DRAFT OUTLINES OF CONSTITUTION
A special solution
All previous attempts to create a two-state solution have failed and led to bloodshed. Both our peoples, the Jewish People of Israel and the Palestinian-Arab People, do not want to - and cannot - merge into a single Nation living in a unitary nation state. Therefore, we have reached the conclusion that the only solution left is nor separating nor merging, but entering together into a unique kind of Federal Alliance: a 3-4-2, a "three states for two peoples in one land" solution. This is made possible by both peoples recognition of the same supranational Sovereign. It takes the form of a Federal State which has sovereignty over the territory and over two non-territorial nation-states.
The logic for this federation is simple: in order to have two independent self-determined nations in the same federal framework, the federation must be supranational; in order to eliminate the demographic problem without territorial partition, and to prevent the risk of a future secession, it is necessary to separate national identity from territory. This is achieved by having national laws applying only to the citizens personally and to communities, but not on the territory. Therefore the national identity will be formed by Law, not by Land.
This non-territorial character of the national states will help prevent any future nationalist fight for the Land.
Principles for a Constitution
We have reached the conclusion that the best solution is a "three for two in one", a "three states for two peoples in one land-solution": the Federal State shall have sovereignty over the whole Land of Israel-Palestine territory and over two non-territorial nation-states, Israel and Palestine.
Nationality will be defined as belonging to a people or a national community, and will not be defined by place of birth or residence on a specific territory.
National laws shall apply to the members of each nationalities personally, locally and regionally inside homogeneous administrative districts or in isolated communities. The Holy Land Union will have direct territorial prerogatives in Jerusalem, in mixed districts and towns, where no national administration can rely upon territorial contiguity.
A third legislative level allows for local and communal autonomy inside any kind of district, Palestinian, Israeli or federal.
The Federation allows both main constituent peoples, the Israeli Jewish People and the Palestinian Arab People, together with other national groups who might ask for recognition, full autonomy and political independence, each one as a different People, while enjoying the whole Land of Israel-Palestine in an equal and peaceful way.
The constitution shall protect the independence of each People and the full respect of human rights by the different Authorities, it will define an equal parity in the management of common infrastructures, a just allotment of natural resources between both peoples, a mutual Right of Return, and a joint defense of outer borders.
The principle of subsidiarity will be followed as much as possible: political and social issues should be dealt with at the most local level able to do so. This is the way to empower citizens and communities.
Federal institutions of government
One federal state includes a federal joint government and parliament elected directly by all the federal citizens.
It is based on a constitutional covenant between both peoples and implements the supranational sovereignty of the rule of Law and Justice, on the whole, undivided, Land of Israel-Palestine, and on both national states of Israel and of Palestine, according to its prerogatives.
Sovereignty on the land shall be implemented by the federal state exclusively.
It will respect the principles of national equal parity and reciprocity: every federal institution shall include the same number of Arabs and Jews, or use another balance mechanism like according right of veto to the minorities, whatever the demography, so the demographic problem will be resolved.
Small national groups or communities not affiliated with the two main Nations shall send delegates to the Federal Parliament and administration bodies in order for their voice to be heard and prevent a "tyranny of the majority".
Ministers and deputy ministers may rotate every two years in order to allow a fair representation of Israelis and Palestinians.
All domains that are managed as a whole will fall under the responsibility of the federal government, such as: foreign policy, defense, environment, communication, energy and information networks. The same is true of questions belonging to the common humanity of the federal citizens, like health, social and human rights.
Foreign policy shall maintain a state of armed neutrality, and both national states shall be forbidden to enter foreign alliances separately.
National institutions of government
The national institutions include the two national parliaments and the two national governments of the two main federated peoples, together with their equivalents serving the smaller national groups.
They give concrete means of expression and implementation to the respective right of self-determination of the federated constituent nations.
Both national states are based on personal, communal and regional autonomy. They will be non-territorial states of law, which means that they are defined by their population, the citizens and communities they are serving - and not by the national districts which they only administer - according to their prerogatives.
It is important to understand this point: there is no national territory - land does not belongs to any nation - but the nation states do have an administrative territorial basis in districts where each national population is homogeneous, as well as in mono-national cities and villages. (See the joint map, based on this principle).
