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A post by a Palestinian and my response to it

Khalid Shaka

Hello everyone

I am Palestinian, my father was born in Nablus and mother in Gaza. Admittedly I am biased, but here is what i think are the foundations of lasting peace, please let me know your thoughts.

The biggest issue we have here is religion. If its peace we want, we need to erode the ridiculous hold religion has on people.

Israelis want to create a religious state triggered by massive and collective trauma. Understandable in many ways, and equally unreasonable.

Palestinians have been polarized to the opposite extreme by Israeli actions and now its been entrenched after generations have been raised in such a poisoned environment.

So now we have two opposite sides of the same fanatical coin.

I believe the idea of a 2-state solution is dead, and I also believe that Israel as a strictly Jewish state is also dead. Religious extremism has made both solutions impossible.

Palestinians do not live in a democracy, democracy thrives in prosperous nations, Palestinians haven't seen anything resembling that in generations. I don't think it's reasonable to blame Palestinians for producing toxic leaders, it is usually the most toxic that rise to power in such difficult circumstances. Think of what happens in prisons, the worst are the ones that dominate.

Israelis, however, do have a democracy, and reasonable Israelis should try to steer their country to a more secular direction and shed their grandparents Nazi trauma.

I do not know a single Palestinian who would be against living with Israelis in an egalitarian society. However, an egalitarian society for all is fundamentally incompatible with Zionism. Only self-aware Zionists can solve that.

Palestinians and Israelis have more in common than in conflict.

I hope I haven't offended anyone.

Yossi Patt

Brilliant Khalid! As a Jew and a secular Israeli citizen, I agree with mostly everything that you have written.

The biggest issue is indeed religion. Not the religion itself (I believe that the prophets who wrote it wanted only the good for the people) but its interpretation by the most fanatic followers of it. For example, originally, the Jihad was a great and beautiful idea. It meant: the spiritual struggle within oneself against sin. But the fanatics gave it the meaning of: a struggle or fight against the enemies of Islam. As for the Jewish religion, I like the idea of the Chosen People, if the meaning is that the Jews who received the Law (The Torah), were commanded to follow it and to be an example to the other people. (Light to the Goyim). But I push back with both hands the interpretation of certain Jews, that according to it, the Jews are in a way the favorites of God. Besides, and again I am a secular Jew, it seems to me very naïve to believe that all the Jews and only them are direct descendants of Jacob. But, according to me, the very belief of the Jews to belong to a great people enabled them to accomplish great things.

I don't define myself neither as a Zionist, right-wing, nor as left-wing or a pacifist. I have nothing against Zionists, religious, left-wing or right-wing people, but I simply don't want to be the slave of any category definition: To feel obliged to say something, just because a member of this category should say it. I prefer to listen to everyone and then to accept or reject their ideas.

- I welcome the idea of Herzl, the Zionism founder, that the Jewish question could be solved by a country of their own.

- But I want that all Israeli people will have absolutely equal rights. I'm not scared by the fact that there will be millions of Israel Palestinians. I say: "So what?" Around the world, some multinational nations don't succeed, but some of them are successful by taking up this challenge (Indonesia, India). I don't buy the slogan which is given by many Israeli leaders: "A democratic and Jewish state": Either a state is "for Jewish people only" or it is democratic.

- The Israelis who want to create a religious state are a minority.

I think that before politicians make peace, people have to make peace. That's the reason why I don't support any party in particular, and never participate in demonstrations. Right now, I do what I can do for Peace. To participate in groups like that one. I also decided, at the age of 65, to start learning Arabic. I start from zero.

I've offered you my friendship in Facebook, and I'll be very happy if you accept it.

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