Date: Fri, 5 Oct 2001
One could wonder what makes me write a letter to Hamas. The reason is that, in spite of important and fundamental differences separating me from Hamas, we do have some common points. Another reason is that I dream of the day in which the Palestinian people and the Israeli people will brotherly live side by side in peace, cooperation and shared prosperity, a dream which is not shared by HAMAS. In order to reach such a day, each of the two people, must have evolved to accept and desire the necessity of making from this dream a reality. This necessitates the unity of the Israeli people around the purpose of the realisation of the dream, and the unity of the Palestinian people around the purpose of realising this dream. Therefore, the unity of the Palestinian people is important to me, and therefore the unity between Hamas and the PLO is important to me. Though I am Jewish by birth, I am not writing this message as a Jew. I am writing it as a human being. As such I am close to all human beings, I am close to you. I will first state the points on which we do agree: I believe that Israel should stop its barbaric repression on the West bank, East Jerusalem and the Ghaza strip, and should stop treating the Arab citizens of Israel as second class citizens.. I believe that Israel should evacuate the territories and return to its pre-1967 boundaries. This should be done unconditionally, and should imply dismantling all the Jewish settlements built after 1967. I believe in the right of return of the Palestinian refugees. ----------------------------------------------------------- I differ with Hamas on three points which I will discuss in what follows. The first is that of a strategy for success. The second is that of the recognition of Israel within its pre-1967 borders. The third is the indiscriminate use of violence. -------------------------------------------------------------------------- A STRATEGY FOR SUCCESS. I will not discuss this matter within concepts of right and wrong. They are somewhat irrelevant. Right did not always get the upper hand. It is enough to contemplate the defeat of the Arabs in Spain. It was also a defeat for world civilisation. In my opinion, and the opinion of many, it would have been right had the Arab won the day. Right failed and nobody now, ever contemplates a return of the Arab rule in Spain. Nobody in his right mind would suggest a Jihad movement aiming at the return of the Arab rule in Spain. The Arab defeat was not temporary. It was definitive to last for still more centuries to come. Since right may fail, it is worthwhile to concentrate on a strategy of success rather then just on what is right. The fact is that there is no law of nature ensuring that all just causes have to be victorious. In order not to interrupt the argument, the example of a just cause that could have been won but was lost for ever, is left to an appendix. It is not enough that a cause be just. There must exist (in the long-term if not immediately) an actual or potential combination of forces, powerful enough to win the battle. And even that is not enough. There must also be a strategy that is likely to join together the diverse elements of that combination. Even then the victory is not yet sure. There must be proper tactics promoting initiatives at the proper moment and exploiting every opportunity to reinforce the unity in its own ranks and the disunity in the ranks of the adversary. The Importance of Correct Aims Note that the mention is of 'correct aims' and not 'Just aims'. By correct aims is meant aims that are as close as possible to 'Just' aims, but have a fair chance of success, chances which would be lacking if they were any closer to the 'Just aims'. Differentiating between correct aims and just aims is absolutely primordial. It makes the difference between success and failure. The fact is that, by defining the aims, you automatically define your actual friends and enemies as well as your potential friends and enemies. Defining the aims is therefore deciding what is the combination of forces that can be mobilised to struggle for their success. If, with the best leadership applying the best tactics, this combination is too weak to ensure the victory of the cause, there must be a 'soul searching' reevaluation of the aims. The aims must not be abandoned. They have to be modified, as slightly as possible and as much as necessary, so that in their new form it be possible to mobilize such a combination of forces that, with a proper leadership, victory would be a likely result. What are the forces in presences: without distinguishing between friends, enemies, potential friends and potential enemies, we can list the following: The Palestinian people, the Israeli people, the Arab and Muslim governments, the Arab and Muslim peoples, the European governments, the European peoples, the US government, the US people, the rest of the world governments and the rest of world peoples. Of all those forces which are those that Hamas can mobilise, and what is the strength of these forces? The most important force is that of the Palestinian people. Only a part of the Palestinian people approves of Hamas objectives. Many Palestinians would agree to settle for the pre-1967 boundaries. However, and for the sake of the argument, let us suppose that Hamas succeed in getting the support of all the Palestinian people. Let us also suppose it gets the support of the Islamic and Arabic people all over the world. Most of these