Monday, February 07, 2005

Two-State solution is a two-way street Feb. 4/7, 2005

Feb. 4/7, 2005
By Ray Hanania

The only real road to peace for Palestinians and Israelis is the two-state solution, which proposes one Palestinian state and one Israeli state side-by-side in peace and security.

A two-state solution is a two-way street, requiring Palestinians to end violent resistance to Israel's policies. It also demands that Israel return land it occupied in 1967 and end its policies of stealing Palestinian land.

There is no other way to describe what Israel has been doing than to call it "land theft."

Palestinians didn't just wake up one day and say they wanted to attack Israel. The real conflict has always been about land ownership.

More than 700,000 Christian and Muslim Palestinians were forcibly pushed off of their land by Israel, which sought to increase its Jewish population while reducing its non-Jewish population. When it occupied Arab East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in 1967, Israel began a program to evict Christian and Muslim Palestinians from their land to build Jewish-only settlements.

How else has Israel built so many illegal settlements in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and in East Jerusalem?

Israel's defenders assert Palestinians expelled by Israel in 1948 and in 1967 were replaced by Jews fleeing Arab countries. But that's not true. Most Jewish Arabs were urged by Israel to leave in a highly publicized and ongoing program to settle them in Israel.

For example, Israel also urges Jews to leave America and settle in Israel. But, is Israel saying that America is forcing Jewish residents to flee, as they claim Arab countries are forcing Jews to flee?

In contrast, Palestinians are fighting to stay on their land and in their homes. Israel is pushing them out in order to increase the Jewish population and decrease the non-Jewish population. Israel's defenders also deny Israel is "stealing" land.

But, the truth came out when it was recently revealed that Israel's extremist Prime Minister Ariel Sharon secretly authorized a plan last June to confiscate by force and without compensation (my definition of theft) all Christian- and Muslim-owned land in East Jerusalem.

Only because of the outcry from the international community was Israel forced to abandon that plan. But will they abandon it permanently or seek other ways to steal the land?

Israel intentionally makes life difficult for Christians and Muslims not only in Israel but in the occupied territories. Why? Because Israel wants to build more Jewish-only settlements on Palestinian land.

My family owns 10 acres of land in East Jerusalem with 160 ancient olive trees. We are not allowed to build on it or to develop it. We are discouraged from visiting it. To visit the land, I must travel through several Israeli military checkpoints, at gunpoint, and submit to humiliating treatment from the soldiers and settlers who live in Gilo, the Jewish settlement that overlooks my property.

The Israelis don't want us. They want Christians and Muslims to leave.

The two-state solution means that not only must Palestinian extremists end their campaign of violent resistance against Israel, but Israel also must end its violent campaign to expel Christians and Muslims from their lands and their homes. Palestinians want to live in peace.

The question is, will Israel allow it? Israel can either have stolen land or real peace. But not both.

To find out more about Ray Hanania, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at

Originally Published on Friday February 4, 2005

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