In this way the Jewish state will always be nearly 100% Jewish, no matter the number of Palestinians living in geographical proximity. This is equally true for the Palestinian state: it will always be nearly 100% Arab, no matter the number of Jews living in the West Bank and Gaza.
All domains relative to national politics, culture and identity will fall under the responsibility of the national governments, such as: national constitution and laws, national jurisdictions and tribunals, immigration of nationals, religion, culture, education, and all linguistic questions.
National and local administrations will serve too as an operational arm for the federal executive powers, and give proximity to federal services at the national and local level, in the language of each people, in a way adapted to their national culture.
Regional and local councils
Each national state shall be largely decentralized, being itself a federation of communities and districts which enjoy broad juridical, judicial and administrative autonomy, according to principles of communal democracy and democratic self-government.
Other ethnic groups and communities
Ethnic groups, communities and individuals who might prefer not to attach themselves to the two main constituent nations, such as Druzes, Christian Arabs and other Christians, Bedouins, Circassians, Black Hebrews or other groups, will find nevertheless their collective political expression at the local or regional level of administration. Federal elections will be open to all, with no prerequisite of national definition.
Individual human rights, as well as collective political rights have to be respected and protected at the same time.
Democracy is "Rule of the People". We have two Peoples in the Holy Land Union, so democracy, "Rule of the People" is to be replaced at the federal level by "Rule of Law", parity and protection of rights for minorities, preventing any oppressive rule of the majority over the minority.
Democracy, according to its strictly quantitative meaning, can only be applied inside unitary national states, like the federated State of Israel and the State of Palestine in our Federation, which shall be democratic states, operating under the rule of law, and having free and democratic elections.
There shall be a citizenship of the Holy Land Union, to be regulated by the Parliamentary Assembly, and a citizenship of each State, to be regulated by each State. All citizens of either State will be thereby citizens of the Federation. All inhabitants of the Federation will enjoy a dual citizenship, as in the European model: their own national citizenship which guarantees national identity and self-definition, and a common federal citizenship which guarantees equality on the basis of the universal principles of Law and Justice.
All federal citizens shall swear loyalty to the federal constitution, which means that they recognize the other People's national independence.
Mixed couples may choose to which Nation-State they want to be attached.
There may be also an option to have federal citizenship alone, to be a kind of 'world citizen'.
The Holy Land Union is above religions. Freedom of religion and freedom from religion shall both be guaranteed.
National groups and communities shall be free to implement their respective religious law if they choose to do so democratically, as long as individual and collective human rights are respected.
No religious coercion or proselytism will be tolerated.
The sanctity of the holy sites, their free access and freedom of cult shall be protected. The Holy Basin in Jerusalem, the Tomb of the Patriarch / Ibrahimi Mosque, and other holy sites common to several religions shall be administered by a join federal commission of sages.
The single territory encompasses all the Land of Israel and Palestine.
It includes the whole Land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea: West Bank, Gaza and Israel of today.
Its name is "Land of Israel" and "Land of Palestine".
The administration of the territory as a whole shall be within the powers of the Federal Union exclusively.
A General Land Use Plan will be agreed upon by a federal Land commission, within the powers of the Federation exclusively. The Land Use Plan will enable proper urbanization and housing planning solutions.
The federal state will confer territorial prerogatives to both national administrations according to a mutually agreed map of administrative (non-political!) regional districts. The map will be based on the actual geographic demography and its history.
In order to minimize the interventions of the federal state in the national issues of each people, three kinds of district shall form the administrative division of the territory:
- Arab districts under direct Palestinian jurisdiction,
- Jewish districts under direct Israeli jurisdiction,
- open mixed districts - Jerusalem among them - under exclusive federal jurisdiction.
Here is our proposal of a map with such districts:
Ownership of land shall be exclusively private, never national.
Arabs may live individually in Jewish districts, and Jews - in Arab districts, according to the local or communal policy. They will have to abide by local rules, pay local taxes, and will have the rights to participate to local elections.
A joint Israeli-Palestinian committee will manage public lands and water resources, ensuring their equal access to every citizen, and the equitable development of both urban and agricultural areas.
New Palestinian and Israeli settlements may be created in their respective districts by their own national government, without federal intervention.
In open districts, new Jewish, Palestinian or mixed settlements could be built on a fair basis by decision of the proper federal authorities.
