New York Times ad seeks candidates for joint Israeli-Palestinian parliament

Confederation initiative launched by Israeli-born lawyer who now lives in California

Elhanan Miller is the former Arab affairs reporter for The Times of Israel

An initiative to establish an Israeli-Palestinian confederation and joint parliament was publicized Monday with a full page advertisement in the New York Times, aimed at recruiting 1,500 parliamentary candidates from both sides of the conflict.

The initiative was launched by Israeli-born lawyer Josef Avesar, a California resident, and has been endorsed by former Israeli foreign minister Shlomo Ben Ami and Palestinian peace activist and National Council member Hanna Siniora.

Elections for a planned joint Israeli-Palestinian parliament are to be held on December 12, and the Confederation’s website allows Israeli and Palestinians over the age of 21 to submit their candidacy for parliament member or president. The parliament is to include 300 members, elected by 300 voting districts encompassing Israel and the Palestinian territories. Candidates must declare online “under penalty of perjury” that they are residents “of Israel or Palestine.”

The joint parliament is not intended to replace the existing Israeli and Palestinian legislatures, organizers explain, but rather help bridge the gap between the sides. According to the parliament’s constitution, legislation can only pass with the consent of both sides.

With a board of directors located in the United States, it is unclear where the parliament would convene once elected. Article 1 of the Israeli-Palestinian Confederation’s constitution stipulates only that “the time, place, and manner of the Parliament’s legislative sessions and voting mechanism shall be prescribed by the Parliament.”

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