Document:The White Book And The Isratine Proposal
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The White Book And The Isratine Proposal
- 1 White Book
- 2 Proposed Solutions Based on the establishment of a Single State
- 3 Historic mistake
- 4 Historic solution
- 5 Two-State Solution, Risks and Misconceptions
- 6 The Unavoidable Failure of Partition
- 7 Land of their Forefathers/The Promised Land
- 8 The Isratine Proposal
- 9 References
This White Book aims at the achievement of a just and equitable solution to the chronic so-called Middle East Question, and to rid the region of the disastrous effects of violence, war and destruction. In doing so, it presents the problem in a serious, objective and neutral manner. The Book compiles views and concepts previously put forward by Arabs and Jews alike, in addition to international plans and projects for its solution. They all support and vindicate the solution propounded in this work. No other concept will be able to resolve the problem.
This is the name recorded in the history and scriptures of the country. It derives from the name of its original inhabitants, the Philistines. The Old Testament books of Genesis, Deuteronomy and Joshua acknowledge that name for the land. The Old Testament, inter alia, records the names, of the Anaqites, the Rephaites, the Canaanites, the Jebusites, the Hittites and the Phoenicians. The Book of Exodus explicitly states, “When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them by way of the land of the Philistines”.
The name “Palestine” persisted throughout the British Mandate. It is mentioned in the various projects and settlement plans proposed during that period. This fact is acknowledged even by the zealots of the Zionist Movement; for example, Samuel Katz, founder of the Herut Zionist movement and one of the leaders of the Etzel National Military Organisation, who wrote, “All Zionist institutions in the world bore the name of Palestine”. His examples include: the Zionist ‘Anglo-Palestine’ Bank, the Jewish Foundation Fund, which was known as the Palestine Foundation Fund, and the Palestine Workers Fund, which was Jewish. He noted that, in the Diaspora, the songs about Palestine were Zionist anthems. He also noted that, as emigrants in foreign lands, they would celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles as the Feast of the Palestinian Tabernacles. He states the Palestine Post, which went under the name al-Barid al-Filistini, was a Zionist newspaper, the mouthpiece of the Zionist Federation. “The name of Palestine,” he wrote, “was only replaced after the establishment of what was called the State of Israel.”
He admits that the Hebrew language only came into use in Tiberius in the tenth century. Even President Roosevelt of the US, in a reply to Prince Abdallah of Jordan in March 1944, wrote “With regard to Palestine, I am pleased to communicate to you the assurances that the United States of America has no plan to take any decision to change the situation in Palestine without full consultation of Arabs and Jews."
Irrespective of the name, the history of Palestine fits the general pattern of other countries in the region. Like those countries, it is a country that was inhabited by different peoples. Dominance and political power changed hands repeatedly between many tribes, nations and ethnic groups, some of whom were immigrants and some of whom were invaders. Like other countries in the region, it has seen many wars and stood witness to waves of human immigration from all directions.
Therefore, from an historical perspective, no one has the right to claim ownership of it as their land. That would amount to no more than an unsubstantiated claim. If no one party can claim the right to one part of Palestine, neither can they lay just claim to any other part.
A State for the Jews
The original idea of Theodore Hertzl was to establish Jewish state as a safe haven for the Jews. The immediate motive behind that idea lay in the persecution to which the Jews were subject, specifically in Europe, before Hitler’s time. Cyprus, Argentina, Uganda, Al Jabal Al Akhdar (the Green Mountain district in Libya), Palestine and Sinai were suggested as locations for the establishment of the Jewish state proposed as a way to rid Europe of its Jews. Therefore, as this narrative confirms, Palestine was not necessarily or inevitably the national homeland of the Jews.
