DESIGNING ISRAEL'S STRATEGY IN COLLISION WITH PALESTINIANS: ALL-NATIONAL DECISION-MAKING PROCEDUREDr. Oleg Savelzon
Is there any strategic decision underlying the current policy of the Jewish state on what the final goal of Israel in its collision with Palestinians is and which way to go to achieve that goal? The publicly declared contradictory standpoints of the government members make it doubtful. Prime-minister deputy, S. Peres, suggests seeking solution together with Palestinians at negotiations on continuing peace process according to the formula "territories for peace", which presupposes establishing a Palestinian state in Judea, Samaria and Gaza. Minister and member of the cabinet on security affairs E. Eitan argues that Israel should make a decision without consulting with Palestinians and that a state for them in Judea and Samaria is out of the question. Some ministers and members of the ruling coalition are in favor of unilateral separation by creating a "wall" that would block the ways for Palestinians to where Israelis live. The declarations of Prime-minister A. Sharon first stressed strife for bilateral peace negotiations with Palestinians but also mentioned that they cannot be held under fire. Afterwards he declared war to Palestinian terrorists. However, in March 2002 he called for convocation of a regional conference with participation of the Arab countries and the USA.
There are two hypothetical explanations to these statements: either the government has a secret strategic decision and the aforesaid leaders of the competing political forces have an agreement and are leading the public astray; or there is no decision, i.e. the Israeli leadership has not determined where (the goal) and how (the way) to lead the country under the current conditions of the hardest conflict with Palestinians. The first hypothesis seems implausible; therefore, the second one is likely to be true.
This means that the country's leaders, forcedly reacting to the actions of Palestinians, are waiting for a substantially more favorable situation for making a strategic decision on which the security of Israel depends in the long run. The same can be worded differently, more unfavorably for the government: our leaders do not know where and how to lead the society in the collision with Palestinians and therefore hope for a happy chance. The present article proposes to the society taking care of determining its fate instead of, following the leadership, waiting that some miracle will prompt a way of getting out of the current deadlock situation. In order to implement the given proposal, an effective procedure of making such a decision should be designed. [The decision-making procedure is understood as a whole process from the beginning of considering a problem to a final working out of a decision ready for realization.]
The aforesaid design is the major focus of attention below. However, in order to pass to the procedure, it is reasonable to discuss the mentioned above principally different ways of working out a decision on ensuring the security of Israel in its collision with Palestinians - bilateral negotiations with Palestinians advocated by S. Peres and his supporters and making a certain decision by Israel unilaterally which a host of the leaders of the right and left wings insist upon. Firstly, these political figures express alternative views most strongly and widely established in the public opinion. Secondly, a discussion in question will enable to visually introduce the statement of decision science in accordance with which the effectiveness of a decision-making procedure is mainly stipulated by its rationality.
Special attention should be paid to the fact that the word rationality is used in different areas in very different meanings. For example, in everyday speech it is often used to designate certain traits of a personality, the notion of scientific rationality is widely spread; in psychoanalysis it has its specific meaning, etc. And even in one single sphere, as the discussed below decision-making, the term rationality may have more than one meaning. For instance, the notions of value and goal rationality introduced by M. Weber (1947) are considered classical. Further specification gives out subjective, bounded, satisfactory rationality, etc. (Simon, 1960). This paper deals with a relatively new procedural understanding of rationality in decision-making. I am going to use the term rationality only in this sense.
A decision is considered to be rational if the procedure of making it has been carried out correctly. As a rule, a rational decision-making procedure concerning difficult problems consists of the following phases of competent accumulating and processing information: 1) setting a problem; 2) generating decision variants; 3) evaluating the preference of the variants in all important aspects (if a problem situation is realized under conditions of the uncertainty of the future, the evaluation is started with predicting the consequences of accepting each of the variants); 4) choosing the most preferable decision variant.
2. IS "PEACE FOR TERRITORIES" A RATIONAL DECISION?
In 1993, peace process was suggested as a decision on the Palestine-Israel problem. Even without the information about the procedure of working out this decision, which was concealed from the public, its irrationality is obvious. With rational decision-making, a distinct goal is formulated; and what concrete geopolitical situation the peace process was aimed at is unclear. The wording "peace, security, stability, cooperation", an inspiring image of "New Middle East" is nothing more than general words, vague and good wishes, and not a concrete distinct goal with which one could operate. Such must be the boarders of the Palestinian territory, its status, population, major contractual principles of relations with Israel, etc., that is to say, a concrete geopolitical situation that was imperative to outline as a final target point on the way called peace process.
In this respect, a fragment from the interview of Israeli minister Nathan Sharansky to the newspaper "Novosti Nedeli" comes to memory, which was published on his arrival from America. It was on the eve of the election there, so he was asked who was more preferable for Israel as USA president - Bush or Gore. He replied that he had met with the closest aides of the two candidates - both teams were very friendly to us; both asked what Israel wants. Indeed, we are still divided as to what our concrete goal is. Symptomatically, it is the first thing rational Americans ask about - as a matter of fact, if to help us, they want to know in what, in reaching what goal? It is also symptomatic that Russians, whose decision-making culture is no less irrational than that of Israelis, analogously built up the peace process in Chechnya. In the Hasavurt peace treaty of 1996, the final goal was not determined either. Alexander Lebed, who concluded this agreement from Russia's side, grounded this decision, saying that it is impossible to agree at once on the final shape of peaceful coexistence; according to him, "first, let the Russian and Chechen graves on this land must get covered with grass". However, they were not destined to get covered with grass since, in the situation of mutual hostile dissatisfaction, more new graves could not but appear again and again. Therefore, it is quite natural that the peace process designed in such a way was interrupted by a new Russian-Chechen war.
