians would get the 95% for ‘free’; they would not have to recognize Israel, nor sign forfeiture of their right of return. And would still get internationally recognized independence (in the 3rd year of this 25-year plan). Moreover, they'd be free to take any action they liked, clever or otherwise, once the 25 years were up (as would Israel be totally free of all constraints if a prosperous, fully democratic, totally demilitarized Palestine incredibly decided to risk all and begin rearming once the 25-year plan had run its course).

In contrast, were the Palestinians to ask today for '100%' and not '95%', it would almost certainly trigger a demand by the Israeli public (supported by most of the world community) that the Palestinians correspondingly give ‘100%’. Namely, that the Palestinians do sign recognition of Israel, and do sign forfeiture of right of return.

Thus, a proposal for 100% in exchange for ‘100%’ would, in fact, cause many Palestinians to lethally oppose the deal – whereas 95% for ‘95%’ could well avoid that fate.

That's also why it's so essential that the Bermigo package retains its feel of just a 25-year deal – and nothing beyond. The 95%, rather than 100%, psychologically infers that. In contrast, were the package posited as a ‘permanent’ arrangement  and a 100% in exchange for 100% would automatically posit it that way at least a third of the Palestinian public would flatout oppose the deal (according to extrapolations from several polls), and no 25-year program could even start.

Indeed, that's why the Bermigo Plan was desgned as a 25-year plan, and not a 'plan for eternity'. A plan for a demarcated period allows participants to freely weigh what they stand to gain; a 'plan for all time' (as if there is any such thing) focuses attention instead on what they stand to lose.

In short, all parties would be very smart not to try and ‘improve’ these two critical features of the Bermigo Plan to neither waive the plan's demarcated length (which, by the way, cannot be less than 25 years either, or the plan won't have the critical mass to deliver), nor countermand the plan's '95%' in exchange for '95%' (which also cannot be a lesser %, or lethal Palestinian opposition to the idea will rise accordingly). If need be, include in the referendum that Palestine has the right to condition any future recognition of Israel upon transfer of further land. That way, no one is emotionally compromised – and of course, materially, it would not have bearing later on unless it suited both sides.

After the 25-year Bermigo Plan has run its course, the entire vista – and orientation – of the two sides should be very different from today. As we've observed in Europe, boundaries between countries become far less significant (materially, and not just psychologically) once similarities between their societies start to outweigh their differences. And a wealthy, democratic Israel and wealthy, democratic Palestine are likely to share that same good fate – provided a) the Bermigo polls show the plan is indeed doable, and b) the plan is then properly implemented.

And provided genius politicians do not torpedo the plan's prospects from the start by insisting on a non-doable 100%, rather than a doable 95%.