Travel the Arab world a bit, and you’ll find it’s hard for people to agree on much from one country to another. But whether it’s Palestinians in Dubai, Syrians, Lebanese or Chadians, there’s one point on which everyone seems to find common ground: Muammar Qaddafi, the de facto leader of the Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, is a freakin’ crackpot.
Crackpot, despot and buffoon he may be. But I have to say, his op-ed in The New York Times yesterday arguing for a one-state solution in Israel and Palestine was well put. With his track record, Qaddafi’s claim of interest in peace is preposterous, and it will be easy for detractors to void his argument based on the colonel’s utter lack of credibility. (In that sense, I think it’s interesting that the Times chose to print the one-state argument under Qaddafi’s byline. There are far more credible and respectable people saying the exact same thing. Makes it look like it’s only the opinion of a maniac.)
If there is a one-state solution (in my opinion, the only thing that can practically occur in the long-run), I just hope it has a better name than Isratine. That silly title practically disqualifies the whole idea. What about the Democratic Republic of Palestine and Israel, where the borders of the two states are fully overlapping?
Oh, and here’s a letter to the editor in the Times that puts things a bit more clearly. (See original context here.)
To the Editor:
Kudos to The New York Times for printing the Op-Ed article from Muammar Qaddafi, which challenges the political orthodoxy in this country that the only solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a two-state solution.
While there are undoubtedly huge obstacles to a realistic one-state solution — one of which is the hatred of Jewish people, which has now been engendered in large parts of the non-Jewish population of this area — the two-state solution depends upon a doctrinal base that we should always reject: that one ethnic-religious group is entitled to rights superior to another.
It is baffling to me that people of good will who would denounce this doctrine in any other context are willing to accept it when it comes to Israel.
There is no doubt that the Jewish people have been subjected to horrendous persecution throughout history, with this evil reaching its apex in the 20th century, but the answer to such oppression must not be the oppression of others.
John L. Stainthorp
Chicago, Jan. 22, 2009