Thus the Israeli creators of the peace process did an absurd thing: without determining where to go, they made a decision which method to apply in moving forward (no one knows toward which goal). This method found its expression in the formula "peace in exchange for territories".
Someone may object that my interpretation of the formula in question as a formula of exchange process - they get more and more new territories, and we get more and more peace - is not the only one possible. It might as well be interpreted as a formula of the final result, i.e. the goal of exchange: the solution is in that they have got the territories, and we have got peace. I conducted sort of a survey among my acquaintances, asking them how they interpreted this formula. Some really answered that they perceived it as a description of the final result of the conflict settlement. I reminded each person who answered this way that this formula had been accepted by the two sides. In such a case, if it really presupposed the final result, the sides could accept it only when it was concretized: which territories, in what status and with what population; what peace really meant and what it was supported by. Everyone agreed with this and admitted their interpretation of the formula as a description of the final result of the settlement to be illogical, saying that they simply did not think deeply into it.
[It should be noted that this fact accurately characterizes the low level of the Israeli decision-making culture. Indeed, the government presented to the society a decision on the problem vital for the nation and known to everyone, and many did not even go deep into the essence of the decision. Judging by the fact that, following making the decision, the government mainly reacted to the sequence of events to come, and did not generate its sequence, it seems the government itself did not think this decision over very deeply any move forward.]
So this formula allows only one logically consistent interpretation - a description of the exchange process, when the Palestinians get new and new territories, and Israel - more and more peace. Is it possible to carry out the exchange process described by the given formula in practice? With any exchange, in order one side to get something, the other must first give it something or give up something in its favor. Giving, in exchange process, is the primary action, whereas getting is its consequence; it is secondary and will occur only on condition the first takes place. So, to realize whether the exchange is possible, it must be detailed in the form of primary actions (who gives what and gives up what), not in the form of depending consequences (who gets what).
Can we say that Israel gives the Palestinians the territories of Gaza, Jeriho, Ramalla, Hebron, etc.? They are inhabited by the Palestinians, and in this sense are already their territories. Israel gives up control over these territories, and even then, only partly. Even moderate "leftists", proposing establishing the Palestinian Autonomy and later state, spoke of the necessity to prohibit transfer to its territory of all Palestinian refugees and their acquiring heavy weapons. That is to say, full control over what will be happening in these most important aspects on the territory of the Palestinian state the Palestinians would not receive.
On the other hand, can we say that if the Palestinians give even most obliging contractual promises of peace, Israel will really get it? In the situation when the Palestinian sectors in Gaza, Jeriho, Ramalla, Hebron, etc. are situated within Israel’s boarders and communication between them goes on our territory - that is how the geography of the Palestinian state was deemed - there is no true separation of the peoples from each other; their separate life is impossible. In such a situation peace depends not on some treaties of rulers, but on the attitude of the peoples to each other. Israel will get peace only when the Palestinians stop treating the Jewish state with hostility. Without it any contractual promises that they have given or will give to Israel are not of much value.
It is obvious now how to substitute in the formula of the peace process actions-consequences expressing receiving by what should first happen for these consequences to take place. The description of the process in the form of primary actions looks as follows: our partial transfer of control over the Palestinian territories in exchange for the Palestinians’ cessation of hostility toward Israel.
This description of the imagined exchange, consciously or unconsciously meant (and continuing to be meant) by moderate leftists, allows to draw the conclusion that to put it into practice was (and continues to be) impossible. Palestinians will never be satisfied with partial control over the territories they live on and consider theirs. While Palestinians feel that their rights are greatly infringed upon by Israel, they will not stop perceiving it as the most wicked enemy, and among them there will always be enough patriots who will try, at any cost (even at the expense of their lives), to fight against the Jewish state and people in order to attain justice. Let us remember the Palestinian boys of 11-13 years old, throwing stones at our soldiers. They are so full of hostility that even easily risk their lives. But 8 years ago, when the peace process started, they were immature little children. They grew up with the peace process and, in accordance with its idea, should not have been incited with such animosity. It is beyond the power of any army, security service, etc. to prevent the natural for Palestinians bloody manifestations of this patriotic enmity (en masse aggressive actions, such as intifada, explosions, armed attacks, etc.) and the return bloody reaction to them on the part of Israelis in the situation of geographically not separated coexistence, territorial interlacing of the two unequal nations.
Does it mean that the restoring of the infringed rights of the Palestinians should be made a final goal of the conflict settlement, the lack of which was mentioned above, and the peace process should be continued with this correction? The main right the Palestinians are trying to obtain is the right for the refugees to return to the land, houses, villages and towns on Israel's territory that they left as a result of the military actions in 1948 and 1967. However, this land, houses, villages and towns are already either occupied or destroyed. Here is the commentary on a possibility of realization of this right given to the Tikkun magazine (#2, 2001) by the well-known Israeli historian B. Morris, who presented in his works extensive data in support of the right of the Palestinians for return: "A country divided between Israelis on the one hand and on the other Palestinians who had returned and were filled with anger not only at the way they had been treated in the past but also at not finding their villages or homes available-that country would quickly become ungovernable. Each individual Jew living in the country would be facing a real physical danger".
