Is it Time to Take an Alternate Route on the Roadmap to Peace?
January 25, 2008
Peace be upon you.
This letter asks you to consider an alternative route on the road map to independent sovereignty and peace. This alternative road asks the people of Gaza to take independent action toward establishing for yourselves a constitutional democracy as a separate and sovereign nation.
Many people in the United States recognize, as I do, that you are suffering under an illegal and immoral occupation as few other people in the world have suffered. You have shown the world your valiant spirit of perseverance and determination in the face of the greatest odds arrayed against you. We have been told by people who have visited Palestine that this is a time of even greater moral trials and that no one would find you lacking in moral courage if you were presently dispirited by the seemingly unending abuse that you have had to bear.
Perhaps what those of us who support you most worry about is that the pressures of occupation and oppression will find expression in attacks among yourselves. This is the human condition of all imprisoned people who see no way out of their entrapment. The recent events of piercing the southern wall with Egypt was a welcome sign that you still have the courage and determination to break out of your confinement rather than to destroy yourselves with in-fighting. Now is also the time to break out of the mental confinement that prevents you from establishing your sovereignty, territorial integrity, and political independence.
I believe that now is the time for Hamas to lead the way toward an alternative future that accepts the present realities and at the same time shows the world the pride and resilience of your people. Now is the time for Hamas to lead Gazans to independence. While this might be called a “three-state solution,” such a condition may be only temporary until the West Bank can also assert its independence and reunification talks can begin. But for now, this present day, the time is ripe for you to create your own terms for independence.
There is no hope of a “one-state solution” that combines Israel with Gaza and the West Bank. Also in today’s reality, with the USA supporting Israel unconditionally, and with Israel making unjust demands as preconditions to a “two-state solution,” there is no practical hope for an agreement to be reached with Israel. Israel will not agree to any arrangement of a two-state solution in which they do not control the terms. Today the reality is that Israel has successfully divided Gaza and the West Bank politically and co-opted the political conditions of the West Bank.
Therefore, the only available alternative route on the road map to peace is for the people of Gaza, led by Hamas, to take their destiny in their own hands and set out on your own on the road to independent sovereignty. Do not wait for anyone to give you permission to do this. Such permission will not come, and indeed will not be deserved just because you ask for it. You must show the entire world by your concrete actions that you are committed to both peace and independence and the world will respond accordingly.
To achieve both peace and independence, you must show yourselves determined and capable of creating your own sovereignty. Based on democratic principles, show that the people are governed by law and not by the rule of individuals or juntas. The rule of law is best demonstrated by the creation and allegiance to a constitution, rather than to a person or party. If Hamas were to demonstrate that it is committed to creating a nation with democratic principles, it would secure the faith and loyalty of the Gazan people for generations.
The commitment and determination for a sovereign nation based on democratic principles must be based on a strict policy and determination for peace. This will be the greatest test of Hamas. It will mean a certain amount of determination not to strike back at Israel when Israel can be guaranteed to attempt to provoke violent response in order to undermine the credibility of Gazan independence. But, if on the one hand Gazans led by Hamas can show the world that they are committed to building an indigenous democratic governance, and on the other hand that they are determined to do it peacefully, then the world will come to the aid of Gaza when it previously has been reluctant to do so.
What do I mean when I say democracy? It is relatively simple. There are three dimensions to democracy and each dimension has two poles making six primary factors:
The Axis of Sovereignty: 1. The people are sovereign. 2. The people exercise their sovereignty by the rule of law not individuals, cliques, or juntas.
The Axis of Self-Rule: 3. The people govern by majority rule. 4 The majority rule is constitutionally limited by minority rights.
The Axis of Protection against Tyranny: 5. The governance system has a separation of powers so no one branch or group has all the power. 6. The governance system has checks and balances to prevent the abuse of power when a single branch becomes tyrannical.Along these three axes, the dimensions of democracy may be measured and plotted.