Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Two state solution and other delusions

All of us, who have reasonable, enlightened, liberal gentile and even some Jewish friends are confronted by the question: why can't Israelis and Palestinians get together, sort out their differences and live in peace side by side. End the occupation, give the Palestinians their state, and all will be well. To understand why neither Palestinians nor Israelis find the two state solution acceptable, read Efraim Karsch's thought provoking article in the Middle East Quarterly
Karsch argues that the Arab world, living under Ottoman rule, had never had an idea of statehood. They saw the world in Islamic terms, which demanded the restoration of the Islamic Caliphate.which included not only the Arab lands, but also Spain, perhaps even France. Palestine would be only a small sliver of this empire and the empire stretching right across Syria and Iraq, would not tolerate infidel minorities, certainly not as equal citizens with Muslims. The conflict, going back to the beginning of the British Mandate, is not about Jews and Arabs, but about a minority that is not Muslim setting up camp in the midst of this Islamic world. The current conflict in Syria and Iraq illustrates the Islamic idea of the tolerance of the Caliphate with beheadings, mass murder and annihilation of communities that don't conform. We have to reshape our dialogue in New Zealand, not accept buzz words such as 'occupation' 'two state solution' 'settlements' 'colonialism' but engage in the conversation on our terms, not on the terms of our enemies.