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One State for All

By Robert Patton
On October 14, 2011


Can you imagine being born in a refugee camp, living out your entire life in the camp, and finally dying there. Yet this is what a good many Palestinians have experienced. 
More than sixty years ago, innocent people were uprooted from their homes and forced to live in a no man's land where jobs are rare to non-existent and the presence of foreign troops are an ever-present reminder of their inferior status.Now we find that the elected leaders of these Palestinian pariahs are applying to the UN for the status of a free and independent state. 
It's not surprising that many are saying that this is about time. The issue has stretched out many times longer than the Civil Rights crisis in our own country. Can you imagine if Jim Crow laws still existed here and demonstrators in the South were still met with police dogs and clubs? Unthinkable, isn't it?
Yet the plight of Palestinians is far worse. Children who throw stones are gunned down, homes are bulldozed, and property is seized and turned over to settlers who are protected by the armed might of a military partially supported with U.S. dollars and weapons.
Yet, in spite of all this, the establishment of an independent Palestinian state is no answer at all it. Can you imagine the result.  On one hand there would be the powerful, economically successful State of Israel, backed by the US with dollars and weapons. 
Then, across a paper-thin border there would be the Palestinian state, populated with wretchedly poor, less educated people whose only hope of making a decent living is to somehow qualify for employment on the Israeli side of the border.
Of course this is a perfect situation for militants to sow unrest through terrorist acts. And an equally perfect situation for Israeli militants to shout see, "We knew these Palestinians couldn't be trusted with their own state."
We can expect one border clash after another and a perpetual state of undeclared war between the two nations.
Not generally recognized is that this "two-state solution" has been tried right here in the United States and has proved to be an abysmal failure. Just look at our Indian reservations. After 150 years, the Native population of this country should have been thoroughly integrated into our society and its culture. Instead they were pushed onto the least desirable lands and told that they were independent.
Is this what we want for Palestinians?
Of course the stumbling block is Zionist demands for a Jewish state.  Ironically, we fault the Islamic world for laws that discriminate against non-Muslims. We reject such laws in our own country and in all others that are part of what we like to think of as the developed world. 
What makes Jews so different that the rights of others don't matter?Suppose Hitler had removed Jews from Germany and settled them in the least desirable area he could find, requiring them to leave most of their worldly good behind (since this was the case with Palestinians forced to leave their homes six decades ago) and then said: "You can form your own state now."Not even Zionists would thank the Fuhrer for creating such a Jewish state.
Before 1948 Jews and Muslims coexisted peacefully for hundreds of years. If not for the Holocaust they would still be doing so. Who can demonstrate a right by parentage or religious faith to seize a piece of land that once belonged to others? Who can justify a society in which some people are more equal than others? 
Why did virtually the entire civilized world oppose apartheid in South Africa while giving moral and financial support to Israel even as the rights of Palestinians are violated on a daily basis?
But let's forget about rights and past injustice and imagine a State in Palestine that combined the best of Jewish and Muslim talents and efforts. Imagine a state where people respected the beliefs and customs of their neighbors and worked together to build prosperous, happy  lives for all. Wouldn't that be a shining example to set for the rest of the world?

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