Some people try to make peace behind closed doors, and others do it out in the open.
That was the message of “The People’s Peace Plan,” a small group of Israelis and Palestinians that took to the streets of downtown Yerushalayim last Thursday and Friday to draw up a treaty covering the intractable core issues of the Mideast conflict.
The project is sponsored by Minds of Peace, which describes itself as an apolitical organization of Israelis and Palestinians committed to peace.
The aim is “to show that peace can be done between the people and the leaders. This isn’t about sitting in closed rooms; we’re on the streets,” Ibrahim Enwabi told The Jerusalem Post.
The public was invited to take part in the negotiations, and passersby were given a chance to voice their opinions.
The group of about 20 produced an agreement, which provided that: all building would cease during negotiations, which should last no longer than a year; Palestinian prisoners (political but not criminal) would be released gradually; the borders of the Palestinian state would reflect those of 1967, with land swaps not to exceed 5% of Yehuda and Shomron; the Palestinians would not have an army but would have armed police forces; and all Israeli residents living beyond the Green Line would be given the option of either evacuating or staying under Palestinian sovereignty, with the Palestinians guaranteeing their safety.
The issues of Yerushalayim and the Palestinian claim to a “right of return” were not resolved.
Minds of Peace intends to present the final draft of the peace treaty to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
Peacemaking out in the open has its downside, though. Not all proceeded peacefully. A Palestinian from a refugee camp near Chevron was struck several times by an elderly woman from Yerushalayim with her handbag.
Another elderly woman shouted over and over again, “How can you sit with these people? They have blood on their hands!”
By 3 p.m. Friday, Border Police were called to the scene to restore law and order, if not peace.