The Persecution of the Jews
The Jews are an unfortunate people. They have suffered greatly at the hands of governments, leaders and other peoples since ancient times. Why? Because this is the will of God, just as the Koran makes clear in the accounts of Egypt’s Pharaoh, and as the treatment meted out to them at the hands of the rulers of Babylon, the Roman emperors, from Titus to Hadrian, and the kings of England, such as Edward I, illustrates. The Jews have been banished, held captive, massacred, disadvantaged and persecuted in every possible fashion at the hands of the Egyptians, the Romans, the English, the Russians, the Babylonians, the Canaanites, and, more recently, at the hands of Hitler.
The Arabs and the Jews
There is no enmity between Arabs and Jews. In fact, the Jews are Adnanite cousins to the Arabs on the father’s side, who was a descendant of Abraham, peace by upon him. When the Jews were persecuted, their Arab brothers invited them to live alongside them in the town of al-Medina. They even gave them the land of Wadi al-Qura, thus named in reference to the Jewish villages Al Qura. Following the emergence of Islam under the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings upon him, the Jews found the notion of a prophet from outside their number unpalatable so, they showed hostility towards him. Some attacks against them took place, just as there were attacks against those from the Quraish, who refused to accept Islam and against Arabs who initially accepted Islam but subsequently rejected it. The Jews, along with the Arabs, were expelled from Andalusia at the end of the 15th century. They all found refuge in the Arab countries. That is why there is a Jewish quarter in every Arab country. There, they lived in peace and friendship with their Arab brothers.
Proposed Solutions Based on the establishment of a Single State
A. Walkhope Plan
It was proposed by the British High Commissioner in Palestine at the beginning of the 1930s. It provided for the establishment of a Palestinian Legislative Council comprising 11 Muslim, 4 Christian and 7 Jewish members, in proportion to the demographic composition of Palestine at that time.
B. The Newcomb Plan
- Establishment of an independent sovereign Palestinian state.
- Broad sectarian freedom.
- Broad municipal freedom.
C. The British White Paper of 1939
- Independent federal Palestinian state.
D. Lord Morrison’s Plan
- Central government.
- Local government and Legislative Council for each area.
All these proposals were rejected for non-substantive reasons; for example, dissatisfaction with the size of the areas or towns awarded to one side, differences over the duration of the British Mandate, or matters relating to the number of immigrants.
The Zionist Proposals
1) The first proposal was made by the so-called ‘Peace Federation’, led by Rabbi Benjamin, who called for a bi-national state. The Jews were warned that the failure to accept a single bi-national state would not bring about peace for them. As they predicted, this is exactly what has happened.
2) The confederate or federal solution proposed by Meir Emmit, a prominent leader in the Zionist Movement and the Haganah organisation, who held a number of important and prominent military positions. He was also, among other things, a Knesset member and a cabinet minister.
He believed that a strategic concession on the occupied land, by which he naturally meant territory such as Sinai, the Golan, the West Bank and Gaza, would be tantamount to relinquishing tangible gains for which, according to him, there could be no compensation. Although Egypt had offered something in return, they were subject to sudden change. He discussed the feasibility of establishing a federal state giving the examples of the European Union; the United States of America, which, according to him, experienced 13 years of turmoil up to 1789; and Nigeria, a multi-denominational and multi-national state in his view. He wrote that the economic, military, geographical and historical considerations that underpin such a solution exist in Palestine.
He further noted that the establishment of an independent Palestinian state constituted a grave danger. In order to avert those dangers, a single federal state must be established. “The problem of Jerusalem,” he wrote, “can be simply resolved by making it the federal capital”.
3) Proposal of the German Zionists: The 12th Conference of the German Zionists (the Structuralist School), convened on 11 September 1921, adopted the concept of establishing a single state for both parties, and thereby “establishing a place in alliance with the Palestinian Arab people for our joint security in a developing state. The structure of the state shall guarantee the national development of each individual of our two peoples without interference or prejudice”.
1) The First Proposal of King Abdallah:
i) One Kingdom.
ii) Administration selected by the Jews in areas inhabited by them.
iii) One Parliament, in which Jews were to be represented in proportion to their demographic share.
iv) Mixed Cabinet.
