Israel Outside the Box,
A Proposal to End the Middle East Conflict

    Today (date posted) is March 23th, 2009. 234 years years ago, Patrick Henry stood up before the Second Virginia Convention and proposed that the colony should take up arms against the British crown and seek its independence. That started a series of events that has reshaped the world. On March 27th, Salman Rushdie said "there are no new ideas coming out on the Middle East" and on April 3rd Sam Donaldson said "We'll take any good idea wherever we can get it."

    This article may not provoke that kind of response, but I do propose something equally as bold and visionary, that could again reshape the world. Without firing a single shot.


How to End the Conflict in the Middle East

(and in the process End the World Economic Crisis and Reverse Global Warming)

By Bob M

My motive in writing this article is to engender new ways of looking at this conflict in order to bring about a real, lasting solution that ALL parties can support. I’m not saying this proposal is THE ANSWER. But, I do have a specific plan to end this conflict and begin solving these problems. It’s not an easy fix, and will require not only work and vision, but a leap of faith AND a commitment from around the world. I’m sure it will stir up a lot of emotions. All I ask is that you hear me out.

So to start, a few facts to set the stage:

Israel has existed in the modern era for just over 60 years, created in part by the Balfour Declaration of 1917 and then by the UN vote to partition Palestine in 1947. In that entire time, it has almost always been in a state of war with its neighbors. And in terms of all recorded history, this land has been involved in conflict after conflict after conflict, constantly changing hands and under many different masters. The roots of this conflict are buried so deep that they’ve now become fossilized. So much hatred has been created that it has become part of the psyche of both sides, threatening to engulf the entire region, if not the world, into another world war.

The cost of this conflict has been astronomical in religious, economic and political terms. Religiously, each side’s tenets and beliefs have been pushed, stretched and, dare I say it, perverted almost to the breaking point. All parties, men of faith on both sides, end up performing acts and supporting actions certainly not part of the beliefs and teachings of any of their religions.

Politically, 24 peace proposals have been attempted and 16 treaties signed.[1] And the conflict continues. Over 22,000[2] Israelis and 54,000[3] Muslims soldiers have been killed in this 60-year period. Comprehensive statistics regarding civilian deaths can’t easily be found, but just between Sept 2000 and Sept 2007, 4,453 Palestinian and 1,114 Israelis were killed[4], so the total must certainly be some orders of magnitude above these numbers. Also unknown is mention of the injured and maimed, who continue to suffer long after the battle is over. The standing of Israel and its rivals among the world community continues to suffer as each new conflict causes more and more casualties and devastation. Israel gets accused of war crimes as civilians get caught in the crossfire. Arabs are treated with suspicion and fear around the world. In their own countries and neighboring ones, many Arabs end up in refugee camps, in poverty and afflicted with all the diseases of poverty.

Economically, the constant destruction and cost to rebuild after each battle is good for neither side, draining everyone’s coffers. This is also a drain on the economies of their allies, and all of the surrounding countries struggling with refugees from the fighting, who end with a standard of living barely above subsistence is some areas, and below it in others. Another cost also incalculable. And for the individual, like the legendary feud in American folklore between the Hatfields and McCoys, every death creates more hatred, resentment and thoughts of revenge that continue to spiral into greater expressions of horror. This must change!

I have broken down the major (possible) options into their simplest terms. Some of the first five, or portions of them, have been proposed and tried, and thought of as viable options. Only one, the 6th one proposed, has never to my knowledge been offered up for serious consideration in modern times. So the options are:

Option 1 – no change. The status quo! The Israelis continue to fight their neighbors. Arab states, groups and individuals, both officially and unofficially, continue to bomb, attack and harass the Israelis, provoking a response from Israel which promotes more attacks upon them, creating more hatred, in a vicious circle continuing ad nauseum, punctuated by periods of relative calm while all sides rearm. This cycle has NO end. This is the way that things have been going since the rebirth of Israel 60 years ago, and continues to escalate. One state/country or another, one political group or another, one religious group or another, one individual or another continues to stir up conflict between all the involved parties. And the rest of the world spends more and more time and energy “handling” the continued blowback from this conflict. In light of the global problems facing every nation on the planet, we clearly no longer have the resources to continue the status quo.

Option 2 – Peace. While this is certainly the “stated” goal, 60 years of negotiation has brought it no closer to fruition than on the day peace was first proposed. Every US President in recent times has attempted to solve this problem, some with limited success with one country or another. And if a TWO STATE peaceful solution was created between Israel and Palestine, with its neighboring states accepting it and stepping back from conflict, there is a possibility that peace could someday be achieved. But what of the renegade groups like Al Qaeda, political parties like Hamas, and others who’ve stated that peace is not an option that they will ever accept, and that only option 3 is acceptable to them? Will they ever accept a peace that had Israel continuing to occupy what they see is THEIR land?

Option 3 – the Arab/Muslim states/groups and individuals could attempt to annihilate Israel. The goal of many in the region, it certainly seems like the solution from many an Arab point of view. But it won’t work. Even considering that possibility of every Israeli in the country being killed, the economic costs and environmental devastation from the chemical, biological or nuclear devastation to the region would be appalling, because it would take that kind of attack. And then there’s the additional devastation caused by the military response from Israel’s allies. And then there are those throughout the world who would take up arms in support of revenge against all Arabs. No doubt World War III would be the result.