The following view of the problem is becoming more and more widely spread in Israel. There is an increasing understanding as to how great the Palestinians' grounds and decisiveness are for attaining full realization of their right to return and for being at deadly feud with Jews. At the same time, it is becoming clear for more and more Israelis that partial Israel’s concessions do not lessen the Palestinians' hate toward the Jewish state, only aggravating the danger coming from them as these steps result merely in the strengthening of the base from which the Palestinians are fighting for their rights. And until they win, there will always be those who will continue the fight even by the bloodiest means.
A feeling of danger of realizing the Palestinians' right to return probably became one of the main reasons that, at the recent prime minister elections, the overwhelming majority of voters voted against Ehud Barak. They considered that in his negotiations with Y. Arafat, the next concession to be made was the issue of the refugees' return, which, as they believe not without reason, is the end of Israel.
But that the realization of the right to return was the most important issue for the Palestinians and that many of them would try to achieve it at any cost was easy to understand even when the decision about the peace process was being made. It was not a secret either that non-readiness of Palestinians to give up hope for return will also determine the position of their leadership. B. Morris, for instance, remarks that if the Palestinian leader signed an agreement with Israel not including the return issue, he would just be assasinated by his countrymen. I heard the same statement from my acquaintances - Israeli Arabs.Thus, to hope that some Palestinian leader (be it Y. Arafat or someone else) could conclude an agreement on a final conflict settlement acceptable for Israel (and therefore excluding more or less complete return to Palestinians the taken from them lands, villages and towns, houses, rights) means to count on a Palestinian leader's being able to commit suicide not in favor of the sacred war, but in favor of peace with Israel. In order to see that any hope to come to an agreement with the Palestinians is absurd, it was just necessary to investigate the problem deeply.
It was not right to thoughtlessly apply the formula "territories in exchange for peace" regarding the resolving of the Palestine-Israel problem by the example of the successful settlement of Israel-Egypt conflict. In the latter case this formula worked because it was concretized by the setting of a distinct goal (then it really was an expression of final result, and not of the exchange process) and it presupposed a situation of geographical, state and economic separation of the peoples in conflict.
Generally speaking, painful as it is, one can’t help admitting: the decision embodied in the peace process in the form accepted in 1993 is so irrational that it cannot be improved by any correction. In it deviations from rationality were manifested in a double absurdity. Firstly, the final goal the decision would have to be oriented at was not concretized. Secondly, for achieving a non-concrete goal expressed in general words a method of exchange was chosen which was not thoroughly analyzed in terms of its feasibility. So owing to insufficient rationality, Israel is now farther from the realization of a satisfactory for it settlement of the conflict with Palestinians than it was in 1993.
3. TO THE ISSUE OF MAKING A DECISION UNILATERALY
In the previous section it was shown that the problem of the Palestinian-Israeli settlement turned out much more complicated than it seemed when viewed superficially. Does it mean that the near future does not suggest settling the acute collision between Israel and Palestinians? According to B.Morris: "It may be that we need to wait generations before a Palestinian public will emerge that is ready to accept the reality that the refugees cannot return." I believe the result of such waiting will be no less sorrowful than that brought about in Chechnya by the waiting for "the graves getting covered with grass". Owing to its being unsolved, the conflict will aggravate from time to time, leading to new and new bloody confrontations and growing more and more irreconcilable.
However, assume that Morris's optimistic hopes come true, and after several generations the Palestinians, accepting the reality, will agree to the acceptable for Israel terms of the conflict settling. Meantime, such terms that would maximally take into account the Palestinians' interests already nowadays can be worked out and realized unilaterally by Israel. In this case, several generations of Palestinians will not have to suffer in the refugees camps and on the territories being blocked from the outside by the Israeli army, and the Israelis will not have to live under the pressure of the intifada or, even worse, a guerilla warfare.
Thus Israel is facing a dilemma: either to unilaterally work out and to realize a strategic decision on ensuring its security in the conflict with Palestinians taking into account their interests to the maximal degree acceptable for the Jewish state; or, in the best (in my opinion, not very probable) case to let several generations of Israelis and Palestinians suffer until the latter become more realistic, and in the worst - never to get rid of the bloody conflict.
To my mind, in order to have chances to be realized unilaterally, a strategic solution on ensuring Israel's security must possess three properties: 1) to be worked out with the participation of the whole nation; 2) to be represented not by some short formula, but by a quite detailed plan; 3) to be of high quality. And the main factor a high quality of the sought decision depends on is that the overwhelming majority of Israeli citizens agree with it. This factor is so important that all other thinkable factors taken together yield to it in significance. Our failure in settling the conflict with the Palestinians is a vivid confirmation of the well-known truth: when in conflict with a confronting side, a big inner discord is disastrous.
It should be observed that participation in the plan design by the entire nation and agreeing with the designed decision of the absolute majority of people are not only the major internal Israeli but also important external political factors contributing to the feasibility of the plan. If the Israeli government is legitimately empowered by the whole nation to usher a certain plan, it will get an unusually powerful position in the international arena. For any state declaring democratic values, it will be embarrassing to reject the plan which will be a legitimate and absolutely definite expression of the will of the overwhelming majority of Israeli people.