2) The Second Proposal of King Abdallah:
3) The Proposal of Nuri Al-Said 1942:
i) One state.
ii) Jewish autonomy within this state.
The failure to accept the notion of a single state is thus the historical mistake which lies behind today’s tragedy. A declaration establishing one state by one party for its own benefit is also a mistake. The concept of partition has proven its failure and will continue to do so.
Before 1948 the Jews were regarded in just the same manner as the Palestinians are regarded today. There were a minority in Palestine, fed illusions of self-rule at one moment, and autonomous Jewish areas at another. Palestinians were in the majority. That is why they rejected the well-known partition resolution of 1947. Following 1948 this situation was reversed. The Palestinians became the minority as a result of the 1948 and 1967 wars. The Jews became the majority within the area called Israel. Promises of self-rule, Arab areas and partition were made to the Arabs, just as they had previously been made to the Jews.
The definitive, historic solution is the one proposed in this, the White Book.
The purpose of this overview of the various proposals was to recall that the notion of a single state in Palestine has always been on the negotiating table. The rejection of that solution is the cause of the tragedy experienced by the region today. The alternative to the one state solution is what we see before us today.
Two-State Solution, Risks and Misconceptions
An Israeli scholar, a Brigadier who served as a military commander in the West Bank from 1974 to 1976, once said that it was not possible to accept the partition of Palestine or agree to foreign rule over Israel’s territory. He justified his refusal with the following facts, which, because of their critical nature, cannot be ignored:
The West Bank is 50 km wide. It a mountainous area, up to 1000 metres high. It overlooks Israel’s vital heartland — a coastal plain that is no more than 14-20 km in width. 67% of Israel’s population lives in this area. It is also home to 80% of Israel’s industries. The presence of another party in the West Bank poses a direct threat to the Israeli heartland. It cannot therefore be accepted.
Brigadier Mieer Bael is a dove, a member of the Zionist left and of the Peace Council. However, he states categorically: “We have a historical right to the West Bank. Many believe it to be ‘the heart of the Jewish nation’. Our right to retain it is sacredly ordained in the religious and historical duties and traditions, in which the people of Israel believe”.
The same argument for not conceding the West Bank on grounds of vital reasons of security is put forward by Arie Shalev, a scholar and Brigadier, “Were we to lose the West Bank,” he wrote, “Israel’s depth between Tulkarem and Netanya would be just 15 km and between Qalqiliyah and the Hertzelia coast just 14 km. Israel would thus be exposed due to a lack of strategic depth in the face of any threat. In the event of war breaking out in the West Bank, Israel would be divided into two or three parts if an Arab army manages to reach the coast”. He goes on to say: “Even without a war, Israel would remain under constant threat from the West Bank .The Israeli airspace would also be at the mercy of the West Bank”.
He said further: “To ensure Israel’s security, the West Bank must be divided into three defensive positions, namely the Jordan Valley, the foothills of the mountains of Samaria and the Judean desert, and the high peaks that link Jenin, Tobas, Nablus, the Lafuna heights, Ramallah, Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Tikwa’. This is in addition to fixed lines of defence in the south of the Gaza Strip. Any separation area between the Palestinians and the Israelis would not be source of security for Israel. In fact, it would constitute a constant security irritant”. However, he noted, “Israel’s policies have poisoned the Zionist idea of transforming the country into a bi-national state”.
