Dr. Khaled M. Batarfi, Arab News
Many have responded favorably to my call for one democratic, secular nation instead of the two-state Israeli and Palestinian solution we have been fighting over for over half a century.
Others accused me of being a Jew hater, unrealistic, an idealist or a dreamer. I can’t deny the “dreamy” part, but didn’t some of the best solutions to world troubles started one day as rosy, unrealistic, unthinkable dreams?
Sadat was certainly a visionary dreamer, and his dream turned to reality. He achieved by peaceful means what Nasser lost in bloody wars.
I’ll skip that part of the feedback, then, and present to you the best response I received so far. It reads:
“For myself, I have always had difficulty reconciling two apparently irreconcilable positions: First, that Jews do have a right to an independent state as their only guarantee of sanctuary and respect in a world dominated by independent states; but, second, that Palestinians too have a right to freedom, security and independence. I had always thought both of these positions defensible and disinterested, but — unfortunately — hopelessly impractical because they were clearly irreconcilable.
Your ingenious solution had never occurred to me before. But, clearly, it’s the only way both sides can have their cake and eat it too.
I’m not sure that adopting the US Constitution as is is a wise move for any state: It’s not that effective at home, so why presume it’d work abroad?
But certainly the proposed solution — a single, secular state as the homeland of both Israelis and Palestinians — is not only logical, it is the only solution that can approximate real justice and peace for both sides.
“The practical barriers to its implementation are all, of course, “religious”.
In this regard, the response of the anonymous rabbi in your piece is instructive, and doubtless would have his counterpart among both Islamic and Christian communities in the Middle East and beyond.
The kind of unthinking bigotry that masquerades as “religious” thinking in these situations will, probably, be always with us.
But a secular state can act as a referee in such situations, and a truly committed ecumenical leadership in each of the communities of faith could go a long way toward defusing the more barbaric forms of religious bigotry and the injustice they spawn.
I my response, I asked my new friend and fellow peacenik to help me spread the word. We need to start a popular call for this one-state solution.
Who knows, maybe we, and the inhabitants of both countries, get lucky and one day achieve our dream.