There is a nice letter below from evangelical leaders to the US President. It is a nice gesture for a two-state solution. But it is, in my view, an impossible goal. A culture of hate and violence has been so profoundly embedded within Palestinian Arab minds that there will always be some who will launch attacks against Israel from their Islamic Palestinian state (and it will be Islamic, have no doubt).

Israel will be constantly distressed by these attacks and they will either have to re-occupy their neighbor or you will have a genuine war between two states.

But a war between two states, however sad and disastrous, may in fact be better though than the current situation of occupation because at least wars between states end eventually. The reasons is that states are sovereign, they are accountable to other states and the addiction to victimhood we find among many Palestinians may in fact shift slightly towards an actual recognition that blaming everyone else for your own problems is not actually a constructive activity. This is true even when others are responsible for many of your troubles, as is the case with Israel.

The situation in Gaza shows this fairly well, I think. It is very clear that you have Palestinian Muslims killing each other in Gaza. Yet if you ask people in the ME they will often blame Israel and the USA. The first rule about the Middle East is: Never take responsibility. That having been said, maybe--just maybe--a two state solution will challenge and make cracks in that edifice of victimhood that holds minds captive throughout the region.

Just Maybe.

And if you don't buy all that, can we take a look at the goal: a just solution. Ah yes, but whose justice? The Islamic concept of Justice (trust me, the Christians will have no say in the new state) is profoundly different than the Christian concept of Justice. In Christianity you have the idea of unalienable rights that people have because they are human. You have no such thing in Islam. In Islam, rights are derived from being rules by an Islamic authority: Muslims have some rights, Christians and Jews have fewer rights, and pagans have the right to leave or be killed. That is, over-simplified perhaps, the Islamic concept of Justice.

So, my dear evangelical leaders, are you not picking up the sword of Christian imperialism again when you insist on your narrow view of universal human rights? Yes you are. Allahu akbar. If you understood justice you would be Muslims.

And there are other problems. But let's take it for what it is: a gesture. And as far as gestures go, this one is...nice.

The first and greatest commandment is this: Thou shalt be nice.

(Sorry for the screed, I don't like writing about politics much, and the situation between Israel and Palestine is, IMHO, utterly hopeless from a political point of view, at least until Jesus comes back. The only genuine solution is the Gospel. Nothing else has the power to heal the sort of anger and hate there.)


JS said…
Abu Daoud,

As followers of the King who called us to be peacemakers (not just peaceseekers, but peace*makers*), we should never succumb to war without seeking all other options (thanks to Iraq for making that clear).

The two state solution is a viable option only if it has genuine and comprehensive political support - i.e., the Quartet and Mr. Blair MUST work with Hamas. There must be political and social reconciliation within Palestine before a two state deal is feasible. If there are proposals that ostracize Hamas, they will fail big time.

Agreed, though, Israel/Palestine needs the gospel. It is the gospel that can transform this region.
Abu Daoud said…
JS: I think I agree with you, though I would say that there is, on this side of heaven, such a thing as Just War.

RE Palestine though: But perhaps you and I differ--I am not sure--on the order of things. I think that the Gospel must take root in both cultures, Israeli and Palestinian, before any political solution, no matter how ingenious, can function correctly.

You can take a horse to the water...

You say, "The two state solution is a viable option only if it has genuine and comprehensive political support..." I would add that "the two state solution is a viable option only if it has genuine and comprehensive grace from God."

But right now neither side seems much interested in God's grace, especially Muslim Palestinians.

I think you can note my frustration on the topic. I don't write about it much because it is so intractable and insoluble. I also want to make sure you understand that I don't regard the status quo as a good option either.

"Some may trust in horses, some may trust in chariots, but I will trust in the Lord my God." There is no political solution. Period. "Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand."

There is no substitution for genuine repentance.
Fletcher said…

Perhaps you are familiar with Bernard Lewis... I'd imagine you are. He suggested years ago that he best solution to bring stability to a country like Iraq is a monarchy (not a dictatorship) with a constitution. Being an authority on Islamic history, one would think his ideas would have been taken seriously, but many laughed.

I wonder, what do you think of his suggestion?
Abu Daoud said…
Hi Fletcher,

Actually I agree with the idea very much. I would like to see the pseudo-presidencies in countries like Libya and Egypt and Syria converted into monarchies. Rule by family is much more suitable to Islamic, Arab culture than by democracy or autocracy.

I even think that Palestine divided into monrachial city states might work: Bethlehem, Nazareth, Hebron, Gaza, and so on--each with it's royal family, kind of like the United Arab Emirates.

I think a success story, sort of, is Jordan. On the other hand, the monarchy in KSA seems profligate and wasteful and extraorindarilly corrupt to me.

I do like Lewis though and recommend any of his books to readers of this blog.

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