Professor Shalom Evener said, “The Israeli-Palestinian dispute differs from all the other disputes of the 19th and 20th centuries. Those disputes have been essentially border disputes, despite the fact that some of them lasted for over 100 years. The essence of the Israeli-Palestinian dispute differs from these, however. It is a struggle between two movements, each of which believes that the same territory belongs to it or constitutes part of its national homeland. Thus, the Palestinians believe that what is now called Israel forms part of their nation, even if they got the West Bank and Gaza. In the same way, the Jews believe that the West Bank is Judea and Samaria. They see it as a part of their homeland, even if a Palestinian state were established there.” He wrote of the West Bank, “For the Jews, it is their historical homeland, home of a glorious heritage and the land of salvation. For the Arabs, Professor Evneri continues, it is their land. They have ruled it as Arabs and Muslims since the 7th century. The majority of its inhabitants are Arab Muslims. It forms part of the greater Arab homeland, stretching from the Gulf to the Atlantic Ocean. Thus, it is no different from Yemen or Iraq. He also notes that the Arabs call it Palestine or southern Syria. The Zionist Movement, by contrast, calls it the land of Israel. In such a situation, he writes, “One of the two movements must destroy the other, or a compromise must be reached. The compromise is the establishment of one state for all allowing each party to feel that they live in all the disputed land and that they are not deprived of any one part of it. Recognition of Palestinian self-determination means nothing more than the definition of the area of activity permitted them by Israel. He opposes this solution because, in his opinion, it is not a solution at all.
Professor Eveneri also writes, “I do not support the establishment of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, because it is not possible to separate one million Palestinians living east of the Jordan from their Palestinian identity. A Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip cannot resolve the problem of refugees, even those in Lebanon and Syria. Any situation which keeps the majority of Palestinians in refugee camps and does not offer an honourable solution within the historical borders of Israel/Palestine is no solution at all. The establishment of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and was prepared to live in peace with Israel, even under a moderate leadership other than that of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO), would not be a real solution, either. Such solution would not address the problem of refugees and repatriation, even if just to accommodate refugees from Lebanon in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The area is simply too small to absorb such numbers.
Yahu Shifat Herkabi, a Zionist strategist a scholar, a university lecturer who specialises in the Arab-Israeli dispute, and author of several books, writes, “Acceptance by the Palestinian Liberation Organisation of a Palestinian state in the West Bank is nothing but a tactical step to settle its account with Israel. It will demand more. It will continue its struggle in order to achieve its further objectives. Acceptance of a state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip merely postpones the continuation of the struggle to a later stage.
“Demilitarised Zones are an experience that has failed abysmally. Control and sovereignty over them is dubious and diluted. As such, they are a cause of conflict not stability”.
“The establishment of an independent Palestinian state would also put an end to the Israeli dream of Greater Israel. It would also force the Palestinians to concede the rest of Palestine. This statelet would be vulnerable to increasing interference in its domestic affairs by both Jordan and Israel. This would inevitably lead to violent conflict.
Mati Steinberg, lecturer at the Hebrew University, writes: “Agreement to the transitional objective of the establishment of a Palestinian state in the West Bank/Gaza Strip should not in any circumstance be interpreted as a concession that replaces of final objective. That kind of settlement is nothing more than a brief stage in the framework of the conventional wisdom which remains unchanged. That Zionist lecturer fears that an agreement to the exercise of self-determination would also have to apply to the so-called Israeli Arabs and to the Palestinians in Jordan.
The return of Palestinian refugees and displaced persons wherever they are located if that is their so wish. It is not admissible that Jews, who were not originally inhabitants of Palestine, and whose ancestors were not originally inhabitants of the country, can be brought in from abroad, while Palestinians, who fled Palestine as refugees and displaced persons only a short time ago, following the 1948 war, are not accorded the same right. The Jews maintain that they did not expel the Palestinians. They say that the Palestinians believed the propaganda claims and fled their homes. It is sufficient to note that one of the most famous zealots, Samuel Katz, a member of the first Knesset, and leader of the Herut movement and the Etzel National Military Organisation, cited the words of Glubb Pasha: “The Arab citizens were seized with terror and fled their villages without being exposed to any threat during the war”.
