Tuesday, November 13, 2007

`Land For Peace', American Style

" Never ask a friend to buy a horse you wouldn't buy yourself" - (Loose translation of an old Yiddish proverb)

The new final settlement conference between the US and Mexico and the Atzlanistas is scheduled for late November, and promises a new chapter in the relationship between the two countries, and new hope for Mexican refugees yearning for self determination and a state of their own.

For years, there have been ongoing hostilities, culminating in a rash of illegal immigration and ongoing terrorism on the border, but while there are many troublesome issues, new attitudes by the Americans and Mexicans may mean that peace is finally at hand.

The new status quo will probably look very much like a proposition made by New Atzlan advocates like MEChA and American academics for years, aligned with the peace plan promoted by Mexican President Calderon and supported by other Latin American countries.

What the Atzlanistas want is final status on a state of their own with contiguous borders, New Atzlan, to consist of the American territories of California, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona with its capitol in traditionally Atzlanista Los Angeles. All non-Mexican American settlers would be evacuated outside these borders to the original pre-1836 US borders, with some modifications, perhaps, to reflect demographics. Part of Northern California, for instance, could be traded for land in southern Nevada, eastern Louisiana, Colorado or Utah as part of a final settlement.

Both the Mexicans and the Atzlanistas want justice for the descendants of the refugees of the original American-Mexican conflict. They want a full right of return for these refugees to Mexican lands still in the hands of the US and the right to settle in the US for those Mexicans dubbed `illegal aliens' who have been victimized by what both the Mexicans and the Atzlanistas denounce as the apartheid border wall and restrictive US immigration policies.They also want any agreement to have a deadline for implementation, and for all checkpoints within New Atzlan, especially on the current borders to be removed to allow the Atzlanistas freedom of movement, and the US occupation of New Atzlan ended during the interim before the final settlement agreement is implemented.

The Atzlanistas are also demanding full sovereignty and control over historic US sites like the Grand Canyon, the Alamo, and Yosemite.

And they also want all Mexican and Atzlanista prisoners currently in American custody, whom the Atzlanistas consider to be freedom fighters, to be repatriated to Atzlanista territory.

In exchange for this, the Mexicans and Atzlanistas promise to recognize the remainder of American territory as the sovereign United States, and to renounce illegal immigration and terrorism and dismantle the drug cartels currently operating out of Mexican and Atzlanista territory.

The problems of a final solution to this problem can't be underestimated. Much of the area in question is populated by right wing ultra-nationalist settlers who consider these territories part of their historic homeland, regardless of international law. Resettling them in the United States within the pre-conflict borders will entail considerable trouble and expense for the US. In the territories on the North Bank ( AKA Texas) in particular, opposition to a proposed land for peace settlement is particularly widespread, not least when it comes to control of the Alamo, which many settlers consider one of the most important sites in their history. The Atzlanistas are insisting on total control of the Alamo as part of their State, claiming that according to their tradition, Atzlanista hero General Santa Ana tied his horse there before ascending to heaven.

There's also the question of what kind of control the Mexican government and the Atzlanistas have over groups like the Mexican Mafia, the Zetas and MS13 (who are actually mostly Salvadorans), who have yet to commit to being part of any settlement, or of their ability to prevent illegal immigration to the US.

Obviously the US will have to provide substantial amounts of aid to both Calderon and to the Atzlanistas as part of a package in order to bolster America's new peace partners. Critics have pointed out that such aid in the past has largely ended up in the hands of drug cartels and terrorists like the Zetas and has strengthened them, but it will undoubtedly be a necessary risk for peace on the part of the US.

Unless the coming conference ends up with major concessions by the Americans and a substantial settlement along these lines that provides hope for the Atzlanistas a new, intesified circle of violence is almost guaranteed as the Atzlanistas become more radicalized.

We may very well be on the verge of a peaceful, two state solution in the region. A land for peace agreement is undoubtedly an important step towards that goal, and proponents of a two state solution have pointed to Oslo and the Gaza disengagement by Israel of how well such a plan can work, properly implemented and with the support of the international community.

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