Middle East Map Project 2010-11

A Working Plan B for Israel/ Palestine

In 2005 the Rand Corporation proposed integrating a future Palestine state with a high speed rail and high way system that would connect West bank and Gaza. This was inspiration for Working Plan B, a work of the imagination based on current facts on the ground. It requires a land swap between Israelis and Palestinians, which was envisioned by president Jimmy Carter and Ariel Sharon in 2001.

Working Plan B is an artist™s version of The Middle East centered along the line of the Jordan River Valley and defined by three parallel rail lines, Red/Blue/Orange connecting Palestine, Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Turkey and Saudi Arabia. The rail routes look like The Metro in London, Paris, New York, Montreal, Hong Kong, or Tehran. The lines pass through eight districts of civil authority, allowing for certain amount of independence, security, democracy and free passage. It connects the Mediterranean Sea and the neighboring countries to the North East and South.

In a foreseeable future the security walls and settlement blocks are to remain in place in exchange for a land swap for returning Palestine refugees. A strategy of agonism is useful because it does not count on understanding of others social values but works with the idea of differences can continue if there is respect for others™ rights.

The paralleled districts allow for a symbiotic stability of mutual benefit. There is enough international interest in having peace in the area that sponsors for developing the rail system would be willing to contribute to its different parts. Two thirds of the rail is currently operative in Israel and Jordan and the rest could be set up on decommissioned rail beds, with new tunnels and transit points.

Land swaps would open up a Palestine port in Mediterranean at Acre in North and another in the South at Ashquelon in exchange for the large settlement blocks surrounding Jerusalem. The special district of Jerusalem/ Bethlehem could be a UN security neutral zone for the three religions of Abraham. The history of the old city has its beginnings as a fortified village and has passed through conquest and occupations for three thousand years. It is a complicated archeological site of populations slaughtered or sold into slavery, later replaced by new waves of immigration. Its feuds and spirituality require special conditions from other territories, allowing for hardliners, secular and social idealists.

As an artist I have attempted to think outside the box because the conflict has not seen a solution in sixty years and seems to be deadlocked. Any map is considered premature and even taboo by both sides. My artistic daughter who is a stand up comedian who majored in Political Science says my Plan B Map looks like a golf course with water hazards and sand traps. With that metaphor in mind, try to imagine this œland in the middle as a fair way leading forward to peace by connecting various regional cultures with plenty of hazards to be negotiated.

I would welcome your helpful criticism and hopeful comments.

Thank you sincerely,

Bruce Parsons, Artist.  parsonsw@bell.net

Professor Emeritus

York U. Toronto, Ont.

Canadian Art Database            www.ccca.ca

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