Katz suggests that this is how the lie arose that the Jews forcibly expelled the Arabs from their villages. He writes, “Correspondents who covered the 1948 war, most of whom were hostile to the Jews, spoke of the Arabs fleeing. But they did not say that their flight was forced. They did not even insinuate that”. That writer thus admits that an unusual phenomenon took place namely; that the inhabitants fled their homes. He also admits that it took place on a large scale. He further acknowledges that it was a mass flight of farmers, who are traditionally strongly attached to their land. He also states that “the men fled without defending their homes. This large-scale, collective mass flight of these Palestinians requires a logical explanation”. He also cites the words of the Times correspondent in Amman, who wrote that Syria, Lebanon, East Jordan and Iraq were ‘filled’ by those fleeing Israel and expressed surprise at how they fled, and why they did not remain or resist. Katz also quotes Emil al-Ghuri, Secretary to the Supreme Arab Authority, who addressed the political committee of the United Nations on 17 November 1960 in the following words: “It was the Zionist acts of terror, accompanied by mass killings that caused the mass exodus of the Arabs from Palestine. The propagation of these lies could have been nipped in the bud”.
The purpose of those extensive quotes is to emphasise two things. The first is to acknowledge that a mass exodus did take place. The second is to make clear that the reasons for the exodus lay in the propagation of frightening and false rumours about massacres that never in fact took place, in particular the infamous events reported to have occurred in the village of Deir Yassin.
These quotes, testimonies and the evidence they contain, are but a few of a vast body of knowledge about the subject. They are included in is this White Book, with the purpose of enabling us to benefit from them in our quest for a definitive solution, The testimonies of Zionist leaders, academics and neutral observers serve to establish the following:
First, that Palestinians inhabited this land and that they owned farms and homes there until 1948 and 1967.
Secondly, that they left this land in 1948, leaving their farms and homes, for fear of massacres, irrespective of whether these massacres actually happened or not.
Thirdly, that prominent leaders and academics in the Zionist Movement, including individuals who participated in the 1948 conflict, testify that the Jews did not expel the Palestinians from Palestine, not from their farms, nor from their homes. In fact, the Palestinians believed the terrible rumours circulating and, terrified, left Palestine.
Fourthly, that those who left formed a large group, that the exodus was on a significant scale.
This is positive — it will assist us in solving the problem.
The Jews, therefore, do not hate the Palestinians. They do not want to expel the Palestinians from their land, Palestine. They did not decide to massacre them, as the rumours suggest. Even the massacre at Deir Yassin did not take place. In fact, it was the non-Palestinian Arabs who attacked Palestine and declared war on the Jews.
To find a solution to the problem, let us permit ourselves to believe all of the above and go back to square one, the point of origin, namely the return of Palestinians who left Palestine between 1948 and 1967. The Jews stress that they did not expel the Palestinians. They fled for the reasons outlined above. This, logically, means that not even the Jews, who have occupied their land, can object to Palestinians remaining there. This is the key to solving the problem, namely the return of Palestinian refugees to Palestine. This measure would have the effect of putting everything back in its proper place. It would be in implementation of the United Nations Resolution 194, issued on 11 December 1948. That resolution calls in paragraph 11 for the return of refugees. There can be no legitimate basis or legal right to any objection to that call.
In order to solve the problem, let us keep the lessons of history in mind. As we have seen, the Old Testament and the history of the area record, that Palestine saw successive transfer of numerous tribes and peoples. It was the object of a struggle for the whole of the land, not any one part. The Palestinians were the original inhabitants — the name Palestine derives from the Philistines — and the Jews and the Zionist Movement called the land Palestine up to 1948. And, as we identified earlier in this work, every Zionist Movement, bank or Jewish institution bore the name ‘Palestine’, a practice which, by their own testimony, continued until 1948.
As we have stated before, and as the history of the region makes clear, no one, therefore, has the right to claim for themselves the whole of Palestine or indeed the right to grant part of Palestine to someone else.
1) First and foremost, these will not two neighbouring states living side by side. They are intertwined, interlocking and cut across one another in terms of both demography and geography.
3) All the coastal cities would be at the mercy of field and medium range artillery from any point in the West Bank.
