“….Anyone who rejects the two-state solution, won’t bring a one-state solution. They will instead bring one war, not one state. A bloody war with no end….”
– Shimon Peres,
President of Israel
7 November 2009
If black and white South Africans – who have much less in common with each other than do the Abrahamic cousins that are the Palestinian Muslims and Israeli Jews – could successfully forge a unified, multi-ethnic republic on the African continent, from whence cometh the notion that Israelis and Palestinians are so uniquely and singularly irreconcilable as to render them incapable of establishing a unified non-sectarian Judaeo-Palestinian republic in the Middle East?
Palestinians – who routinely liken their plight to that endured by black South Africans under apartheid – have morally bankrupted their own cause by utilising terrorist tactics of a kind that were never employed by the black victims of the infinitely more brutal Afrikaner regime in South Africa. Throughout that entire conflict not a single black suicide bomber ever took the lives of innocent white civilians nor was a single Katyusha or Grad rocket launched from the black township of Soweto into the white suburbs of Johannesburg. And yet black South Africans succeeded in rallying the world into ending a murderous tyranny which had taken tens of thousands more lives than have been lost during the entire Palestinian nakba.
By the same token, the relative courage with which South Africa’s segregationist white minority bowed to the inevitable and surrendered their power and privilege to majority-rule stands in shining moral contrast to the recalcitrance with which Israel’s Jews have employed every scheme imaginable to evade the moral necessity of a one-state solution that would require them to live side-by-side with their Palestinian brethren – in much the same way that far more incompatible population groups have long been living in blissful brotherhood since the collapse of apartheid’s twin towers in South Africa and Namibia.
Palestinians have to ask themselves why it is that black South Africans, who came under apartheid rule in the exact same year that saw the beginning of the Zionist occupation of Palestine (1948), were able to reach ‘the finish line of freedom’ – with the complete collapse of apartheid and the election of South Africa’s first black president in 1994 – far sooner than the Palestinians, who continue to find themselves under firm Israeli occupation in 2011.
The answer is simple and stark: the Palestinians have been seeking the wrong objective (a Palestinian state) and employing the wrong methods (international terrorism) towards its realisation.
The anti-apartheid struggle was never driven by the imperative to create a ‘Black state’ in the same way that Palestinians have sought the establishment of a state of their own. The goal in South Africa was ‘one person, one vote’ towards the realisation of a single, unified, non-sectarian democracy in which all South Africans would enjoy equal citizenship – as they now do.
Nor was the objective a two-state solution that would have seen South Africa partitioned into a ‘Black nation’ and an Afrikaner ‘volkstaat‘ and the division of Pretoria into two capital cities – with ‘East Pretoria’ as the capital of the black populace and ‘West Pretoria’ as that of the whites (in that maddeningly misguided way in which the Palestinians insist on East Jerusalem as their future capital).
Nor have Palestinians cottoned on to the crucial realisation that their quest for a Palestinian state involves a dangerous concession to Israel’s Jews for it has the effect of tacitly acknowledging the right of Israelis to have a Jewish state alongside the Palestinian one – an indefensible proposition.
Israeli Jews are no more entitled to a faith-based Zionist state of their own than are Buddhists, Hindus, Christians or Muslims and to call for a Palestinian state is to automatically confer legitimacy on a Jewish one.
Conceding such a thing to Israeli Jews on the grounds that they have suffered historic persecution in Gentile nations (and can thus only find security in an exclusively Jewish homeland) would open the planetary floodgates to an avalanche of identical secessionist demands by persecuted minorities the world over and in ways that could result in the complete fragmentation, and subsequent collapse, of the international state system.
Even more ominously such a concession could pave the way for race-based separatist forces within the United States of America itself to demand the partitioning of that country along ethnic lines through the invocation of an Israeli-Palestinian two-state solution as providing the international legal precedent.
After all, don’t the comparative successes of Barack Obama’s multi-ethnic America and Jacob Zuma’s multi-ethnic South Africa give the lie to the theory of Judaeo-Palestinian irreconcilability, thus providing the shining exemplars with which both Israelis and Palestinians must now be sanctioned and shamed by the world into the establishment of their own non-sectarian Judaeo-Palestinian republic?
This future state, constituting as it would the unified homeland of the Judaeo-Palestinian ‘children of Abraham’, could be named the Republic of Abraham. This would unburden the new nation of the geopolitical baggage that encumbers the terms ‘Israel’ and ‘Palestine’ and provide a neutral state-definition upon which all parties can agree.
Jerusalem would be its undivided Abrahamic capital, safeguarding the right to worship for the adherents of all three Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) and its constitution would draw from all three faith traditions in the forging of a collective Abrahamic nationality. Its parliament would be an Abrahamic one and its armed forces would be comprised of the current Israeli Defence Force (IDF) combined with personnel drawn from the HAMAS and Fatah militia groups of Gaza and the West Bank in order to form the Abrahamic National Defence Force (ANDF) – in much the same way that, in the wake of apartheid’s demise, the once-notorious South African Defence Force (SADF) absorbed into its ranks members of the ANC’s armed wing, Umkhonto We Sizwe, to form the current South African National Defence Force (SANDF).
In addition, the post-Mubarak Republic of Egypt could offer to hold a national referendum on whether or not to lease or cede the Sinai Peninsula – in part or in its entirety – to this new Republic of Abraham as a means of incentivising the Israelis and Palestinians into setting aside their historic conflict and agreeing to a single-state solution.
Such a gesture of unprecedented magnanimity by the peoples of post-revolutionary Egypt would have the effect of nearly doubling the size of the current territory of Israel-Palestine and creating an expanded state entity large enough to accommodate the full right of return of every Palestinian and Jew from their respective Diasporas.
And as the final seal on this Sinai-based one-state settlement the Judaeo-Palestinian government of the Republic of Abraham would agree to the full dismantlement of the current Israeli nuclear arsenal (along with its other WMD programs) as part of a comprehensive regional arms control treaty (the ‘Treaty of Abraham’) and one modelled on South Africa’s 1991 decision to decommission its own apartheid-era nuclear weapons program, sign the NPT and submit to IAEA safeguards.
And thus would this long-running and costly dispute have been finally brought to a satisfactory and lasting conclusion.
– Paul Twinomucunguzi Bitakaramire
23 September 2011.