people are far away. Their standard of life, for most of them is low. Their strength is not great. As to their governments, they are in part subservient to the West. Their industries are negligible. They are not about to be able to provide Hamas with planes tanks and submarines. On the other hand, no Western country is prepared to go as far as denying to Israel the right of existence. Once more, I am not dealing with what is right or wrong. There is no hope to get the sympathy of whatever small fraction of the Israeli public opinion for a policy centered on denying to Israel the right to exist. This point will turn out to be pivotal. In short, by rejecting the pre-1967 boundaries, Hamas can only ensure the complete isolation of the Palestinians. Their supporters have little strength. However, by accepting the boundaries of pre-1967, and by following the strategy I will suggest, the chances of success for the Palestinians become overwhelming, and in not too far away future. In addition, it opens the prospects for a Palestinian internal UNITED FRONT. Now, if HAMAS insist on rejecting the pre-1967 borders, if Hamas insist on a solution which would imply expelling all the Jews which arrived in historic Palestine before 1948, if HAMAS insist on the recovery of the historic Palestine for the inhabitants before 1948 and their descendants, I will not discuss whether the demand is just or not. I will only ask HAMAS to produce a strategy capable to realise their aim. Trust in God is not enough a good strategy. The Spanish Arabs did have trust in God. Still they lost the battle. Nobody has the right to say he knows what is the will of GOD. Obviously the will of GOD was not the victory of the Arabs in Spain. No member of HAMAS can state that HE KNOWS that the will of GOD is the recuperation by the Arab population of all of historic Palestine. Possibly, the will of GOD might be that those who fight for the rights of the Palestinian make an effort to produce the best strategy, based on the most practically realisable aims. Hamas has not produced a strategy capable of mobilising a coalition having the strength to ensure the victory of its aims. INDISCRIMINATE VIOLENCE A subjugated people has the right to fight for its liberation. I therefore do not contest Hamas' right, or that of any other Palestinian organisation, to struggle for the liberation of the occupied territories, even if it implies the recourse to force and violence. However, the recourse to indiscriminate acts of violence, which are likely to kill innocents, is equivalent to expressing enimity not only to the Israeli leadership and its armed forces, but to all the Israeli population. Indiscrimination means terrorism. Attacking exclusively military objectives, would transform Hamas from a terrorist organisation into a respectable movement of resistance. Even those who, like me, are opposed to violence (particularly the violence of occupation) would then consider HAMAS as deserving respect for being a resistance organisation fighting for the independence of its people. If only for strategical reasons, terrorism is a grave mistake. In a situation in which HAMAS is unable to mobilise a coalition of forces with enough strength, the indiscriminate use of violence alienates the public opinion of all peoples in the West. It allows the West to maintain a policy of sympathy towards Israel. Let us suppose that HAMAS would come up with the following declaration: We proclaim the inalienable right of the Palestinian people to fight for its national independence and for the complete evacuation by Israel of the territories it occupies in Palestine. To that effect, HAMAS will direct its action against all Israeli military forces. HAMAS will be careful to ensure that its actions will not hurt innocent people. As to the settlers in the Jewish settlements built after 1967, they be safe unless they carry a gun or whatever other arm. Those settlers who will abstain from any aggressive act against the Palestinian population, will not be the object of our attacks. They will be considered as unwelcome temporary guests whose security will depend on their good behaviour, until such day when their settlements will be dismantled. Such a declaration would be appreciated by the world public opinion. What would HAMAS lose in abstaining from terrorist acts (I mean indiscriminate). It would lose the possibility of terrorising the Israeli population. I submit that this would not be a loss. On the contrary, it would be a valuable gain. When Israeli soldiers die while implementing the Israeli policy of occupation and repression, the whole Israeli population wonders if the occupation is indeed necessary. Those soldiers are the sons of Israeli families. Their death affect the Israeli population as much as the death of Israeli civilians. But the implication is different. It points to the fact that it is the occupation which is under attack. So, no occupation, no attacks, becomes a reasonable conclusion. But when there is an indiscriminate attack which kills Israeli outside of the occupied territories, the Israeli conclusions become different. The Israeli then think that, since those indiscriminate attacks originate from the territories, Israel should better keep control of these territories. Such indiscriminate attacks is what Sharons needs to build more settlements, to justify a stronger policy of repression, to convince the West that terrorism in Israel has this in common with terrorism by Ben Laden: they both are