Option 4 – Israel could annihilate the Arabs/Muslims, an even more remote possibility. Even if all of its neighbors who are parties to the conflict could possible be annihilated, leaving Israel surrounded by devastated lands, could they survive the environmental damage to the region? And could Israel possibly kill every one of the 2,226,000,000[5] Muslims in the world? How many would take up arms against them in revenge? Obviously, fighting would continue and escalate to even bloodier levels. Again, World War III would be the result.

Option 5 – The 3,908,000[6] Gaza Strip and West Bank Palestinians could all move elsewhere. Plans like this has been proposed and tried at some minor levels, but with limited success, and usually causing additional, unforeseen problems. But even if accepted by all of the Palestinians, though this might solve the immediate problems between the Israeli and Palestinian governments, it would have little effect upon the other countries, groups and individuals in the region whose goals are the destruction of Israel. And individuals among the Palestinians unable to accept this peace would continue their attempts at destruction of Israeli soldiers and civilians with even more hatred and lack of regard. This too would not solve the problem.

Option 6 – The 7,184,000[7] Israelis could move elsewhere. On first reflection, this too sounds equally as implausible and unworkable as the first five options. It did to me. But after many months of consideration, thought, research and discussion, this just might be the most viable solution. And after all, this IS how modern Israel came into being. But now the state of Israel would be in a far more advantageous position than the Jewish refugees of 60 years ago. But just consider the idea. All I ask as that you read through to the end.

Looking at this option again, in religious, economic and political terms, yields an entirely different result.

The religious sites in the region are important to Jews, Muslims, Christians and others. My first proposal is that the religious sites of the area be placed under the aegis of a council or commission composed of members from all groups’ religious leadership. Taking South Africa as an example, a Truth and Reconciliation Commission could be established to begin the healing between the different religious factions. If they can begin a dialogue based upon their common religious heritage, that may be the starting point for a solution all three major religions could live with. Or at least coexist under. At least each group would have equal representation in the say of their religious heritage, which is widespread throughout the region. And admittedly, this may be the hardest part of this task.

Politically, as mentioned above, virtually no solution other than a fully negotiated peace between everyone, a daunting task, would end the antagonism and hatreds engendered by all the years of war, terrorism and destruction. Under this option, all hostilities could end, as Israel the state removed itself from the arena of conflict. And probably not all conflict would immediately cease, as there will be some who will still justify their need for revenge for past losses or to disrupt the plan. But without support from governments, security forces would be better equipped to handle isolated incidents. The time, energy, and resources freed up from continuous war could begin the rebuilding of the area and the new home of Israel, allow the Palestinian people to turn from warfare to education and rebuild a future for themselves, and also allow the UN and its member nations to concentrate on more world-wide problems requiring all everyone’s efforts to solve.

And now economically. So the question next comes down to where? Looking around the world, the most likely “where” may be – Baja California Sur, the lower state of Baja California. Considering its scant population[8], a land area almost four times the area of Israel, a similar climate, and total removal from the conflicts of the Middle East, it seems like an ideal place. A move there would bring a major ally of the United States into a much more advantageous position in the region, from both Israel’s and the United State’s perspective. Mexico will be also receive added security by the presence of its new neighbors. There’s more than ample room for the expansion of the Israeli population, something sorely missing in Israel’s current location[9]. With a lesser need for defense forces, due to both the ending of conflict and the added umbrella supplied by the United States, Israel’s massive military budgets[10] could mostly be directed to the rebirth of a new Israel. Compensation to Mexico for the land would also stimulate Mexico’s economy, plus create new sources of jobs for Mexican citizens, as well as jobs for US citizens and many others around the world.

Building the new nation of Israel would be the economic boom that ends the global economic crisis. Constructing new homes for 7 million Israelis would end the problems in the construction industry of the United States and Mexico. Many of those hardest hit by the economic crisis have been in the building industries, which largely employ Latinos in the U.S. Considering the need for at least 700,000 homes and thousands of business and government offices over a 10 year period, (which seems a reasonable amount of time to complete the move), would require the building of at least 70,000 homes per year. To build a middle-to-upper class home requires the services of 30-50 workmen, at least 1.2 million jobs per year at 3 houses per crew, almost all from surrounding countries. And that’s just the employment numbers for housing. Requirements for government, hospitals, universities, roads, mass transit, agriculture and industry, plus the expanded infrastructure to support a larger population would each employ additional tens of thousands. Employment in all these other support areas would surely top another million jobs per year. And, by the way, greatly lessen the problems of illegal immigration into the Americas. Import of raw and finished goods would employ millions more around the world for the mining, processing, construction/assembly, and transportation of these materials. As it’ll mostly all be entirely new construction, the most efficient alternative energy and materials can be used. Yes, there would be an increase in energy use during this period, especially in transportation, but the savings in the future would more than compensate for it. The need for hundreds of thousands of alternate-energy automobiles would stimulate production in a suffering world auto industry.And the movement of a government and its infrastructure and 7 million people and their businesses and personal possessions halfway around the world would also be a boon to everyone’s shipping and airline industries.