4) See the remarks made in the section entitled 'Two States: Risks and Misconceptions'.
5) Any buffer zone would become a source of security irritation, not a source of security. It will be the object of a battle for control or advantage. In international history, buffer zones have traditionally been the cause of many wars and conflicts.
6) The Palestinians would not accept a statelet. They want a state, one that is armed to defend itself. It would have the right to arm itself to the same level as neighbouring states. This is a natural and legitimate right, to which no one can object.
10) The so-called state of Israel is not large enough to admit new immigrants.
11) Assimilation exists already and could become a model for the two parties to assimilate in a single state. At present, such assimilation as there is constitutes the foundations on which a single state could be built.
There are one million Palestinians in the so-called state of Israel. They possess Israeli nationality and take part in political life with the Jews. They form their own political parties. Their number will increase from one million to several millions with the passage of time. The same applies to the so-called Israeli settlements in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. If the Jews living therein currently total some hundreds of thousands, they will grow to become a million and more with the passage of time. The creation of the so-called state of Israel in 1948 is not just a state for the Jews. There are also Christians and Orthodox Jews, Muslims and Druze Muslims, Arabs and Israelis, the Falasha and others.
13) The well-known Zionist Mieer Bael, whose views were cited earlier, reiterates the point: “Each year the two groups (i.e. the Palestinians and the Jews) integrate more and more. On one side, this integration is achieved by means of Jewish settlement in the West Bank and Gaza Strip; on the other, according to Bael, integration is driven further by the massive expansion in Arab labour in all areas of Israel.
In every building that is put up, in every field that is sown, in every factory requiring workers, in every hotel, restaurant and municipal cleaning service, and in every public utility tens of thousand of Palestinians from all areas of the country work on a daily basis. Young Palestinian men from Nablus, Gaza, Tiba, Galilee and Hebron work there.
Given this state of affairs, it would simply be unfeasible and impractical to partition Palestine into two states. Under partition there would not be a state called Israel, nor would there be a state called Palestine. Those who call for the partition of Palestine into two states are thus either ignorant of the nature of the region and of its demography, or they want to rid themselves of the problem and put it in the hands of the Jews and Palestinians. It may appear that we had thus solved the problem but in this instance we would be insincere: we would have done little more than laying the foundations for a new conflict.
Land of their Forefathers/The Promised Land
The Palestinians view the coastal towns of Acre, Haifa or Jaffa and others as their towns, as the land of their forefathers, passed from generation to generation. It was only a short time ago that they actually lived there, and the evidence for this is that they are presently living in refugee camps. Where did the inhabitants of the camps of the West Bank and Gaza Strip come from? They are not from the West Bank or Gaza Strip, but fled there following the 1948 war.
These people will never accept anything less than the land of the forefathers, which they left in 1948. And what about the refugees who live in the camps of Lebanon and Syria? Where is their land, the land of their forefathers? What about the Palestinians of the Diaspora? In the case of the Jews, they believe that the West Bank is their sacred territory, if not the heart of the Jewish nation. They do not call it the West Bank, but Judea and Samaria. How can we possibly deprive a people of the land of their forefathers? How can we possibly deprive a people of a land they consider sacred?
Alov Harabin, a Zionist scholar, writes that the problem is that of a conflict between two peoples over their ownership of one piece of land. Chaim Weizmann said in his famous expression of the 1930s: “The problem is that both sides are in the right.”
How can we substitute one for the other? It simply is not possible. Nor would it be permissible to attempt to do so. The Jews, especially the religious among them, would not accept any substitute for land that is, in their beliefs, sacred, and the Palestinians, notably the hard-liners among them, will not accept any substitute for the land of their forefathers.
If two statelets are established, each party will continue the struggle against the other. The Palestinians will do so in order to live in the land of their forefathers, while the Jews will fight to live in the Promised Land.