Even nowadays, regarding A. Sharon's having won the Prime Minister elections with an overwhelming predominance, one cannot say that the nation empowered him to act in some definite way (he did not present a program for actions at the election). The only thing one can assert is the fact that Israelis negatively on the whole referred to the actions of the previous Prime Minister E. Barak. And there are no grounds for a sure judgement as to what concrete actions incurred this extremely low estimation; that is, at least about what exactly the people wish A. Sharon not to do. Meanwhile, it is clear that a breakthrough in ensuring Israel's security in the collision with Palestinians can be achieved only by means of some non-trivial radical actions. Obviously, in the limits of present usual political procedures even a national unity government is not likely to be able to conduct such actions. It is doomed to a vague inefficient policy if it does not have a prop on a legitimately expressed all-national consent to radical steps.
It seems to me that a decision agreed upon by the majority of Israelis (and only such a decision can be good) can be obtained only in the course of an all-national rational decision-making procedure (see below). Any, even the most genius geopolitical plan, if it is declared and pushed by some political power, will inevitably be subject to a strong criticism by its political opponents, and thus will again become an apple of discord for the nation. However, all-national rational procedures of working out decisions are not being applied anywhere by the representative democracy. Meantime nowadays, thanks to the development of communication and the "technology" of decision-making, it became possible to resolve vital issues in the life of a country with direct participation of the entire people.
I mean participation in the whole decision-making process, and not only in its last fourth phase (see Paragraph 1) - choosing the most preferable decision variant - as in modern direct, or participatory democracy. Its advocates call for transferring this phase of making most important social decisions to people. In the shape it now exists in Swiss and some states of the USA, where the most urgent issues of the society are solved at referendums, direct democracy, as shown, for instance, in (Frey & Pommerehne, 1995; Beedham, 1996; Feld & Savioz, 1997), is a step forward compared to traditional representative democracy. However, because a referendum is the form of final choice, and not of working out a decision, it cannot be used for obtaining a decision on settling the Palestine-Israel conflict that would possess the aforementioned properties 1) - 3).
It is necessary to create and perfect in a group of a suitable number of participants a model of rational collective decision-making procedure meant for implementation on an all-national scale. The Ideas on creating such a sought model are presented in the final part of the article; they are based on the modern decision making "technology".
4. PROCEDURAL RATIONALITY OF DECISION-MAKING
The four-phase scheme of a rational decision procedure outlined in Section 1 is deemed flexible in two respects.
First, an individual or a collective making a decision can return from the later phases to the initial ones if the data that appeared in the course of making a decision push to rethink the conclusions made before. (Which is the case in resolving complicated issues). Suppose in connection to the unexpected decision variant generated in the second phase it might seen feasible to verify the problem setting having returned for that purpose to the first phase. Or, for instance, getting in the third phase an unpleasant prognosis of the consequences of each decision variant might require turning again to the second phase for searching new variants or even to the first phase to modify viewing of a problem situation.
Second, this scheme in different spheres of decision-making for different classes of problems can manifest itself in various decision-making models. For instance, for making strategic decisions in management, in the decision-making science widely known models of subjective expected utility (Edwards, 1954), consecutive limited comparison (Lindblom, 1959), logical incrementalism (Quinn, 1978), as well as a number of their modifications and other less known models. In general, in decision science there have been developed both a general methodology and an extensive apparatus - numerous methods, techniques, etc. of conducting operations on accumulating, producing and processing information referring to different types of problems and phases of working out decisions. Possible sources of errors have been revealed, and ways of overcoming them have been found. Along with the representatives of decision science, different models of rational individual and collective decision-making procedures have been proposed by different schools of knowledge. For instance, in the USSR activity-organizational games designed by the Moscow Methodological Circle were very popular (Schedrovitsky & Kotelnikov, 1983). Generally speaking, the arsenal of human knowledge has a strong decision-making "technology" has been built up. Thus if a decision-making model is chosen adequately and all phases of the process of working out a decision are conducted without errors with the help of the existing methodology and apparatus, i.e. the decision is made "technologically" correctly, the latter is rational.
The idea of procedural rationality was developed by the outstanding decision scientists Nobel Prize winner H. Simon (1976), I. Janis and L. Mann (1977) et al. In the mid 70’s it got established in decision science because it not only provides an effective approach to working out a decision, but also (for the first time!) to evaluating the quality of a decision before starting to put it into practice. For this it is just necessary to evaluate the quality of the decision-making procedure. According to the idea, the high quality (rationality) of a decision with high probability is predetermined by the high technological quality of the decision-making procedure. This idea is the embodiment in the field of decision-making of a more general idea that long ago got established in the sphere of production, management, as well as in exact, natural and technical sciences: the high quality of a product (a manufactured article, a project, a research result) is predetermined by the high quality of the process of working out (manufacturing, projecting, researching) a product. Indeed, a decision is also a product that is worked out in the process (procedure) of decision-making.