Israel could emerge as THE green country of the 21st century. Baja is an area potentially rich in solar, wind and wave energy. A commitment to alternate energy, mass transportation and electrical automobiles could erase the need for fossil fuels. The increased production of alternative-energy turbines and panels would lower their cost per KW down to the point where all countries now tied to old technologies could afford to change over, and thus contributing to ending the energy crisis and solving the global warming problem. Of course, petroleum is still a very useful product in many industries, but removing it as the prime energy source for automobiles and electric plants would allow the remaining world oil reserves to last indefinitely and be used in more advantageous ways.

Israel could emerge as THE country responsible for turning around the world economic crisis. Remember that the last crisis of this magnitude took a world war to stimulate the economies of the world caught in a deep depression. And in the aftermath, rebuilding from the destruction of that war through the Marshall Plan was one of the main stimulators of new growth that ushered in the prosperity of the latter half of the 20th century. And what would it mean to the future of the world to accomplish this task by peaceful means rather than through armed conflict?

And now to answer the obvious question – how to pay for it all? Israel would sell their country to the Palestinians with aid from the Arab states and others around the world. How MUCH to pay is a whole different question.

But consider OPEC revenues from Arab/Muslim countries for the year 2007 were over 578 billion dollars[11]. And though the cost of a barrel of oil has decreased in the past year, increasing production to facilitate this move would stabilize oil prices many years to come, and provide a more productive use into the future. That’s just income from only one revenue source, albeit the largest income producer in the Arab world. Spread over a 5-10 year period, the amount needed would have little affect on those contributing countries and could be recouped from the increased world production of fuels for transportation costs. Plus, the savings in defense, the lower cost of world energy production, and potential revenues from this venture would also convince nations and corporations from all over the world to contribute. In the long term, 10-20 years, I would venture that every dollar contributed would be recovered. Admittedly, determining exactly how much capital would be needed to facilitate this plan would be a daunting task, requiring negotiations between nations, corporations and many others to perform the calculations of the actual costs to transport and build a new nation. That is beyond the scope of this article, but an obvious next step.

The Arab countries would benefit by restoring their region to greater stability. Refugee camps would disappear as the Palestinians moved into the vacated infrastructure of Israel. The cooperation required to perform this feat together could go a long way towards solving the sectarian differences amongst the Arab peoples. And the standing of the Arab nations in the international community would be greatly enhanced.

Peace, a stimulated global economy, reversing global warming, and a bright future not tied to the past of many thousands of years. That’s my proposal.

Some will protest that this is impossible. Or worse. Certainly it will require a deep search though the hearts and souls of men and nations. Many on the Israeli side will say that they will never give up their land, and many on the Arab side will say they would never pay for such a prospect. To the Arabs I would say, how much does it cost now, in money, lives, pride and dignity, and what toll is this taking on the Muslim peoples, and their place in the world? To the Israelis I would say, I believe I understand how important that land is to you, and what it’s cost you. But throughout history, in every land, men and women have had to stand and face the facts, is the cost too great to stand and defend this land forever, and is the future of your people and your nation worth everlasting war? Can you see the potential of a new promised land and of a bright future not dictated the past?

This is one solution to the problems of the Middle East. It is one that could be implemented. It’s certainly not the same rehash of options that have been recycled for years. Hopefully, it may also stimulate even more new ideas. Doing nothing, or repeating ad infinitum the errors of the past, is no solution at all.


Copyright © 2009, Bob Mutascio, All rights reserved.

[1]  Middle East Peace Proposals

[2]   Israeli Military casualties since 1947 – 22, 406 dead, 79,239 disabled veterans

[3]   Arab Military casualties since 1947 (estimates) – 54, 098 dead

[4] Sept 2000-Sept 2007, 4,453 Palestinians and 1,114 Israelis killed during Al-Aqsa Intifada

[5]  Religions of the world

[6] US Census Bureau, International Data Base

[7] Population of Israel

[8] Latest population figures 512,170 (2005)

[9] Israel – 20,770 Km2 vs Baja California Sur’s 73,475 Km2

[10] Israel spends 7.3% of GDP on defense vs US 4.06%

[11] US Dept of Energy


By: Bob Mutascio
On: 10/23/2009 02:30:00
I've gotten a lot of comments about this article, but have seen a reluctance to post a reply. That's understandable. Many of the comments I've gotten, both pro and con, have been from Jewish people I know.

Recent events (September-October, 2009) in Israel over settlement expansion only confirms my belief that the land of Israel is too small to support the growth of the Israeli peoples. When the volume of an area is full to the bursting point, it will burst. That's elementary science. In the past, when countries have reached the near bursting point, they've always gone to war. Sometimes they gain more land. Always at others expense. Sometimes the death toll is enough to relive the expansion pressure.

But this is the 21st century, the 58th for Hebrews, and it's high time we come up with another solution other than killing each other. My article is to get people thinking about something else besides what I keep hearing every day, the same old thing.

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