Coexistence, Not Apartheid
Jews and Arabs coexisted peacefully prior to the rise of Zionism, and they are capable of doing so in the future. Any other solution would simply institutionalise racism and apartheid, undermine democracy and human rights and thus further perpetuate violence, says Ramzy Baroud.

For the last 60 years, all those who have sought a genuinely peaceful and fair solution for Israel and Palestine have faced the same obstacle — Israel's sense of invincibility and military arrogance, abetted by the US and other Western governments' unwavering support.

Despite recent setbacks on the military front, the Israeli government is yet to awaken to the reality that Israel is simply not invincible. The wheel of history, which has seen the rise and fall of many great powers, won't grind to a halt. Experiences have also repeatedly shown that neither Israel's nuclear arms nor Washington's billions of dollars in annual funds could create 'security' for the former.

While Israel can celebrate whatever skewed version of history it wishes to, it still cannot defeat a people, ordinary people armed with their will to survive and reclaim what was rightfully theirs. The same problem confronted the US in Vietnam, France in Algeria and Italy in Libya. The Palestinian people will not evaporate. Attempts to undermine Palestinian unity, instigate civil violence, and groom and present shady characters as 'representatives' of Palestinians have failed in the past and will continue to fail.

Representing, and thus dealing with the conflict as one invented and sustained by Arab greed and Palestinian terrorism helped Israel garner sympathy, while simultaneously convoluting what should have been an urgent example of injustice, predicated on colonialism and ethnic cleansing.

More, depicting the mere existence of Palestinians as a 'threat', a 'problem' and a 'demographic bomb' is inhumane and actually a full-fledged form of racism. Throughout its 60 years of existence, successive Israeli governments have treated Palestinians — the native inhabitants of historic Palestine — as undesired and thus negligible inhabitants of a land that was promised only to Jews by some divine power thousands of years ago.

This archaic concept has managed to define mainstream politics in Israel, and increasingly the US, allowing religious doctrines to discriminate and brutally repress Palestinians, both citizens of Israel and residents of the occupied Territories.

Needless to say, neither a figurative Iron wall, like that proposed by Vladimir Jabotinsky in 1923, nor an actual massive and menacing structure as the one being erected in the West Bank can really separate Israel from its 'problem', the Palestinians. An area roughly the size of the US state of Vermont cannot sustain such a complex model — a country that is open unconditionally for all Jews who wish to immigrate, and an oppressed population that is caged in between walls, fences, and hundreds of checkpoints — without inviting perpetual conflict.

What Israel has created in Palestine belies its own claim that its ultimate wish is peace with security. While occupied East Jerusalem is entirely annexed by an Israeli government diktat, 40 per cent of the total size of the West Bank is used exclusively for the purposes of the illegal Jewish settlers and the Israeli military. How can Israel's claim of wanting to live in peace be taken seriously if it continues to invade the lives, confiscate the land and usurp the water of Palestinians?

When Israel invaded East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza in 1967, the Jewish citizens of Israel celebrated the 'return' of biblical Judea and Samaria and the reunification of Jerusalem. Nearly 300,000 more Palestinians were ethnically cleansed, adding to the many more who were evicted from historic Palestine in 1948.

Yet, most Palestinians have remained hostage to the Israeli-invented limbo that suggests they were neither citizens of Israel, nor of their own state, nor deserving of the rights of an occupied civilian population under the Geneva Convention.

Despite this, Israel's insistence on employing military 'solutions' in its dealing with Palestinians have constantly backfired. Palestinians naturally rebelled and were repeatedly suppressed, which only worsened the feud and heightened the level of violence.

The PLO's acceptance of Israel's existence, and UN Resolution 242 as a first step towards a two state solution was both ridiculed and rejected by the Israeli government, which continued to arrange for its own ineffective and ultimately destructive solutions.

Throughout the years, Israel translated its military strength to erect more settlements and move its population to occupied Palestinian territories. Even after the Oslo Accords of September 1993, the construction of settlements didn't slow down, but rather accelerated. After the most recent peace talks in Annapolis in November 2007, Israel continues to grant more permits to build more homes in illegal settlements under the guise of 'natural expansion.'

But it may have gone too far, leaving itself and Palestinians with few options now.

In a November 29, 2007 interview with Israeli daily Ha'aretz, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert warned that without a two-state agreement, Israel would face "a South African-style struggle for equal voting rights" in which case "Israel (would be) finished." It's ironic that Israeli leaders are now advocating the same solution that they vehemently rejected in the past. However, the Israeli version of the two-state agreement hardly meets the minimum expectations of Palestinians.

Without Jerusalem, without their refugees' right of return as enshrined in UN resolution 194 and with a West Bank dotted with over 216 settlements and scarred by a mammoth wall, asking Palestinians to accept an Israeli version of the two-state solution is asking them to agree to their eternal imprisonment, subjugation and defeat — which they have rejected generation after generation.