The solution, then, lies in making use of the present set of circumstances and the historical reality of the situation alike. This should lead to the establishment of the state of “Isratine”, home to both Palestinians and Israelis. This would allow both to move and live wherever they will. He, who believes that the West Bank is his land, can live there or travel there as he wishes. He could even call it Judea and Samaria, should he so want. Likewise, if a Palestinian should want to live or travel within the coastal cities of Acre, Haifa, Jaffa, Tel Aviv, Jadwal and the others, he could do so. This would put everything back the way it was. Thus, an end shall be put to the injustice and deprivation. There is no history of enmity between Jews and Arabs. The only hostility is the one that occurred between the Jews and Romans in earlier times and between Jews and Europeans more recently.
After a long history of discrimination and persecution at the hands of the Romans, the Kings of Europe, and following their expulsion from Andalusia, it was the Arabs who played host to the Jews, gave them succour and protected them.
Alov Herabin, the Zionist scholar cited above, writes: "The Palestinians say, ‘Why should it fall to us alone to pay the price for the persecution of the Jews in Europe?’ This goes to prove that the Palestinians never persecuted the Jews. The Jews say, ‘We did not expel the Palestinians’ and ‘It was the non-Palestinian Arabs who declared war against us in 1948’."
This constitutes positive evidence, which can certainly be employed in the interests of the solution by establishment of a state that integrates the two parties.
Alov adds, “The encounter of Israelis and Palestinians is the encounter of two peoples who have lived cruel and painful tragedies whilst others pretended not to notice”. He adds further, after laying the blame with the Palestinians for rejecting the Jews after they were despised in Europe, “Undoubtedly the Palestinians have their reasons for this attitude. When have we ever heard of a people opening their doors to welcome another people, and giving up, of its own volition, some of its land to enable another people to establish their own entity?” Alov is referring to the response of the Palestinian people in the face of Jewish immigration to Palestine, Jews who did not know Palestine, when other territories, such as Uganda and Argentina, were potential candidates.
1) The land area is too narrow to accommodate two states living side by side.
2) Two states would come into conflict, because the land of each, they believe, forms part of the land of the other, and each statelet would feel threatened by the other party.
4) Each party has settlements on the land of the other. At least one million Palestinians live in the so-called State of Israel and about half a million Israelis, at least, currently live in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Other sects include the Druze, Catholics, Christians and Muslims. The area provides a model for integration and co-existence.
6) Mutual reliance, if not integration, in respect of goods and services.
1) Return of Palestinian refugees and displaced persons to their homes.
2) A single state. Lebanon serves as a good example.
3) Free elections under UN supervision on the first and second occasions.
There may some objections to the name. Such superficial objections would be unhelpful, and even harmful. Proponents of such objections make them on the basis of irrational and emotional considerations. We have to make a judgment call between Jewish security, with [[Jews] living in peace with Palestinians in a single integrated state; or retention of the name, thereby sacrificing Jewish security and peace in the Middle East and the whole world.
We should not listen to the voices of the old guard or to the World War II mentality. Instead we should listen to the voice of the young, the generation of globalisation, the generation of the future.
It is the old mentality that stands behind the present tragedy.
An exclusively Jewish state would undoubtedly be exposed to the Arab and Islamic threat. An integrated state comprising Muslims and Jews, Arabs and Israelis would never live under the threat of an Arab or Muslim attack.
The present attacks by the guerrillas “Fedayeen” are not mounted by the Arabs of 1948, as they are called, but by Palestinians who are not counted among the so-called Israeli Arabs. This is a clear example of the success of a single integrated state — Isratine.
The Isratine Proposal
Its main points are:
- Creation of a bi-national Jewish–Palestinian state called the “Federal Republic of the Holy Land“;
- Partition of the state into 5 administrative regions, with Jerusalem as a city-state;
- Return of all Palestinian refugees;
- Supervision by the United Nations of free and fair elections on the first and second occasions;
- Removal of weapons of mass destruction from the state; and
- Recognition of the state by the Arab League.
