The One-State Solution – Muammar Qaddafi of Libya

Tripoli, Libya

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.

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 smolders, 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 the 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 symbolize 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 rumors 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 labor, 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 realize, I hope sooner rather than later, that living under one roof is the only option for a lasting peace.


11 Replies to “The One-State Solution – Muammar Qaddafi of Libya”

  1. Edward Said advocated a one-state solution like this for many years until the day he died. It is the only just solution for all involved.

  2. I agree with Dr. Said. The sad thing is it won’t happen without some intense re-imagining of what Israel is. Neither party wants to let go of the notion that G-d or Allah is on their side. We can dream though. What would we even call a one-state solution? United States of New Jerusalem? Insha’allah people will wake up from their delusions and seek a common peace and understanding.

  3. This is the “modern” solution, but no. There’s nothing wrong with Jews living in those lands, as they have been doing so for many years, but Zionists (whom many Jews will claim are actually NOT following Judaism) came in and aggravated the land and the people living in it.

    There will be no peace until they’re gone. Everyone seems to think in today’s ‘modern, fit-into-society’ Islam that this hadith is somehow irrelevant:

    “Judgment Day will come only when the Muslims fight the Jews and kill them, until the Jew hides behind the tree and the stone, and the tree and the stone say: ‘Oh Muslim, oh servant of Allah (SWT), there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him’ – except for the Gharqad tree.”

    Listen: Islam did not come to conform to society, but rather society ought to conform to Islam. Allah gave us this beautiful deen to raise us above people who follow their own desires and to perfect life both here and prepare us for the hereafter. To accept that we can just equate ourselves with the other religions of the world is ridiculous.

  4. And you disagree?

    Mind you, I’m not a “Salafi” or a “Jihadist” or anything there like that. I’m just saying that Islam came for ALL of mankind, so for us to sit and think that we should just become some niche of society counters the very definition of what it was sent down to accomplish.

    By default, to claim that Islam is correct is to abrogate every other belief system, so I don’t know why people insist on ignoring that obvious logical fact and try to work on “seeing our common grounds and working together to live in harmony”. Allah says in the Qur’an Himself, ‘Azza wa jal,

    “And they will continue fighting you until they turn you renegades upon your religion, if they are able to do so. “[al-baqarah]

    “The Jews and Christians will never be happy with you until you follow their ways. If you were to follow their desires after knowledge has come to you (from Allah), you would have no protector or helper before Allah. ” [al-baqarah]

    In regards to Palestine, Zionists were the transgressors, and it is NOT fair for us to try and cloud things by saying that both sides are in the wrong and we need to come to a peaceful agreement. They need to WITHDRAW and leave all the Muslims and Jews that were already living there to resume their once peaceful lives.

  5. Ok, then. 1967 borders. 2 state solution. Maybe some reparations from the Israeli government. But keep debased religion out of this. I love Islam, but what’s going on there is hypocrisy and resembles Islam only in the way that a department store mannequin resembles a Houri.

    Anyways, I’m done with my short foray into the so-called Muslim blogosphere. It’s like that old James Brown song: “Talkin’ loud, just sayin’ nothin’!”

  6. People like to say the conflict isn’t about religion, because it’s not Muslims trying to create their own state based on religion. This has everything to do with religion–the Jewish religion. Zionists believe in a Jewish homeland with a Jewish majority. Basically if you’re not a Jew you’re a problem. I love how people like to say ohh there should be one state, well tell it to the Zionists who despise and literally kill all the non-Jews that try to stand up to them.

  7. One State Solution sounds good on paper, but reality is another thing. Follow the article through. Qaddafi suggests that the One State Solution the Arabs want is one where the Jews who live there give to Arabs the lands that Arabs can point to that they or any of their ancestors once lived. (The article calls the Jews outsiders and fails to acknowledge that the Jews who came to, and are now in Israel are the decedents of those Jews thrown out of Israel in prior centuries and who were scattered and left to try to assimilate throughout Europe and the middle east; where they were continuously butchered in Europe and forced to leave all the Arab countries.)

    Qaddafi suggests that Jews and Arabs are “cousins” and implies that they can get along occupying the same country. What the article fails to mention is that a One State Solution would end up with the Jews again being a minority. (I will remind you that there is only one country in the world where Jews are, or have ever been a majority.)

    The article tells you that Jews currently get along with Arabs in current Israel. Qaddafi states, “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.” (Yes that is where the Jews are the majority.) OK, now for a bit of reality when the Arabs are in the majority: Since 1969 Qaddafi drove every Jew out of Libya and took their lands and property. In the last 50 years the Arab states have systematically driven more than 850,000 of the Jews from their countries and taken their lands and property. I wonder if Qaddafi is ready to give back all of the property taken from Jews in Libya and let them live there in peace. I wonder if the other countries are ready to give back all the land and property take from Jews and then let them live there in peace; both in Arab countries and in European countries.

    First, It is very unlikely that the Jews living in Israel are going to want to give back large parts of their country knowing full well that apparently no one in the world cares about giving them all the homes, farms, and property taken from them over the last 60 years. Second, it is very unlikely that the Jews will give up the only country where they are a majority and subject themselves to being a minority in an Arab country knowing full well what has happened in every Arab county they have ever lived. Think about it, if you were a Jew in Israel, would you want to be a minority again in a country where Arabs are the majority?

    Qaddafi’s article is merely a slight of hand where the destruction of Israel is hidden. Everyone will feel good except the Jews when “reality” takes place.

    I’m afraid the One State Solution is impossible. Hopefully, a Two State Solution can happen some day. Unfortunately, I don’t believe the Arabs will allow that to happen.

  8. I recently attended a Saudi Festival at my university, and I made a friend of the organizer there, who told me that Saudi Arabia hates Israel, but a ONE state solution would shift this mentality like night and day (of which I am skeptical). Is this generally the consensus among the Arab world?
    As for: “Judgment Day will come only when the Muslims fight the Jews and kill them, until the Jew hides behind the tree and the stone, and the tree and the stone say: ‘Oh Muslim, oh servant of Allah (SWT), there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him’ – except for the Gharqad tree.”
    Did God not tell our ancestor, Abraham, to kill his own son? And what happened with that commandment? Even as a believer, I cannot take ANY book, no matter how old, as absolute. To me, the bible is not the same as God.

  9. I see. I was going to suggest the “one state” country be secular (As opposed to Jewish, as it is now), but is the idea of a secular government itself a Western idea? Is it opposed by most of the Arab world, or just most of the readers of this blog?

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