Immigration, Alyah and Refugees
The whole territory shall be open to the immigration of Palestinian refugees, Jewish immigrants and political refugees from any country.
The Right of Return of Palestinian refugees and the Israeli Law of Return shall be a fundamental part of the Constitution and shall be both fully respected.
The nationals of each people will be cared for and absorbed by their own national governments and communal administrations inside the respective districts under their responsibility. The national administrations shall apply their own selection criteria, free of federal control.
Once granted national citizenship, the immigrant shall receive federal citizenship after a ceremonial swearing of allegiance to the Covenant.
The federal High Court of Justice shall be responsible for ensuring the compliance of the federal administration to the Constitution and to the human rights, among them the right of entry and residence on the territory of the Federation.
The federal government will deal with a general right of asylum for non-Palestinians or non-Jewish refugees.
Compensations for losts of property
Palestinians, Jews or anyone who have been evicted from their land, home, or any property, anywhere in the Land of Israel-Palestine, shall be compensated and will have preemption rights in case their former property is being sold or rented. Compensation shall be offered to residents of homes who are ready to evacuate and allow former evicted owners to get them back.
The refugee camps shall be dismantled or rehabilitated. UNRWA administration will be terminated.
Forces of Defense
One military shall operate under centralized federal command. These federal forces, combining Israeli and Palestinian units, shall be used exclusively to implement the peoples' Federation basic right of self-defense from external aggression.
We are confident that, together with the creation of the Holy Land Union, comprehensive peace treaties and alliances will be signed together with all the Arab and Muslim countries of the Middle East.
In this case, the direction of the army shall follow the same parity principle as the whole federal government.
Otherwise, the parity will be temporarily postponed: the direction of the Joint Army - Chief of Staff, Minister of Defense and Prime Minister - shall be at first under Israeli command, then jointly with the Palestinians, in pace with the signing of more peace treaties with neighboring Arab and Muslim states. As long as the Prime Minister will be Israeli, the President shall be Palestinian.
One possibility, in a first stage, is that military service for Palestinian citizens would be voluntary.
The reason for this possibility is simple: a natural solidarity unites the Palestinian people with other Arab peoples, who, as being the neighbors of the Federation, can be its primary military threat.
This measure will prevent Palestinian citizens being torn between two allegiances in case of conflict.
The order and internal security shall be provided by the police forces exclusively, operated at the various levels of the Holy Land Union: Federal Police incorporating mixed units, Israeli National Police, Palestinian National Police, Municipal Police.
Political violence, terror, would be a mere internal problem, dealt with by the police only. Any violent and subversive attempt to destabilize the Federation shall be immediately nipped in the bud.
Each police force shall operate in its national or communal districts to dealt with intra-community conflicts. Other conflicts will be dealt with by the federal police forces.
The allocation of extended responsibilities and powers to municipalities and district councils will be an effective way to reduce the frictions between the two peoples and the various communities.
A Federal Constitutional Court would take decisions as to the conformity of the federal laws with the Constitution, and as to the constitutionality and legality of other regulations. It would also be called upon to resolve disputes between the Union and the national administrations.
The nation-states and their various communities will enjoy judicial autonomy.
Rabbinic and Shari'a tribunals may have extended and recognized jurisdiction on the communities who will democratically choose to abide by their legislation.
Foreign residents shall abide by the laws of their own countries of origin, by means of the authority of their respective diplomatic representations.
In order to express the unity and indivisibility of the Holy Land Union, Jerusalem, Yerushalayim-Alquds, shall be both the seat of the political capital of the federation and of the two Nation-states.
It will enjoy a special status in form of a distinct regional district placed under direct Supranational-Federal government exclusively.
Jews and Arabs will be free to live anywhere in the town.
The federal municipality will be decentralized; it will coordinate the activities of various sub-municipalities and will harmonize their development.
This pattern may be the operating model of mixed cities and districts all over the country.
As federal capital, not belonging to any Nation, but standing above them, Jerusalem will be the symbol of the peaceful covenant, of unity beyond separation, unity between East and West, between the two peoples, and beyond them, of humankind.
Inside such a jewel-box the Holy sites will find back their original meaning.
In the future, the federated Israelis and Palestinians could propose the transfer of the UN headquarters to Jerusalem. This will allow the UN to free itself from any national sovereignty and will open the transition to a new world order, placed entirely under one supranational sovereignty.
