WJJG's Ray Hanania to run for President of Palestine

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Posted by chicagomedia.org on December 05, 2009 at 20:53:00:

Hanania to run for president of Palestine

Arab News

Saturday 5 December 2009 (18 Dhul Hijjah 1430)

CHICAGO: Saying that the current Israeli and Palestinian leaders have failed to do their best to achieve peace, American-Palestinian Ray Hanania announced he was throwing his hat in the ring in order to find new solutions to the Middle East conflict and kick-start a Palestinian-Israeli public dialogue on peace.

Hanania, a Chicago radio talk show host, satirist and syndicated political columnist, unveiled ideas to address the challenges facing peace.

Among the proposals are two new strategies, the first to embrace two states and create a sovereign Palestine state alongside Israel, rather than struggle through difficult details one at a time, and the second a creative solution to the cornerstone of Palestinian resistance to an agreement -- resolving the rights of Palestinian refugees.

"We all know what the solution is. We all know that 95 percent of the issues have been resolved or are near resolution," Hanania said. "But what we don't have are Israeli and Palestinian leaders with the resolve and the courage displayed by former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and former President Yasser Arafat to achieve peace and make it work."

Hanania said that his campaign outlines real ideas that must be discussed not just by the leadership but by both the Palestinian and Israeli people.

"We need to initiate a new dialogue between our two peoples, a dialogue that has never really taken place. And I hope to kick-start such a public dialogue with my ideas, simple ideas that make sense and offer an equitable solution to the grievances of both sides," Hanania said.

Two new ideas serve as the cornerstone of Hanania's Yalla Peace Party plan. They are:

Create the two states now based on general borders, with a presence for a Palestinian government seat in East Jerusalem, and work to resolve the remaining individual issues in the context of that.

"We have tried tackling each issue one at a time, but we have done so in the absence of trust and in a world continually plagued by violence and terrorism on both sides," Hanania said.

"What I am proposing is that we create an environment for peace and in that environment where we have two sovereign states to show our people, we then address the outstanding issues together knowing that peace is an unavoidable certainty, rather than an impossible dream."

The second new proposal is called "The Settler-Refugee Exchange Program" which would allow Israel to keep most of the settlements while giving the Palestine state a land mass equal to the land mass of the size of the settlements.

And, the program would require Israel to repatriate one Palestinian refugee for every Israeli settler who remains in a settlement in lands captured during the 1967 war, more than 42 years ago.

"Additionally, Israel, the Arab World, the United Nations and the United States would establish a peace fund to compensate Palestinian refugees who are not repatriated to their original homes and lands inside Israel," Hanania said. "That same fund would also be used to provide compensation to Jews who left their homes in Arab countries for whatever reason during the conflict period." Hanania said that the plan addresses other creative strategies to establish an environment for peace including permitting Jewish settlers in abandoned settlements to remain in their settlements living under the laws of the state of Palestine.

"These are but some of the ideas I am proposing and I am proposing them not as dictates but as proposals to serve as a basis for restarting real peace negotiations again and establishing trust," Hanania said.

"I know that extremists on both sides will fight hard to prevent peace and we must be ready for the violence they will seek to commit in order to prevent peace. But we must be resolute to stand up to the terrorism and violence and not surrender to the fanatics. The answer to the violence and the terrorism is peace, not the surrender of peace. We can defeat terrorism by remaining resolute in our commitment to achieve peace."

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