In his unlikely New York Times op-ed of Jan. 22, “The One-State Solution,” plugging his utopian scheme for a single country uniting Israel and Palestine as “Isratine,” Muammar Qaddafi (this appears to be the Colonel’s preferred spelling), the one-time bad boy of intransigent Arab nationalism, actually mimics Zionist revisionism on the 1948 Nakba. To wit:
It is a fact that Palestinians inhabited the land and owned farms and homes there until recently, fleeing in fear of violence at the hands of Jews after 1948 — violence that did not occur, but rumors of which led to a mass exodus. It is important to note that the Jews did not forcibly expel Palestinians. They were never “un-welcomed.” Yet only the full territories of Isratine can accommodate all the refugees and bring about the justice that is key to peace.
Apart from the wackiness of the “Isratine” portmanteau, there is something to be said for a one-state solution in historic Palestine. And winning Jewish trust for a single secular state is a worthy aim. But legitimizing Israel’s whitewash of its own history is assuredly not the principled way to do this. As Palestine’s late national poet Mahmoud Darwish put it in a Radio Palestine address on the 50th anniversary of the Nakba, May 15, 1998:
Admitting honestly to the moral and political responsibility for the crime which the Zionist scheme had perpetrated against us is what will pave the way for a historical reconciliation between the two peoples—the Palestinian and the Israeli people.
Qaddafi was sounding more like his old self when, stopping in Mali on a tour of West African nations over the New Year holiday, he called for the removal of all foreign troops from African soil. This was an unsubtle dig at his hosts, who have invited in US military advisors. (Afrique en Ligne, Jan. 4)