Saif al-Islam Gaddafi’s proposal was eventually incorporated in Libyan leader Muammar al-Gaddafi’s White Book of 8 May 2003, which serves as his official guide to address the Arab-Israeli conflict and how to solve it. Despite the suggestion of “Federal Republic of the Holy Land” as the name of this hypothetical new state, the name Isratine has been used as a “working title” for the notion of a single state in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza Strip, with Palestinians and Jewish inhabitants of all three having citizenship and equal rights in the combined entity.
Muammar al-Gaddafi again championed the “Isratine Proposal” in an op-ed article for the New York Times as the “only option” for a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The timing of the article approximately coincided with the inauguration of Barack Obama as President of the United States and with the cease-fire that apparently marked the end of the 2008-09 Israel-Gaza conflict. Gaddafi has argued that this solution would avoid the partitioning of West Bank into Arab and Jewish zones, with buffer zones between them.
Review of the Isratine Proposal
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 realise 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.
The history of Israel/Palestine is not remarkable by regional standards — a country inhabited by different peoples, with rule passing among many tribes, nations and ethnic groups; a country that has withstood many wars and waves of peoples from all directions. This is why it gets so complicated when members of either party claims the right to assert that it is their land.
The basis for the modern State of Israel is the persecution of the Jewish people, which is undeniable. The Jews have been held captive, massacred, disadvantaged in every possible fashion by the Egyptians, the Romans, the English, the Russians, the Babylonians, the Canaanites and, most recently, the Germans under Hitler. The Jewish people want and deserve their homeland.
But the Palestinians too have a history of persecution, and they view the coastal towns of Haifa, Acre, Jaffa and others as the land of their forefathers, passed from generation to generation, until only a short time ago.
Thus the Palestinians believe that what is now called Israel forms part of their nation, even were they to secure the West Bank and Gaza. And the Jews believe that the West Bank is Samaria and Judea, part of their homeland, even if a Palestinian state were established there. Now, as Gaza still smoulders, calls for a two-state solution or partition persist. But neither will work.
A two-state solution will create an unacceptable security threat to Israel. An armed Arab state, presumably in the West Bank, would give Israel less than 10 miles of strategic depth at its narrowest point. Further, a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip would do little to resolve the problem of refugees. Any situation that keeps the majority of Palestinians in refugee camps and does not offer a solution within the historical borders of Israel/Palestine is not a solution at all.
For the same reasons, the older idea of partition of the West Bank into Jewish and Arab areas, with buffer zones between them, won’t work. The Palestinian-held areas could not accommodate all of the refugees, and buffer zones symbolise exclusion and breed tension. Israelis and Palestinians have also become increasingly intertwined, economically and politically.
In absolute terms, the two movements must remain in perpetual war or a compromise must be reached. The compromise is one state for all, an “Isratine” that would allow the people in each party to feel that they live in all of the disputed land and they are not deprived of any one part of it.
A key prerequisite for peace is the right of return for Palestinian refugees to the homes their families left behind in 1948. It is an injustice that Jews who were not originally inhabitants of Palestine, nor were their ancestors, can move in from abroad while Palestinians who were displaced only a relatively short time ago should not be so permitted.
It is a fact that Palestinians inhabited the land and owned farms and homes there until recently, fleeing in fear of violence at the hands of Jews after 1948 — violence that did not occur, but rumours of which led to a mass exodus. It is important to note that the Jews did not forcibly expel Palestinians. They were never “un-welcomed.” Yet only the full territories of Isratine can accommodate all the refugees and bring about the justice that is key to peace.
Assimilation is already a fact of life in Israel. There are more than one million Muslim Arabs in Israel; they possess Israeli nationality and take part in political life with the Jews, forming political parties. On the other side, there are Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Israeli factories depend on Palestinian labour, and goods and services are exchanged. This successful assimilation can be a model for Isratine.
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 realise, I hope sooner rather than later, that living under one roof is the only option for a lasting peace.