The One State Solution
- [Comment by Landis] Increasingly, educated Palestinians and some Arabs
are calling for a one state solution to the Jewish-Palestinian
problem. I have never given much thought to this because it strikes me
as impractical. Jewish Israelis have no reason to want it and the vast
majority of Palestinians are nationalists who want a Palestinian state
and not one that would surely be dominated by Jews, who are better
organized, educated, plugged in, and richer than Palestinians. All the
same, Elie Elhadj articulates an important argument.
"Why the Only Solution for Jews and Palestinians
is a One State Solution"
by Elie Elhadj, author of The Islamic Shield
January 2009 for Syria Comment
For a durable solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict, the Bible and the
Quran must be de-politicized. In political terms, de-politicization
means a single secular democratic state for Jews and Palestinians.
De-politicize the Bible and the Quran
The Arab Israeli conflict has become a religious war. Politicizing the
Bible's Genesis 15:18 politicized the Quran. Genesis 15:18 declares:
"The Lord made a covenant with Abraham, saying, unto thy seed have I
given this land from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the
Defeated in 1948, powerless and humiliated in every war since that
time, Arabs took refuge in Islam. They invoked hostile Quranic Verses
(such as chapter 2: verse 65, 2:120, 5:51, 5:60, 5:78), recounted
purported stories of the Prophet Muhammad's troubled relationship with
the Jewish tribes in Medina (Banu Qurayza, Banu Al-Nadir, and Banu
Qainuqa), and drew lessons from the symbolism of substituting Friday
for the Sabbath and of changing the direction during prayer from
Jerusalem to Mecca. Other Quranic verses urge jihad against Muslims
enemies (2:191, 2:193, 8:60, 9:5, 9:29) and promise (2:82) the
martyred the delights of paradise; wine (47:15), beautiful women
(44:54), silk, brocade, and gold (18:31), etc Combined, these verses
made a jihadist's career worthwhile. In the hands of jihadist leaders,
these verses transformed political frustrations into religious
crusades and the jihadists into walking bombs.
For thirteen centuries, however, these were non-issues. Hundreds of
thousands of Jews lived harmoniously among Muslims in Algeria, Egypt,
Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Syria, Tunisia, and Yemen.
Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli, Britain's first and thus far the
only person of Jewish parentage to reach the premiership (1868 and
1874-1880), described in his novel Coningsby the "halcyon centuries"
during the golden age of Muslim Spain in which the "children of
Ishmael rewarded the children of Israel with equal rights and
privileges with themselves." Disraeli described glowingly how Muslims
and Jews alike "built palaces, gardens and fountains; filled equally
the highest offices of the state, competed in an extensive and
enlightened commerce, and rivaled each other in renowned universities."
In 1492 the Muslim Ottoman Sultan Bayezid-II (1481-1512) encouraged
great numbers of Jews to settle in the Ottoman Empire following their
expulsion from Spain and Portugal.
Islam venerates Judaism. Arabs believe they share a common ancestry
with the Jewish people going back to the sons of Abraham, Ismail and
Ishaq. The Quran praises Abraham as the first Muslim, describing Islam
as the Religion of Abraham. The Quranic Chapter 14, with its 52 Verses
is named after Abraham and to Joseph the Quran names Chapter 12, with
its 111 Verses. Muslim men are allowed to marry Jewish women, without
the need to convert them to Islam (the children must be Muslims).
Today, Jewish-derived Arabic names like Daoud, Ibrahim, Ishaq, Mousa,
Sara, Sulaiman, Yacoub, Yousef, Zakariyya are common in every Arab
society. [Unfortunately, this is bunk. Jews are simply the common
white racist, nothing more, nothing less. - WVNS]
Politicizing the Bible politicized the Quran. A vexing religious
confrontation has been created pushing the moderates among Arab
Muslims into orthodoxy and the orthodox into Islamism and Jihadism.
The victory of Hamas in the January 25, 2006 parliamentary elections
in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, as well as the popularity of
Islamic Jihad, are reminders that this conflict has been delivering
the Muslim masses into the hands of the Islamists. History suggests
that this religious war could go on for a20thousand years. Military
action alone against the Jihadists will breed more Jihadists.
Experience suggests that, like its previous victories, Israel's latest
battle against Hamas in the Gaza strip that started on December 27,
2008 will strengthen jihadism.
Unless the Arab Israeli conflict is resolved politically and quickly,
Islamism and Jihadism will continue on their march. Avraham Berg,
speaker of Israel's Knesset in 1999-2003 and former chairman of the
Jewish Agency for Israel, articulated in sobering terms what Israel
should do in order to bring peaceful coexistence between the Jewish
and Palestinian peoples.
The Bible and the Quran Must be De-politicized
For a durable solution to the Arab Israeli conflict, a single
democratic and secular state for Jews and Palestinians needs to
evolve. A single state promises a more durable long-term solution than
the two-state solution, currently in vogue. The two-state solution is
inherently unstable for four reasons:
1. First, demographically, a purely Jewish state is impossible to
attain. Had Palestine been uninhabited at the time of Israel's
creation a refugee problem would not have arisen and a purely Jewish
state could have been possible. However, around the time of Israel's
creation Palestine was a home to around 1.4 million Palestinian Arabs.
