The ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict is often described as the world’s most intractable conflict.

Born in 1948 in war, and having to fight three more wars of survival, Israel was victorious in all. Israelis built the most prosperous nation in the Middle East, a representative democracy with universal sufferance.

About 20 percent of their citizens are Arabs/Muslims, including one of their Supreme Court justices.

They are one of the most educated countries in the world with a highly skilled workforce. Israel has the highest standard of living in the Middle East, and one of the highest life expectancies in the world.

Palestine, consisting of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, is partially recognized, and some areas of the West Bank are occupied by Israeli Defense Forces. Palestinians suffer from poverty and high population densities. Indeed, Gaza is the third-most densely populated area in the world.

With historically hostile populations in close proximity, and often commingled, trouble is inevitable.

The United Nations predicts that, with another 500,000 residents projected and a severe housing shortage, Gaza will become effectively uninhabitable by 2020. There are several peace treaties between Israel and former enemies.

In 1979, Israel’s Menachem Begin and Egypt’s Anwar Sadat signed the Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty in Washington, D.C.

In 1993, the Oslo Accords between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization were signed in Washington D.C. by Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat.

In 1994, King Hussein of Jordan and Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin of Israel signed the Washington Declaration on the White House lawn. For their efforts, Begin, Sadat, Rabin, Shimon Peres and Arafat received the Nobel Peace Prize. As a side note of how violence prone the Middle East is, Sadat was assassinated by an Egyptian extremist, and Rabin was assassinated by an Israeli extremist.

One proposed solution is for Israel to annex the West Bank since Jordan has abandoned its claim to it.

This would give Israel secure borders.

Since 1967, Palestinians living in Israeli controlled areas of the West Bank have enjoyed dramatic increases in living standards, and large improvements in literacy, infant mortality, life expectancy and political freedom. Palestinians who remained in the West Bank would be given permanent residency and the right to apply for Israeli citizenship.

But this does not address the needs of Palestinians densely packed into Gaza. For them an opportunity could be created in an expansion of the modern Sharm El Sheikh resort on the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula. It is a world class resort that is close to St. Catherine’s Monastery and Mt. Sinai. It is a popular destination for international conferences and diplomatic meetings, and has drawn foreign investors with a spate of building projects.

The expansion could be a planned city much as Brasilia, the new capital of Brazil, which was built in 41 months. Canberra, Australia, and Washington D.C. are also famous planned cities.

Many brave men and women, including David Ben-Gurion, Golda Meir, Sadat and Rabin, have dedicated their lives to the cause of Mideast peace. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the world’s most intractable conflict.

With innovative thinking and long-term investment in nation building maybe it could be solved permanently for the betterment of mankind.

Submitted by David Thompson. Thompson is a builder, teacher, investor and Vietnam-era Marine Corps fighter pilot. Thompson will present “Israel and Palestine” in its entirety at “Talks on Tuesday” at the Sierra Vista Library on Tuesday at 1 p.m. He can be reached at david.thompson1415@gmail.com.

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