An un­likely idea for Mid­dle East peace?

The Guardian - Journal - - Letters -

In 1902, Theodor Herzl wrote a book, Alt­neu­land (OldNew­land), pre­sent­ing the laugh­able – at the time – idea that Pales­tine, then over 90% Arab, should be turned into a Jewish state. The sheer im­prob­a­bil­ity of the pro­posal at the time did not pre­vent the pre­dicted events com­ing to pass.

This week, on the 70th an­niver­sary of the estab­lish­ment of Is­rael, we pub­lished a short book, A Modest Pro­posal To Solve the Pales­tine-Is­rael Con­flict, in which – per­haps equally laugh­ably – I sum­marise the ben­e­fits to Pales­tini­ans and Is­raeli Jews of set­ting up a demo­cratic state be­tween the Jor­dan and the Mediter­ranean in which all peo­ple liv­ing in that area have equal rights and to which those Pales­tini­ans who want to can re­turn.

In­creas­ingly fre­quently it is be­ing ad­mit­ted in pub­lic that the two-state so­lu­tion is dead in the wa­ter, and an­other so­lu­tion is needed. Two months ago, 60 re­view copies of A Modest Pro­posal… were sent out to news­pa­pers, pe­ri­od­i­cals, and ra­dio and TV pro­grammes, so it is puz­zling that none of them, in­clud­ing the Guardian, has re­viewed this book, pub­lished an ar­ti­cle based on it, or even ad­dressed the is­sue at all. Per­haps the world will have to wait an­other 46 years be­fore the only fair so­lu­tion to this run­ning sore of world pol­i­tics is fi­nally put in place.

Karl Sab­bagh

Skyscraper Pub­li­ca­tions

The logic of those who ar­gue that the two-state so­lu­tion is dead is ir­refutable (Let­ters, 15 May). But I be­lieve it is wrong. De­spite all that has gone on, it is still the only game in town. A sec­u­lar state with equal rights for all is an at­trac­tive propo­si­tion but an il­lu­sion. How­ever im­pla­ca­ble the odds against it ap­pear to be, those who work for it on both sides should be cam­paign­ing for two states, which, with good­will from Is­raelis and Pales­tini­ans, is re­al­is­able, par­tic­u­larly now when Pales­tini­ans have their backs against a hos­tile world and Is­rael is fea­tur­ing char­ac­ter­is­tics of a neo­colo­nial, quasi-fas­cist regime.

Bene­dict Birn­berg


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