The Zionist dream of creating an exclusive state for the Jewish people
in Palestine is unsustainable in the long-term. Presently, 1.4 million
Palestinians are estimated to be citizens of Israel, or a quarter of
Israel's Jewish population. Due to their high population growth rates
the Palestinian-Israelis will eventually become the majority. The
Palestinian-Israelis are in addition to the 4.2 million Palestinians
who live under Israel's occupation in the Gaza Strip and the West
Bank. Outside Palestine, 2.6 millions are registered in refugee camps
in Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria, plus 1.5 million scattered worldwide.
Unless the Palestinian-Israelis somehow vanish, Israel's Jewish
population will eventually become the minority and the
Palestinian-Israelis the majority; the population growth rate of the
Palestinian-Israelis is much greater than that of Israeli Jews. The
number of Palestinians in Israel in 1948 was about 150,000. If Israel
would allow the future Palestinian-Israeli majority full citizenship
rights, they'll control the government. If Israel subjects the
majority to an apartheid regime, the system will eventually unravel.
Apartheid regimes have short lives: Witness Rhodesia and South Africa.
2. Secondly, intractable issues stand in the way of a two-state
solution: Jerusalem, borders, security for Israel and for Palestine,
water rights, settlements, and the refugees' right-of-return. Since
the signing of the Oslo Agreement on September 13, 1993, none of the
thorny issues has been resolved. When Bill Clinton, Ehud Barak, and
Yasser Arafat attempted in July 2000 to tackle these issues at Camp
David, the negotiations collapsed, leading to the second intifada and
to Hamas' gains in the 2006 parliamentary elections, which culminated
by the take-over by Hamas of the Gaza Strip in June 2007, and Israel's
devastating war against Hamas eighteen months later.
3. Thirdly, even if a miracle patches up a two-state agreement the
extremists on both sides would undermine the agreement. The extremists
believe that they are divinely ordained to keep-up the struggle until
they control the entirety of the land.
4. Fourthly, the Arab masses w ill shun a Zionist state. Judging from
Israel's peace treaties with Egypt (March 26, 1979) and Jordan
(October 26, 1994), relations among the Egyptian and Jordanian masses
and Israelis failed to develop beyond small diplomatic missions.
Western democratic and secular ideals should inspire the development
of a single, democratic, and secular state for Palestinians and Jews.
There are three reasons in support of such a development:
1. First, the intractable obstacles that have bedeviled the two-state
solution would disappear.
2. Secondly, a single state will commingle Palestinians and Jews into
an inseparable mix. The Jewish settlers in the West Bank and East
Jerusalem, estimated at about half a million in more than 125
settlements, could become instruments of integration between
Palestinians and Jews, not segregation; a mixture of Jews among Arabs
as difficult to unscramble as removing the Palestinian Israelis from
Israel. A single state would lead the Arab governments to recognize
the new state. Muslims everywhere, Arabs especially, would no longer
have an excuse to boycott their Jewish "cousins." Economic, cultural,
educational, and social interaction would follow. The two sides would
quickly learn=2 0how much they could benefit from one other.
3. Thirdly, a single state solution would allow Arabs and Jews full
access to the entirety of Palestine.
The secular democratic one-state solution has been gathering pace. A
well attended conference by Arabs and Israelis at London University's
School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) was held on November
17-18, 2007 to address the various aspects of this concept.
Arab and Jew Can Live Together in Peace
Around the time of Israel's creation, more than 850,000 Jews migrated
from Arab countries, 600,000 going to Israel. The charge that the Jews
migrated because of Arab maltreatment is an unfair political
expediency. The migration happened in the course of Israel's creation.
During this period, 531 Palestinian villages were depopulated and
805,000 refugees lost their homes, according to Palestinian sources
(650,000 to 700,000 refugees, according to Jewish sources).
Had Zionism adhered to the stipulation in the 1917 Balfour
declaration: "Nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and
religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine," the
Muslim/Jewish conflict would not have developed.
Durable peace and the long-term prosperity of the Jewish people in the
Arab World require the genuine welcome of the Arab masses. Smart bombs
and nuclear weapons cannot force Arab peoples' acceptance of a Zionist
Israel. The 600,000 Jews, who had lived in Arab countries for
centuries and are today a major proportion of Israel's Jewish
population, could become a positive link with the Arab World. They
share with the Arab peoples many customs, habits, values, food, music,
dance, and, for the older generation, the Arabic language.
Whether it would be a good bargain to exchange a partial and declining
Jewish exclusivity in an unstable two-state solution for a durable
single state embracing Jews and Muslims is a question Israel's Jewish
people alone can answer.
In provoking the enmity of their age-old Muslim friends, Zionism has
disserved the long-term interests of the Jewish people.
* Elhadj is the author of Elie Elhadj, author of The Islamic Shield:
Arab Resistance to Democratic and Religious Reforms, and many articles
which can be read here:www.daringopinion.com
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