I have lived and worked with Palestinians for much of my adult life. When I worship, I usually go to a Palestinian Orthodox Christian Church. I want to see an end to the Middle-East Conflict, and to see the Two States of Israel and Palestine living peacefully together.
The current leadership of the Palestinian Authority is going about this completely wrong. Here are the practical steps necessary to end the conflict and to achieve Statehood. If you actually want to achieve your goal rather than just complaining about it, here is how.
1. In any conflict, there is someone you need to convince in order to win. In this case, it is the United States. The situation may not be fair. The Sykes-Picot Agreement dividing up Arab lands between France and Britain was a tragic mistake after WWI, but we are not turning back the clock. Israel is a reality and there is no possibility of it going away, nor should it. Accept that publically and move forward.
2. Expel Hamas and similar groups from Palestine, and abjure them. Declare yourselves for Peace. Do not allow any attacks on Israel from your territories.
3. I am not concerned with whom you elect to govern yourselves; however, for external relations, all of your representatives should be Palestinian Christians (Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Greek Catholic, Roman Catholic, Anglican, Protestant, etc.), men and women. They should wear crosses or in other ways demonstrate their Christianity. Videos of Palestinian Christians in Church should flood the media. Palestinians were the first Christians, and have been Christian six hundred years longer than they were Muslim. Ramallah, your administrative center, is home to most of the Palestinian families who have migrated to the U.S. Play that connection to the hilt! Bethlehem is in your territory! Use this!
4. Your representatives should speak perfect English, and wear business suits (men) or women’s business attire. No Keffiyeh, no Burqa. Clerical attire is great if they are clergy!
5. Demonstrate that you are a functioning democracy, and that you are a secular state, with Muslim, Christian and Jewish citizens. Make that a talking point.
These are simple steps. Do you want to win Statehood for yourselves? Then go about it rationally and deliberately. This will work.
In šāʾ Allāh إن شاء الله
Steven A. Armstrong
Tutor, Editor, Consultant