indiscriminate and should both be equally fought. Indiscriminate attacks, have no political gains. Attacks restricted to the military, would see the fall of Sharon. Part (2) will soon follow. ------------------------------------------------------------------ OPEN LETTER TO HAMAS (PART 2) In part 1, I dealt with matters of strategy and indiscriminate violence. Without considering what is morally right or wrong, I indicated that 'indiscriminate violence' is strategically counterproductive. I also indicated that a strategy based on the recovery for the Arab population of all historical Palestine, implying the disappearance of Israel, is a strategy of isolation, a strategy of failure. I think there is no possibility for Palestine, in any foreseeable future, to build a winning coalition based on a pre-1948 Palestine that excludes all the Jews who came after 1948. However, for the sake of the argument, let us suppose that, somehow, HAMAS succeeds in mustering a coalition with the needed strength to defeat Israel in spite of whatever support Israel would receive from its powerful friends. Then, I must remind you the Biblical story of Samson. He was held prisoner in a temple. One day, when the temple was full of his enemies, he pushed pillars aside and the whole building crumbled killing all those who were in, while Samson shouted "on me and my enemies". The relevance of that biblical story is that Israel is in possession of atomic bombs. I have no doubt that, were Israel to be cornered and face a defeat threatening its existence, a leader like Sharon would have no qualms to use them on 'me and my enemies'. The Palestinian victory would turn out to be the complete massacre of two peoples, and could affect other Arab countries in the middle east. Therefore, be it because, with your aims, you cannot build a winning coalition, or be it because Israel possess atomic bombs, you have to reevaluate your strategy. An Israel armed with atomic bombs, cannot just be eradicated. HAMAS, do you have an answer to that? Have you thought of that? It is clear that a return to pre-1948 conditions with the expulsion of all Jews who came after that date, is an impossible solution, however right or wrong it might be. A strategy that does not recognise it, is a strategy of isolation and failure. You may as well come to terms with that fact. Besides, the forces available to Hamas were available for the last five decades, and proved inadequate to advance the aim of an Arab Palestine within the pre-1948 conditions (in terms of size and exclusion of the pre-1948 Jewish population). Right or wrong, there is no winning strategy that can achieve such aims. Hamas should try to do the best of this reality. A return to pre-1967 boundaries is a possibility. A return of the refugees is a possibility. I will consider it later in this article. That is the limit of what is obtainable, provided Palestinians have a proper strategy. Now, I will ask you to face the two following visions. Israel, we have demonstrated it, CANNOT be eliminated. The best the Palestinians can hope is a return to the pre-1967 boundaries. Whatever vision we have for the future, it has to accommodate that fact. 1) One vision rejects the reality. This entails perpetuating and increasing the misery in which Palestinians are living, without any hope of achieving the aim of a pre-1948 Palestine emptied of the post-1948 Jews. It is a view leading to failure and disaster. 2) The second view recognises the restrictions on the aims which result from the necessity of building a winning combination of forces, and recognises the importances of the atomic bomb factor. The requirement for a winning combination of forces is enough to restrict the aims to pre-1967 boundaries. This is all the more true with the atomic factor. But even the lesser aim, that of pre-1967 boundaries between two independent states, Palestine and Israel. is not easy to achieve. It requires a proper strategy. The political forces in presence are those of the Israeli leadership and those of the Palestinian leadership. It is a fact that the Israeli leadership is not at all interested in the pre-1967 boundaries. They thrive on the Palestinian terrorism to justify the necessity of occupation and that of increasing the number of settlements. A Palestinian strategy must be such as to force thy Israeli leadership to abandon its criminal policies and accept the pre-1967 boundaries and accept the existence of an independent Palestinian state. This strategy will be the object of part 3 of this open letter -------------------------------------------------------------------- OPEN LETTER TO HAMAS (PART 3) To simplify the writing I will design by "Hamas's aim" the recuperation by the Palestinians of all the territory of Historic Palestine as it existed before partition, and which would exclude all the jews that emmigrated there since then. This aim is explicit in Hamas' webpage In the previous parts of the Open letter, it was demonstrated that Hamas' aim cannot be achieved for two reasons: 1) it is not possible to muster a WINNING coalition of forces supporitng this aim. 2) Israel's possession of atomic bombs makes it impossible to eradicate her. Israel is here to stay. I challenge Hamas to find a flaw in the preceding. I will therefore proceed on the assumption that, right or wrong, Israel is a reality for as long as it desires to remain a separate state, be it Jewish or really secular and non-ethnical. Just now it is a Jewish state. It is an ethnic state