Solving the Mid East Crisis
Let Us Live Together
by Kamal Nawash & Rabbi Yehuda Schwartz
President Obama has publicly announced that Israel should withdraw from Palestinian territories that it concurred in 1967. Not surprisingly, the leaders of Israel and the American Jewish community have quickly announced their opposition. They argue that withdrawing from 1967 Palestinian lands will leave Israel vulnerable while others argue that the 1967 territories, which include the West Bank, Gaza and Jerusalem, are integral parts of Israel and refer to the territories as Judea, Samaria and Azza.
On record, the leaders of the Palestinian Authority are the ones who call for the creation of Palestine on the 1967 territories as part of a two state solution. However, it is questionable whether most Palestinians believe in the two state solution. Israel was created by the U.N. and by war in 1948 and expanded again by wars in 1956 and 1967. The majority of Palestinians originated from Israel proper so even if the Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza accept separation, it is doubtful whether the rest of the Palestinians will permanently accept the two state solution since it will deprive them of their ancestral homes.
Most Israelis and Palestinians believe that Israel/Palestine is indivisible. For many Palestinians, Palestine is not the West Bank and Gaza. It includes all of Israel. For many Israelis, Israel includes all of Palestine. And both claim Jerusalem. Thus, the two state solution requires compromises that neither side can ever make.
Consequently, an increasing number of Israelis and Palestinians understand that separation is not the answer. It was not an answer in the United States, nor was it an answer in South Africa. Rather, the answer lies in a shared future. The authors of this article share this vision. We have accepted the realty that we must live together and share Israel/Palestine as citizens and countrymen in a united country. We envision a confederation of Israel and Palestine where each state contributes 50% to the national parliament.
We are using social media such as facebook to communicate our message. We believe that Israelis and Palestinians are equals, who were joined together by destiny, history, religious lineage and genetics. We envision a prosperous union, at peace with its neighbors that shares the stage with rising powers such as China, Brazil, South Korea and India. We want to live and love each other. Our numbers continue to grow even as we have to deal with Jews who falsely accuse us of wanting to destroy Israel and Palestinians who accuse us of being Zionist traitors.
Among the more recent leaders of a shared future are Yehuda Schwartz, Kamal Nawash, Josef Avesar, Mazin Qumsiyeh, Tsvi Misinai, and Ali Abunimah to name a few. We understand that Jews and Palestinians have a right to live in Israel/Palestine and that it is inherently unfair that an American Jew can move to Israel and become a citizen while a Palestinian who emigrates from Jerusalem is not allowed to return.
Unity can work. Israel’s population includes 1.5 million Palestinians who carry Israeli citizenship. Despite complaints of discrimination, they have lived with Jews in peace since the creation of Israel. Another example is the Old City of Jerusalem. It includes Muslims, Jews, Christians, Armenians and various ethnicities. They live in harmony.
We are Palestinians and Israelis, Jews, Christians and Muslims who want to live together as brothers and neighbors in Israel/Palestine. We have dreams of creating a new promise land. We want to drive to Jerusalem for breakfast and Amman for lunch. We don’t want to destroy Israel nor do we want to persecute or torment the Palestinians. We want a better Israel that joins with Palestine to form a more perfect union of hope and an example for mankind.
We know that our vision will prevail because a two state solution will never lead to peace.
Kamal Nawash, President of the Free Muslims Coalition, Washington, DC
Yehuda Schwartz, Founder of http://www.pa-il.org, Israel