It is clear that the area of effective application of rational procedures of persona, social, business, political, etc. decision-making is not limitless. Its limits are as obvious as those for technical projecting. If, say, a tractor is procedurally rationally designed, it will be a good project solution, but no procedural rationality will give decisive effect in designing, for instance, a time machine. The idea of procedural rationality is efficient when working out decisions in situations in which the means of achieving the sought goals can be found among the existing techniques and methods of actions or, if although there are no directly applicable techniques and methods, there are such that can be in an obvious way adjusted as means of achievement. Such are the majority of decision-making situations that people face. The procedurally rational approach, as a rule, loses effectiveness in very rare cases: in entirely creative problems - those the solution of which requires non-trivial searching activity, inventor’s revelations, etc.
In collective decision-making rational procedures are not very efficient also in situations when among the participants of decision-making exist insurmountable antagonist contradictions. It should be observed that such situations are very scarce. Quite often antagonist contradictions can be overcome by the right problem setting. For example, if a problem of increasing economic well-being is set as a redistribution one, among the participants of decision-making on redistribution there arise antagonist contradictions because the winning of one of them leads to the reduction of what remains for others. If the problem solution is searched in the increase of the common amount of goods with keeping the initial proportions of their distribution, when the sought solution is found, everyone will win.
5. THE PROBLEM-SOLVING WORKSHOP
The existing in the Israeli society contradictions as to what strategy there should be applied in the collision with Palestinians are so acute that many people fear these contradictions are insurmountably antagonistic. In order to lessen these fears, I am going to tell about a collective rational procedure of working out a decision on ensuring the security of Israel in the collision with Palestinians. The procedure were held on January 5-6, 2001 at a special problem-solving workshop in Rehovot. The participants were about 30 people (mainly originating from the former USSR) from Rehovot, Tel-Aviv, Jerusalem, Beer-Sheba, Kfar Saba and Bnei Aish - workers, employees, small business owners, engineers and pensioners; new immigrants, old-timers and native Israelis at the age of 25 - 70. Except two people, no one was a member of social-political organizations. By their initial views on the problem of Palestine-Israel conflict settlement, part of them might be referred to the "leftists", another part - to the "rightists" and the others - to the "centrists". Thus they were thirty ordinary Israelis who had never before participated in collective rational decision-making procedures.
After opening the workshop and explaining its subject and structure of the forthcoming rational procedure, the participants, in small groups, started implementing the first three phases of decision making - (i) a versatile analysis and a distinct systematic setting of the problem; (ii) working out their group variant of a decision; (iii) prognosis of possible consequences of the realization of this variant and systematized evaluation of its strong and weak points. In each group the work was guided (the procedure, not the essence) by an expert in decision-making.
There have been formed three groups by different views of the collision managing problem. The first regarded it as an issue of working out a mutually acceptable compromise in negotiating with people who are in principle like we and are infringed by us. In this case, nothing should be rigidly determined in advance, it is necessary to work out variants to be offered to them to reach an agreement. Those from the second group thought that they were dealing with an enemy whose nature of behavior differs in principle from ours for the worse - in this case, Israel should impose the made by it alone decision which is to be worked out. The third group, in their view of the situation, proceeded not from determining who was right and who was to blame but from considering who could undertake actions leading out of the current deadlock and who was unable to do so. Since the situation is being under Israel's control, we have to determine in a one-sided way the conditions of ensuring the security of Israel in the collision with Palestinians. Then to try to reach an agreement on these conditions through negotiations, and in the extreme case, if agreement turned out unattainable, to force the Palestinians to obey the will of the Israeli people. So the first and foremost task of the third group was to determine the conditions of ensuring the security of Israel.
As a result, at the workshop, three projects started to be developed. They were based on different principles: (a) territories in exchange for peace; (b) peace in exchange for peace (not to give away anything, in response to the intifada, exercising a powerful pressure, to show the Palestinians that they also desperately need peace); (c) territories in exchange for territories (mutual transfer of the Palestinians from the West bank to the Israeli territory around Gaza and of the Israelis from this territory to the West bank).
The groups were given an assignment: at the general meeting to report the projects by according to the same scheme: 1) to describe their view of the problem situation and to substantiate it; 2) to formulate the suggested criteria of evaluating the quality of the decision; 3) to set concrete goals for ensuring the security of Israel in the collision with Palestinians; 4) to propose a program of achieving these goals; 5) to give a grounding to the evaluation of their proposal, to show why it is better than others and to build up a prognosis for its feasibility.After the reports and mutual criticism, the groups were given a task to maximally draw the positions nearer, adopting each other’s most successful ideas on problem and goal setting, as well as the solution proper. On accomplishing this work, the groups exchanged their projects (the first group received for further development the project of the second group, the second - of the third group, the third - of the first group) and continued bringing them together. As a result, by the end of the first day of the workshop, the majority of the participants started to be inclined to the project that synthesized the ideas of the different groups within the principle "peace and territories in exchange for peace and territories".
I will set forth this project in accordance with the above-mentioned points 1) - 5).
The general view of the problem consisted in stating that the peace process had reached a deadlock and had aggravated the division of the society on this issue; further continuation of the process on the Oslo principles and cleavage inadmissible.