If Israel is indeed interested in a peaceful resolution to this bloody conflict, one that is based on equal human and legal rights, justice, security and lasting peace, then it must add a new word to its lexicon: coexistence. Jews and Arabs coexisted peacefully prior to the rise of Zionism, and they are capable of doing so in the future. Any other solution would simply institutionalise racism and apartheid, undermine democracy and human rights and thus further perpetuate violence.

It's time for a secular, democratic state to cease being part of a removed academic discussion, and instead be integrated into mainstream debate, if not dialogue in Palestine and Israel. This is the right, moral and indeed urgent course of action required now.

Ramzy Baroud is a Palestinian-American author and editor of His work has been published in numerous newspapers and journals worldwide, including the Washington Post, Japan Times, Al Ahram Weekly and Lemonde Diplomatique. His latest book is The Second Palestinian Intifada: A Chronicle of a People's Struggle (Pluto Press, London). Read more about him on his website:


The following should appear at the end of every post:

According to the IRS, "Know the law: Avoid political campaign intervention":

Tax-exempt section 501(c)(3) organizations like churches, universities, and hospitals must follow the law regarding political campaigns. Unfortunately, some don't know the law.

Under the Internal Revenue Code, all section 501(c)(3) organizations are prohibited from participating in any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. The prohibition applies to campaigns at the federal, state and local level.

Violation of this prohibition may result in denial or revocation of tax-exempt status and the imposition of certain excise taxes. Section 501(c)(3) private foundations are subject to additional restrictions.

Political Campaign Intervention

Political campaign intervention includes any activities that favor or oppose one or more candidates for public office. The prohibition extends beyond candidate endorsements.

Contributions to political campaign funds, public statements of support or opposition (verbal or written) made by or on behalf of an organization, and the distribution of materials prepared by others that support or oppose any candidate for public office all violate the prohibition on political campaign intervention.

Factors in determining whether a communication results in political campaign intervention include the following:

  • Whether the statement identifies one or more candidates for a given public office
  • Whether the statement expresses approval or disapproval of one or more candidates' positions and/or actions
  • Whether the statement is delivered close in time to the election
  • Whether the statement makes reference to voting or an election
  • Whether the issue addressed distinguishes candidates for a given office

Many religious organizations believe, as we do, that the above constitutes a violation of the First Amendment of the US Constitution.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

That said, we make the following absolutely clear here:

  • The Real Liberal Christian Church and Christian Commons Project not only do not endorse any candidate for any secular office, we say that Christianity forbids voting in such elections.
  • Furthermore, when we discuss any public-office holder's position, policy, action or inaction, we definitely are not encouraging anyone to vote for that office holder's position.
  • We are not trying to influence secular elections but rather want people to come out from that entire fallen system.
  • When we analyze or discuss what is termed "public policy," we do it entirely from a theological standpoint with an eye to educating professing Christians and those to whom we are openly always proselytizing to convert to authentic Christianity.
  • It is impossible for us to fully evangelize and proselytize without directly discussing the pros and cons of public policy and the positions of secular-office holders, hence the unconstitutionality of the IRS code on the matter.
  • We are not rich and wouldn't be looking for a fight regardless. What we cannot do is compromise our faith (which seeks to harm nobody, quite the contrary).
  • We render unto Caesar what is Caesar's. We render unto God what is God's.
  • When Caesar says to us that unless we shut up about the unrighteousness of Caesar's policies and practices, we will lose the ability of people who donate to us to declare their donations as deductions on their federal and state income-tax returns, we say to Caesar that we cannot shut up while exercising our religion in a very reasonable way.
  • We consider the IRS code on this matter as deliberate economic duress (a form of coercion) and a direct attempt by the federal government to censor dissenting, free political and religious speech.
  • It's not freedom of religion if they tax it.

And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute? He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers? Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free. (Matthew 17:24-26)

  • Subscribe

  • Tom Usher

    About Tom Usher

    Employment: 2008 - present, website developer and writer. 2015 - present, insurance broker. Education: Arizona State University, Bachelor of Science in Political Science. City University of Seattle, graduate studies in Public Administration. Volunteerism: 2007 - present, president of the Real Liberal Christian Church and Christian Commons Project.
    This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.
    • Could you comment, whether my details are correct in my essay in ?

    • Hello Pauli Ojala,

      No one has accurate statistics covering everything you've covered on the page to which you've pointed. God alone knows.

      Israel and the U.S. use and abuse each other as they both use and abuse others. The nations of the world are in stiff-necked competition where they ought to all be cooperating for righteousness' sake.

      Technology, drugs, and business are only as good as the ultimate results. Plenty of technology, etc., has brought forth harm. It has come out from selfish hearts.

      As for the brain-drain idea, this is the same issue as with technology.

      Equating intelligence with all the things you've mentioned is an error. True intelligence is bringing forth righteousness.

      Bringing forth implements to cause great harm (weapons for mass killing) for instance is stupid. It isn't intelligent at all. It's actually the sign of moral retardation.

      Taking a company public (registering it on the stock exchange) doesn't indicate intelligence.

      Your premises are faulty. Your definition of intelligence is faulty. Your measuring stick is unacceptable.

      Read Jesus.

      Tom Usher