An unlikely idea for Middle East peace?
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.
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.