Federal elections shall be conducted according to principles of paritary democracy.
In every candidate list, nominations are made up of an equal number of Arabs and Jews.
The Federal Parliament and government shall be elected for a four years mandate. All the federal citizens – Israelis, Palestinians and others shall vote for candidate lists which include an equal number of Arabs and Jews and delegates of minorities. In this way will be chosen candidates who are guided by the common interests of both peoples.
National elections: each citizen shall vote for his own national parliament, no matter where he lives.
Local elections: each inhabitant, whatever his nationality, shall vote for the municipal and regional councils where he resides, and could be elected to them.
The federation shall guarantee a decent minimum subsistence to every inhabitant.
A special tax shall be consecrated to fight poverty.
A federal economic commission will have the task of reducing economic disparities between the two peoples.
The Holy Land Union shall operate one federal Central Bank and shall have a common currency.
Both Israeli and Palestinian economies will be integrated and will complete each other; total freedom of movement for workers and goods shall be guaranteed.
Health and Social protection
Health, social protection, and every matter of human rights in general shall be the overall responsibility of the federal state.
The Federation will provide a federal health system for all.
National and local administrations, public health and social care systems, will provide their services at the national level, in the language of each people, in a way adapted to their national culture.
In this way, Palestinians who were former Israeli citizens will not loose any of the advantages they had previously if they choose to become citizen of Palestine. They will keep those advantages as federal citizens.
Culture and Education
Cultural and educational independence are provided for each nation and community.
A common federal core program of education shall include the study of the language and culture of the other nation, together with English, Mathematics and Sciences.
Official languages: Arabic for the Palestinian state; Hebrew for the Palestinian state, and both Arabic and Hebrew shall be the official languages of the Federation.
This is the easiest solution. We, Palestinians and Israelis, will decide by our democratic vote, and that is enough:
- no need for negotiations about dividing the land, dividing Jerusalem, refugees, security, settlements, water, etc.
- no dependence on mediation by any foreign or international facilitator.
- no risk that any extremist could torpedo the negotiations: there is no need for negotiations at all! The majority will decide about the final status of the country, and the majority is moderate and peace seeking.
Having opted for the federal solution, Palestinians and Israelis will recognize that the true culprit in the 1948 War and Nakba was the western, territorial nation-state nationalism, and its incapacity to compromise on territory, and not the peoples themselves. They will easily forgive to each other their fear to be dominated by the other and their violent reaction to it.
We have begun to build a joint movement of Palestinians and Israelis. The movement acts according to the same constitutional principles as the Federation itself - Respect, Reciprocity and Justice - aiming to build an Israeli branch and a Palestinian branch. The spirit of respectful cooperation in view of the same aim that prevails in this group will be pivotal in building confidence between the two peoples.
The movement will run for national and municipal elections, both in Israel and in Palestine.
As soon as there will be a majority for the Federation in the public opinion, a referendum shall be conducted in both countries.
A quiet revolution will be achieved by the most democratic way.
We have already begun to implement the solution: each time someone is convinced that this solution is The Solution, we are closer to the aim.
It can be implemented slowly, step by step, as individual after individual, community after community, district after district become ready to enter the federal covenant.
It can be implemented quickly too, from the top, by a "Reunion Treaty" between Israel government and the Palestinian Authority.
We might begin in the West-Bank and Gaza, in order to first put an end to the Israeli military rule on Palestinians.
Alternatively, we might begin too by turning first Israel inside 1948 lines into a federal arrangement, after recognizing the Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel as a political collective.
The implementation of the federal structure is flexible, and can adapt itself to different scenarios in case a two-state solution or a one-state solution is first implemented, willingly or not.
The federal solution does not contradict the two-state solution: the Federation would appear nevertheless to be necessary in order to allow the borders between the two countries to stay open, and its ability to institutionalize cooperation would be more than welcome.
This is true whether Israel would proceed to a unilateral withdrawal from the West Bank, or a negotiated solution would be implemented first - against all odds - in the narrow time window still left.
In case of a single unitary state - probably resulting from an Israeli annexation of the Occupied Territories - the federal structure will allow to solve the demographic and identity problem, while granting administrative autonomy to both peoples on an equal basis, transforming occupation into true cooperation.