That is why the main criterion to judge the quality of a decision was determined whether the overwhelming majority of Israel’s citizens supports this decision. The second criterion is the true geographical and state separation of Israelis and Palestinians-non-Israelis. In the course of the workshop the participants came to the same conclusion as I in my foregoing reasoning: the realization of the Palestinians’ views of equal with Jews existence on the territory situated within Israel’s boarders would be ruinous for the Jewish state. Due to unequal, from the Palestinians’ point of view, conditions, they will never stop fighting with Israel. And this, in case of the interlacing of the two peoples, will make their bloody conflict endless.The final goal of the settlement: all Palestinians living now on the territory controlled by Israel and not being Israeli citizens are transferred to the Palestinian state. It is established around the Gaza strip with adding a big Israeli territory so that the boarder lies, for example, on the line Ashkelon - Sederot - Ofakim - Mitzpe Ramon - Mount Sagi. Israelis move from this territory to other regions of the country, leaving untouched all the construction on it. (The migrants are paid compensation for all material losses and are given maximal benefits and advantages for building or acquiring housing or industrial premises.) Israel applies to the US with a request to persuade Egypt, which depends on America because of getting substantial assistance, to sell for joining to the Palestinian state, the Egyptian territory bordering on the Gaza strip and approximately equal to the territory that Israel is giving to the Palestinians. The payment will be made up of the funds received by Israel as American aid. (In case Egypt agrees, on the sold (by it) territory construction of cities for Palestinians unfolds; it is subsidized by Israel and is offered for implementation first of all to Egyptian builders.) An international status of the Old City of Jerusalem is established. The Palestinian state is independent and has full sovereignty over its territory without being under anybody’s control; that is to say, it can receive refugees, have heavy weapons, etc. The boarder between the Palestinian state and Israel from our side all along is hermetically sealed and fortified with defenses and military equipment.
Achieving the above-described goal of conflict settling can only be started if the overwhelming majority of Israelis support this project. Once such support is provided, preparation for transferring Israelis should be started. Israel must demonstrate our strong determination to put into practice the decision made regardless of the reaction abroad and among Palestinians. They must be clearly shown that they have only two ways: 1) to consent to the settlement principle "peace and territories in exchange for peace and territories" and enter into negotiations about the boarder advantageous for them, or 2) to be forcefully transferred to the territory determined for them by Israel on a unilateral basis. A special information service must be established to show the world public what hardships Israel assumes, subjecting hundreds of thousands of its citizens to a tragic at times transfer, being forced to leave their native Ashkelon, Sederot, etc.; what material losses the Jewish state experiences, in particular, to ensure a possibility for the Palestinians to live in a full value equal state, and not on the scrappy territory they are occupying now. After the transfer of Israelis and establishing a hermetically sealed boarder, the Arabs having the Israeli citizenship are the first to get the right for populating (voluntarily) the vacant cities and villages. For this purpose, they are granted big funds only on condition they give up the Israeli citizenship. The workshop participants noted that along with this project of settlement, it is reasonable to pass a law on loyalty to the state. This law should declare that an Israeli citizen, for actions and calls aimed at illegal changing of the boarder or of the democratic and Jewish character of the state, may be subject to a long-term imprisonment or instead of it - to deportation from the country and deprivation of citizenship. Information about this law could be used when agitating Arabs-Israelis to immigrate to the Palestinian state. Transfer of the Palestinians-non-Israelis should be encouraged in any way possible (for example, by setting up high premiums for moving before a certain early deadline) and compelled (for example, by blocking the territories, reducing the energy supply, switching off the telephone communication, etc.). Forcible transfer should take place only in rare extreme cases.
Obviously, the geopolitical situation outlined in the presented project as a final goal of settlement is ideal by the second criterion (separation); its high value by the first criterion (public concord) is favored, paradoxically as it may seem, by the fact that it is a synthesis of the extreme points of view on the solution of the Palestine-Israel conflict, disseminated in the Israeli society. Among them is the transfer, which is the ultra "rightists’" idea, and a sovereign equal Palestinian state within the present Israel boarders, fought for by the ultra "leftists".
This project was also evaluated in the aspects constantly being discussed in the society - peace, security, stability, and cooperation. In terms of seeing the world, this project does not imply that Palestinians will lose hostility toward Israel. However, on the one hand, because of the sealed and fortified boarder, it will not bother Israel too much. On the other hand, being separated from the Jewish state in their own one, the Palestinians after some time will definitely understand that their hard life conditions not Israel should be blamed, but their own corrupted top management. In terms of security and stability, the participants of the workshop evaluated the project higher than any possible variants attainable within the formula "territories in exchange for peace". In their opinion, this formula can lead only to pseudo peace and pseudo cooperation. At best, if the Palestinians agree with the principle "peace and territories in exchange for peace and territories", and the boarder line is set up through negotiations, their result will certainly be a functional peace and cooperation agreement. At worst, the project in question will have to be carried out forcibly, which will definitely result in no peace agreement on cooperation with the Palestinian state. It is a little worse than pseudo peace and pseudo cooperation, but taking into account that with no peace agreement Israel will have security and stability, such "worse" is not of big importance, in the eyes of the workshop participants.
This project is worse than all solutions that can be obtained by the formula "territories in exchange for peace" in terms of material expenses and organizational hardships. Yet the participants of the workshop expressed the belief that regarding material support, one should expect great assistance on the part of the Diaspora; and to arrange a civilized transfer of hundreds of thousands of people is hard, but quite possible.
