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 Zionist dream of creating an exclusive state for the Jewish people in Palestine is unsustainable in the long-term. Israel’s demographics present the central challenge to the Zionist dream.

There are more than 1.3 million Palestinian-Israeli citizens of Israel, or 25 percent of Israel’s 5.2 million Jews. 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 twice that of Israeli Jews.

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 unravel. Apartheid regimes have short lives: Witness Rhodesia and South Africa. The two-state solution, currently in vogue, is inherently unstable. It aims at separating Arab from Jew. It is argued here that a single democratic and secular state for Jews and Palestinians promises a more durable long-term solution than the two-state solution.

For centuries, 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 so far only Jewish Prime Minister (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.”

Later, 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 Qur’an praises Abraham as the first Muslim, describing Islam as the Religion of Abraham. The Qur’anic Chapter 14, with its 52 Verses is named after Abraham and to Joseph the Qur’an 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.

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).

Feeling powerless, the Arab masses took refuge in Islam, invoking hostile Quranic Verses, recounting purported stories of the Prophet Muhammad’s troubled relationship with the Jewish tribes in Medina, drawing lessons from the symbolism of substituting Friday for the Sabbath and the direction during prayer from Jerusalem to Mecca. For thirteen centuries, however, these were non-issues.

Had Zionism sought a home in the Holy land, rather than a state, and 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.

Politicizing the Bible’s Genesis 15:18: “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 river Euphrates” created a vexing religious confrontation, pushing frustrated moderate Arab Muslims into orthodoxy and the orthodox into Islamism and Jihadism.

Politicizing the Bible politicized the Qur’an. This war could go on for a thousand years. Military and police actions alone against the Jihadists will breed more Jihadists. Unless the Arab Israeli conflict is resolved justly and quickly, Islamism and Jihadism will multiply.

The Bible and the Qur’an must be de-politicized.

The two-state solution is capricious for four reasons:

First, demographically, a purely Jewish state is impossible to attain.

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 Infifada.

Thirdly, even if a miracle patches up a two-state agreement, the extremists on both sides would undermine the agreement.

Fourthly, the Arab masses will 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 a single, democratic, and secular state for Palestinians and Jews for three reasons:

First, the intractable obstacles that have bedeviled the two-state solution would disappear.

Secondly, a single state will commingle Palestinians and Jews into an inseparable mix, leading 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 how much they could benefit from one other.

Thirdly, a single state solution would allow Arabs and Jews full access to the entirety of Palestine.

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 Jewish people. In Christian Europe, by contrast, centuries of maltreatment of Jews culminated in the horrors of the Holocaust.

(source: alJazeera Magazine)


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