The One-State Solution (By Muammar Qaddafi (OpEd New York Times)

Kolonel Qaddafi vindt dat een staat voor Joden en Palestijnen, de beste oplossing biedt voor ‘het’ conflict in het Midden-Oosten. Hoewel hij niet de meest onverdachte bron is voor zulk een voorstel, wordt deze optie ook – en in toenemende mate – geopperd door anderen.

Interessant zijn de reacties op zijn artikel – zie de ‘Comments’ onderaan -, waaruit ik er een selecteerde omdat die overeen komt met mijn eigen mening.

The shocking level of the last wave of Israeli-Palestinian violence, which ended with this weekend’s cease-fire, reminds us why a final resolution to the so-called Middle East crisis is so important. It is vital not just to break this cycle of destruction and injustice, but also to deny the religious extremists in the region who feed on the conflict an excuse to advance their own causes.

But everywhere one looks, among the speeches and the desperate diplomacy, there is no real way forward. A just and lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians is possible, but it lies in the history of the people of this conflicted land, and not in the tired rhetoric of partition and two-state solutions.

Although it’s hard to realize after the horrors we’ve just witnessed, the state of war between the Jews and Palestinians has not always existed. In fact, many of the divisions between Jews and Palestinians are recent ones. The very name “Palestine” was commonly used to describe the whole area, even by the Jews who lived there, until 1948, when the name “Israel” came into use.

Jews and Muslims are cousins descended from Abraham. Throughout the centuries both faced cruel persecution and often found refuge with one another. Arabs sheltered Jews and protected them after maltreatment at the hands of the Romans and their expulsion from Spain in the Middle Ages…

If the present interdependence and the historical fact of Jewish-Palestinian coexistence guide their leaders, and if they can see beyond the horizon of the recent violence and thirst for revenge toward a long-term solution, then these two peoples will come to realize, I hope sooner rather than later, that living under one roof is the only option for a lasting peace.

Muammar Qaddafi is the leader of Libya.

The One-State Solution (By MUAMMAR QADDAFI, OpEd New York Times)

229. COMMENTS – EDITORS’ SELECTIONS January 22, 2009 11:55 am

While the source is somewhat surprising, and the history of the region not entirely accurate, the idea is perfectly sound. Of course, it is not new, either, having been proposed by many others, as an article in the Times a few days ago recounts. One reason for the one-state solution that Qaddafi does not mention is that it solves the nagging problem of unequal citizenship in Israel.

Israel proper, not including the territories, has two types of citizens, Jewish and non-Jewish. Non-Jewish citizens have the right to vote and hold office, but in innumerable other respects, they are second-class citizens of the Jewish state. Recently, Arab political parties were banned from the upcoming Israeli elections, although that ruling, unthinkable in a genuine democracy, has just been overturned by the Israeli courts. Arab politicians who have called for absolute equality of all citizens have been criticized by mainstream Israeli politicians for seeking to upset the Jewish character of the state. Ironically, American Jews, who rightfully demand full equality in their country despite their minority numbers (anything else would be unthinkable), for the most part do not question the state-mandated inequality in Israel. Not only are Israeli Arabs unequal to their Jewish counterparts, they have fewer rights than any American Jew who decides to move halfway around the world. An Israeli Arab whose ties to the land go back generations and even centuries, must take a back seat to a diaspora Jew who claims to be a descendant of someone who lived there thousands of years ago. It is a profound failure of morality for American Jews to not even contemplate whether the current situation, which is integral to the notion of a Jewish State, is fair or unfair.

The much lauded two-state solution would not solve this problem. Even if the Palestinians who live in the territories were given their own state and full control over it, the moral dilemma of unequal citizenship would remain within Israel.

The advantage of the two-state solution is, of course, that it is far more feasible in the short run, and an end to the 41-year occupation is an urgent necessity. The stumbling block to the one-state solution is that it would take Israelis far longer to agree to it than the two-state solution. Can Palestinians endure the occupation until conditions are right for the one-state solution? They have repeatedly signalled no, that they would prefer an immediate state of their own and relief from a foreign military dictatorship.

But how long is Israel viable as a Jewish State? There is both an ethical and a demographic time bomb. The world will increasingly view Israel as an anachronism, and question the morality of its system of two-class citizenship. Moreover, even if Israel relinquishes control over millions of Palestinians who have no say in the political process — those in the territories — its own Arab citizens are growing as a percentage of all citizens. Currently, the Israeli Arab population is about 20%, but with a considerably higher birthrate than Israeli Jews, that number will grow. In a few decades, the percentage might be in the 30’s, and in a few more decades approach 50%. What then? Israel obviously cannot maintain its Jewish character with anything remotely approaching a majority of non-Jews. Will Israel expel its own Arabs, disenfranchise them? Tzipi Livni caused a stir or perhaps a furor recently by suggesting the former, "transfer" of the Israeli Arabs to a new Palestinian state. Will the world tolerate a forced "transfer", i.e. an ethnic cleansing?

Perhaps the best solution is an immediate two-state agreement with an eye toward a future confederation and eventual single state in which all citizens are equal regardless of religion, national origin or ethnicity. That is an ideal that should strike all people of good will as just and reasonable. It certainly is what we Americans demand for ourselves.

— DaveS, New York

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