If there is nothing left but to transfer the Palestinians forcibly, this project will turn out bad in terms of the international feedback; but it will be possible to prevent its implementation only in case the USA does not support Israel. Here the thoughts of the participants of the workshop again referred to the Diaspora; it was noted that Israel means too much for American Jews. They will enthusiastically back up any decision if it is accepted by the overwhelming majority of Israelis. And if it is actively supported by American Jews, the government of the USA will have to act similarly. The first criterion (concord of the Israeli society) is of such great significance because it is not only the major inner Israeli factor but also one of the foreign policy, determining the feasibility of a certain advantageous for Israel decision.
Thus in evaluating the project in question, it became clear that along with considerable advantages, it has serious drawbacks. And most important, it has many vague points (which compensations will be sufficient for the majority of potential migrants voluntarily to agree to it; how much transfer itself might cost, etc.) and subjective suppositions that need verification - whether the Diaspora will really provide a serious support; if American Jews will want and be able to exert a powerful efficient pressure on their government, etc.
Symptomatically, the workshop participants, who at the beginning firmly stated their intuitive positions and did not feel any need in their reasonable grounding, changed their attitude. After a day and a half of procedurally rationally organized work, everybody felt a necessity to receive, regarding many questions, experts’ evaluations, specialists' prognoses, etc. Each participant of the workshop changed his or her initial view of the problem situation. At first it seemed that the goal that could be attained directly was working out a concrete geopolitical solution. Therefore, the answer to the question "What to do?" being faced by our country and set in front of the workshop participants should describe Israel’s actions in regard to Palestinians. Tying up this question with the explicitly put questions "How is the problem viewed?" as well as " Which methods and means can be applied?" changed both the implicitly existing with the participants answers to the last two questions and the idea of what the question "What to do?" should refer to. It turns out that firstly it makes sense to ask not "What to do on the part of Israel concerning Palestinians?", but "What to do in Israel for a good decision on this issue to be made?"
A common opinion got established that a good decision could be made only within a much deeper and informational supported procedure. As a result, no concrete geopolitical decision was made; by the middle of the second day of the workshop, the participants independently welcomed the idea of conducting an all-national rational procedure of working out a collision resolving decision.
The development of this idea led to the following outline of the scenario for the procedure.
The implementing the very procedure should be preceded by an introduction within which people get a comprehensive and clear explanation of its general structure as a procedure of all-national decision-making, as well as the purpose and essence of its phases. In addition to this, each phase starts with the specification of the details of its conducting, and on completing the phase, a conclusion is made in terms of what has been done within the general procedure and a further course of actions is outlined.
At the first phase of decision-making - problem setting - in this case the vision of the situation of Israel in the collision with Palestinians and its goals in terms of ensuring its security should be outlined; also, the conditions and factors of realizing the goals, as well as possible methods of achieving them should be analyzed.
It can be carried out in the course of special discussion in the mass media built up so as to make a maximal number of commentators, experts and, most important, ordinary people participate.
By the results of this discussion, a special College of Evaluators (see below) should select two to three dozen goals - most important general tasks of ensuring the security of Israel in the collision with Palestinians frequently mentioned in the discussion. Next, they are brought forward at a referendum, and each citizen gets the right to mark in his or her ballot-paper, for instance, five of the tasks. A voter should have a possibility to include in the number of these "fives" the tasks that were not among those exposed in the referendum, having written them in their ballots. It makes sense to arrange such voting through the mail. On its completion the tasks named, say, by at least a quarter of the referendum participants should be pointed out.
These tasks should be considered to be the society's requirements for ensuring the security of Israel in the collision with Palestinians. The degree to which a choice variant meets these requirements will represent the criteria of the evaluation of decision variants - Israeli strategies in the collision with Palestinians.
As for Phase 2 - generating possible decision variants - it is clear that the more variants there are under consideration, the more the probability that the best one will be among those being considered. Therefore, for submission variants of strategies to the College no conditions should be established.
Rational realization of the next decision-making Phase 3, in the problem situation being considered, is impossible to carry out on the basis of direct participation of all citizens of the country. So, society should form in a democratic way the College of Evaluators out of 50-60 people, in order to delegate to them the realization of Phase 3 (as well as summing up the aforementioned all-national discussion in the middle of Phase 1 - the selection of the most important general tasks of ensuring the security of Israel in the collision with Palestinians to be brought forward at a referendum). The society’s participation in Phase 3 should be confined to presenting all its relevant informational and intellectual resources at the evaluators’ disposal, as well as observing and criticizing their activity that will be fully open.
The Knesset formed according to an usual democratic election procedure does not feet the challenge of being such a College. The detailed grounds for it are set forth in (Savelzon, 2000). In short, the Knesset members will not be able adequately evaluate the all-national efficiency of a decision because of their being oriented to inter-group redistribution.
