Mohamed Ali Eltaher



Page 31




All the traditional approaches have been tried and tested over so many decades in relation to finding a solution to the standoff between the Israelis and the Palestinians. It is certainly time to think outside the box, not to reinvent the wheel, but to go back to old-fashioned reason and common sense.

Unless reasonably resolved, the Palestine Question will always be a trigger or an excuse for unrest, read violence, in the Middle East with possible international repercussions. But this should not be the only reason to solve the problem. To start with, the solution should not be for anything less than being just the right thing to do for the interest of both people and the rest of the world..

The Palestinians’ ongoing resistance, occasionally by violent means, to Israel’s various ingenuous stratagems at annexing the rest of their country is such an example. Another example is the Warsaw Jewish ghetto uprising against the Nazis which was an act of self-defence, not terrorism as the Nazis described it. This type of violence is different from terrorism rooted in a political, ideological or religious doctrine. Political opposition groups living in genuinely democratic countries can pursue a wide array of legal means to express their opposition within the system. Those who resort to violence in such systems are genuine terrorists in that case. This is why it is so crucial that things must be named by their name.

Nowadays everybody knows that the essence of the conflict between the people of Palestine and Israel is not about religion or ideology, except of course among the religious fundamentalists and the ultra-religious on all sides. Then of course there are the self-serving extremist politicians who, like their counterparts everywhere else, are interested in power, personal gain, or simply love to play the political game.

In a nutshell, to the Palestinians the struggle is a straightforward opposition and resistance to an invasion by a foreign people, an injustice, and plundering by one people against another…The European Jewish Zionists who took over the country from the Palestinians consider their “aspirations and entreprise (i.e. the seizure of Palestine) and aspirations as legitimate, indeed, as supremely moral”.25

The spiritual attachment of the Jewish people to the Holy Land is beyond discussion, so is that of Christians and Muslims. One should remember that both Christianity and Islam are heavily influenced by Judaism, which preceded them. The three faiths grew almost within the same extended region. The tales told in the Holy Books of the three faiths are, for all intents and purposes, practically the same. Most faithful consider these tales as definitive historical facts, which may be debatable, even though they may occasionally refer to some actual historical or geographical context.


The answer is, Yes! But Mohamed Ali Eltaher passed away before anybody in Israel or the Arab world could raise the issue of looking for solutions other than through the gun. When he died in 1974, Palestine was irretrievably gone, and the wound was still bleeding. It still is. His understanding of Arab realities and the state in which the Palestinians were did not inspire faith as far as the future was concerned.

The team overseeing the development of this website thought that it should not stop at simply telling Eltaher’s story. It believes that it should build on his bitter experience and rethink the future in light of the present, and not only of the past.

Keeping in mind though that there is no way that any of the Palestinians who saw their homeland disappear from underneath them like in quicksand could have entertained scenarios that require them to bargain over their homeland. Psychologically this is extremely painful not just for them to consider but also for the Israelis. However, if we look at things as they are today, it does not hurt to try and salvage what can be salvaged for the sake of both peoples and the rest of the world.

The following is a proposal open for discussion that is different from what has been discussed so far as to how to break the current deadlock. The proposal, which calls first for a mutually acceptable accommodation between the Israelis and the Palestinians, leads towards a solution that could be envisaged, and hopefully tried. Without a direct hands-on role played by a major power such as the USA and its major allies, not just as facilitators, where they put all their weight and forces at play, then there will be no viable solution. The current state of affairs between Arabs and Jews both politically, and as a result of stubborn religious beliefs on all sides, is not conducive to anything but perpetuating a permanent disaster zone.

The proposed accommodation between the Israelis and the Palestinians requires a gradual approach that will offer both parties a physical separation for as long as needed in light of the prevalent situation. As for peace, the process may require several years. However, at the end of the day, this gradual approach will allow both parties to be able to converse like civilized partners, not like prehistoric cave dwellers.

To discuss politics or religion realistically and effectively, each of the parties involved in the discussions has to know the issues and tenets on both sides of the table. i.e. the Palestinians must appreciate the Israeli position, and the Israelis must put themselves in the shoes of the Palestinians. Each side must be willing to question its own religion and political nevers. It must be willing to hear things it does not usually like or want to hear. Above all it must come to the table with the intention of solving problems and not just to engage in polemics. It must be prepared to compromise. It must approach any realistic solution with creativity, but also differently from previous attempts. Finally both parties must be patient, patient, and one more time patient!

The proposed approach calls first for a backgrounder to understand the complexities involving Arabs, Palestinians, both Muslims and Christians on the one hand, as well as Israelis and Jews on the other hand. It also reflects on what the majority of the common people among the Palestinians and the Israelis want.

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