Sunday, November 14, 2010

Israel Palestinian Peace Talk Participatory Style

Let's not rely on negotiations between one pair of leaders or negotiating teams. Different pairs of people, groups of both Israeli and Palestinians randomly selected, sets of academics all make proposals. And then both Palestinians and Israelis vote on which proposal they like the most. The one that gets the max of the minima of the Israeli votes and the vote. Of course, if no proposal gets 50% of the votes from both the Israelis and the Palestinians, then nothing happens. (A null proposal also can be added to explicitly see if either side just prefers to do nothing. )

proposalIsraeli approval percentagePalestinian Approval percentqage
Here proposal a win's. It's minimum is 54 and that is more than the minima of b, c, d respectively (51, 52 and 53) respectively.

Following in the spirit of the X-Prize, the individuals making the proposal that wins, gets a few million dollars.

Of course, there are questions should there be three separate votes, the Gaza groups, the West bank and the Israeli's. Do those Palestinians who fled in 1949 and who are now living far away get to vote? If then, perhaps Israelis might say the Jewish diaspora, including those who may be several-generations American-citizens and residents, get to vote. There is certainly no reason that one could not do this with five or more groups.

proposalIsraeli Approval Percentage Gaza Approval percentageWest Bank Approval PercentageJewish DiasporaPalestinian Diaspora
a, c and d could not win since they have one percentage below fifty percent. Thsat leave c with a min of 52% and e with a minima of 51. So c wins!

The proposals would include of course several two-state solutions as well as one-state solutions. The Constitution Construction Kit would be used to allow the Palestinian voters and the Jewish voters to construct and try to see if they could live as one country.

Simulated Annealing or Hill Climbing

We can assume that there might be several proposals that might attract close to 50%, or better, of each group. Can we tweak them to get a better proposal. We can allow slight variations in a few items, for example, swapping a little bit of land here for a little bit of land there. And see if the amended proposal does better than the proposal. In the spirit of simulated annealing, big changes, and new proposals are allowed at first. Those proposals that have good agreement from parties, get tweaked. Then, these get tweaked by a lesser amount. We only take the tweaks that give a better min max than the base proposal.

The X-Prize Approach

Of course, simulated annealing conflicts with the X-Prize approach. Does a a party making a proposal that gets tweaked quite a bit entitled to the prize? A participatory democracy approach would be that the Quartet would put $25,000,000 in escrow. If and when a proposal passes, the people would then have another election to decide who gets the prize. In the spirit of Wait 'til we really know what you are worth, the first partition would be for two million of the $25,000,000.00. The remainder should be awarded twenty years later when we see that the peace really was stable!

The Literature on Civil Wars

The literature on civil wars shows that sometimes or often both sides have to exhaust each other more before one or both sides is willing to concede... (Foreign Affairs, 2007, Volume 86, Issue Two, Page Two, James D. Fearon, "Iraq's Civil War"--which has some great statistics information on civil wars in general and I will make a Thoughtful Thursday.)

A closing note based on a wonderful NPR Story

A conventionally-negotiated peace deal requires on the leaders having the courage to "take it back to their people and see if they can sell it." The participatory-democracy approach means that there are many proposals and the people can vote on the ones they want. Mr. Miller, who was at the Camp David talks, says don't go to a high level summit if both sides are not ready.

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