A procedure of electing a College should be designed so that it would consist of competent people whose participation in the College cannot bring them any other profit than the well-being of the country where they are going to live after making a decision. That is why it is imperative that the following clauses be included into the election law. A citizen does not have the right to be a College member if he or she is professionally involved in political activity. A person who was a College member cannot run for the Municipality, Knesset and Prime Minister in the following first election. Incompetent or prejudiced actions of the College members must be necessarily brought to the public through the mass media for whom the activity of the College will be absolutely "transparent". It is crucial to activate mechanisms analogous to those used for ensuring objectivity of the citizens fulfilling the functions similar to those of the College members, for instance, of the jury members in American courts. These mechanisms should be made even more reliable and rigid. For example, to determine that offering and accepting bribes or mediation in it is a grave crime that must entail capital punishment. It will probably be necessary to establish some other conditions eliminating for the College members any possibility to be bribed or to legally get from this position any profit for them or their close relatives - material good, raise of the social status, political self-publicity, etc. Thus the election law must be built up so that it will give to a College member only one direct interest - to select decisions which will bring more benefit to the country and, consequently, to him or her as one of its ordinary citizens. The indirect interest of the College members will be in that their high evaluation of really efficient decisions will confirm their competence in decision-making.
In the Israeli society there exist reputations of independent citizens, well known as smart and honest people. Those of them who will not want to make a political career in the coming years - scientists, consultants, lawyers, journalists, businessmen, etc. - will be the most likely aspirants to the College members. Their election campaigns should be restricted by an equal in volume presentation of their autobiographic references in the mass media. The authenticity of these references should afterwards be subject to public discussion through the same mass media. No posters, no agitators, no propaganda mass meetings, etc. Political figures and parties are prohibited from participating in the College election campaign.
The elected College members will be freed for several months from their regular jobs, and at the state’s expense (but without material gain compared to their everyday activity), under the conditions of entire openness and publicity, they will be busy during this period of time only with conducting the rational procedure of evaluating the decision variants. (The participants of the workshop left open the question about a concrete structure of the whole procedure of evaluation and the schemes of work at its separate phases. They may be as at the workshop, or specialists on decision-making and group dynamics may be able to find a more efficient scenario for the procedure. Only a general requirement for procedural rationality was formulated). It is especially important that the College members will be granted the best possibilities to invite independent experts for consultations and to retrieve necessary information from all state organizations. All citizens of the country will be granted a possibility not only to observe but also to interfere in the work of the College, sending their proposals or criticism to it (directly or through the media).
The College presents for discussion those two decision variants that are most highly evaluated by the College members. Each variant is accompanied by a comprehensive evaluation and its detailed grounding. After discussing the variants an all-national referendum on choosing the best of them is conducted.
Thus during the workshop, in consensus and with one abstention, the decision consisting of two proposals was accepted:
(1) to stop implementing the peace process on the Oslo principles;
(2) to conduct an all-national procedure of making a collision resolving decision in accordance with the outlined above scenario.
Symptomatically, hard as I tried to draw my friends’ attention to the fact that it is the second proposal that is the major result of the workshop, all of them reacted, in fact, only to the first. The "leftists" reproached: "Everything that rejects the formula "territories in exchange for peace" is a "rightist" decision". The "rightists" approved: "We fully agree - the only reasonable decision is to regect once and forever the agreements made in Oslo". The major decision made at the game did not attract attention since it is out of the plane where "rightist","leftist" or "centrist" positions are. However, at present, only what is "above" that plane can work – not some concrete position, but an undertaking on working out a coordinated all-national position.
It is clear that before implementing the proposed all-national rational decision making procedure as such an undertaking, it should be thoroughly mastered on model examples. Most attention should be paid to everything associated with the College of Evaluators. All-national concord will depend on how much the rank-and-file citizens will be involved in observation and control of the College's activity and how authoritative its evaluation will be for them.
The first experience of mastering the proposed procedure model was received in June 2001 in an educational-health compound in Kfar Saba during a problem business game dedicated to designing a strategy of developing the Israeli association "Women in Science and Education". Thirty people participated in the game, and it was conducted during a weekend according to the scenario corresponding to the one outlined in the previous Section. Soon after the beginning of the game the participants chose a College of Evaluators of five people. By the second day of the game three variants of the development strategy had been generated. Their evaluation was carried out by the College, the other participants being able to observe its work and offer their ideas through a special mediator. At the same time they were free to choose any other way to spend time, taking advantage of the various facilities for rest available at the place. During many hours of the College's work the number of observers was constantly changing, but there never were less than two-thirds of the participants that were not included in the College. About 50% of the observers applied with their remarks through a mediator to the College. On completing its work everyone unanimously voted for the variant of the association development strategy that the College considered to be the best.
Thus the results of the game confirmed the hopes the participants of the workshop had that the procedure proposed by them would contribute to collective consensus in evaluating the decision being worked out in the course of this decision procedure.
It is reasonable to further master the procedure in the course of bigger and bigger scale simulation business games. In my opinion, at least one more simulation business game is needed with constant participation of more than one hundred people during several days. The next stage of modeling should be a procedure which would have no less than a thousand people as participants-observers and which would last no less than several weeks. This can be done within a contest for the best project of resolving some socially significant problem. It makes sense to organize such a contest in accordance with the scenario proposed in the previous Section for an all-national rational decision making procedure. I have a clear idea of how, with the help of a certain system of encouragement and awards to attract to participation in this contest a) those possessing the traits and status that members of an all-national College are supposed to have; b) specialists who will act as experts; c) ordinary citizens as observers. At the last stage of modeling the scale of the contest should be increased to all-national, mastering the issues of presenting the procedure in the Internet and transmitting it on the radio and television.
If, according to my expectations, when mastering the procedure, it yields decisions supported by the overwhelming majority of participants, it could be used for all-national making a strategic decision on ensuring the security of Israel in its collision with Palestinians.
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