which discriminates against its Israeli Arab citizens. Since the pre-1948 boundaries are unachievable, we must consider the pre-1967 boundaries for an independent Palestine state which would be for the Palestinians quite an improvement on the present situation. Can the Palestinian muster a winning coalition of forces to realise this aim? I think it is possible, but I think that nobody in Palestine is doing it. (to simplify, writing "doing it" will design working to achieve an independent Palestine state within the pre-1967 borders) Hamas does not "do it" because Hamas has not come to terms with the reality that Israel is here to stay. The Palestinian Authority is trying to "do it", but is falling in all the traps laid in its way by the Israeli govenrment. PA thinks that only the world public opinion, and the US government, can be of help in achieving the pre-1967 aim. In "doing it", and to prove to the US its good will, it accepts compromise after compromise, and is now ready to accept that the settlements not be dismantled. It also indicated that it is prepared to make more compromises. The fact is that Israel is a proxi for the US. The US wants it to remain powerful, and dominating the region. That would mean a US domination on the region. There are times at which, for temporary reasons, the US seems to be ready to better support the Palestinian aspirations. The PA is betting on that, and feels reinforced in the belief it is pursuing the correct policy, that of obtaining US' s help against Israel. It is a mirage. It seems real at some periods of time, and then reveals its illusory nature. NO WINNING COMBINATION CAN BE MUSTERED ON THE BASE OF AN ESSENTIAL ROLE FOR THE US. Even with such limited aim as that of the pre-1967 boundaries, the task does not seem easy. I am proposing a strategy which, in three steps, will reach the following final aim: A Palestine having for boundaries those at pre-partition time, which would be a non-ethnic state. It would be the state of all its citizens, without discriminating between Jews or Arabs, or any other ethnic group. It will include all its actual population, inclusive of all the Jews that have immigrated into it, and recognising the right of return of the Palestinian refugees. This strategy in three steps can succeed only if it is adopted in a spirit of moral integrity for the long term existence of the country. Strategy for STAGE I The combination of forces on which the PA relies "to do it", has a major flaw. It relies on the hope that US can be made amenable to support the PA in its efforts at "doing it". But if we take away the US from the combination of possible forces, the PA seems to remain in a desperately weak position. This is indeed very true. There is therefore a necessity to include a force, to replace that of the US. I propose to include the Israeli Jewish population as a major force supporting the aim of a pre-1967 independant Palestine. And I do have a strategy that can achieve that. Here I will open a bracket to speak about my personal experience with Arabs and Jews. It throws a light on the practicality of the strategy I suggest. I was born in Egypt and lived there long years. I have come to mix with Egyptians and to build personal relations with some of them. The saying, so common in the foreign communities, that "Arabs are lazy and could not be trusted" sounded ridiculous to me because an Arab was not for me a stereotype invented to justify the exploitation of the Egyptian people. I knew arabs in their blood and flesh. For me they were no more and no less lazy then Jews. They were no more and no less worthy of trust then Jews. I loved them as I loved all peoples. I was impressed by their good nature and their tolerance. That is first hand true knowledge. This is the knowledge that the Israeli do not have. Their knowledge is derived from a media brainwashing, and from feelings of scare encouraged by the Israeli leadership which does not shrink from lying on a large scale. My strategy consist on having Hamas and the PA resort to policies which will result in a de-brainwashing of the Jewish population and in introducting a serious wedge between that population and its Israeli leaders. As well as I know the Arab "in blood and flesh", Hamas has to replace the stereotype of a Jew by the Jew "in blood and flesh", by the de-brainwashed Jew. The partition of Palestine is 53 years old. Ethnic cleansing on a large scale. by the Jews against the Palestinian population, is also 53 years old. In order to believe that it had occured, a Jew must have been at least ten years old a the time, and must have witnessed the cleansing with his own eyes. How many Jews 63 years and older remain in Israel? Certainly quite a small minority. This means that the majority of Jews do not realise that their leaders committed the crime of ethnic cleansing. They do know that their leaders are no angels, but they believe such is the case with the Palestinians. They long for peace amd would accept the pre-1967 boundaries if they could be made to realise that it would mean peace inded. They have been told that the Palestinians would not be satisfied by the pre-1967 boundaries. They may accept it provisorily and then go on with terrorism in order to get the rest of Palestine, including Haifa and Tel-Aviv. While this is not the PA policy, it is Hamas' policy. That means that Hamas' policy, which has unachievable aims, can only result in making it difficult to reach achievable aims. In this respect, the road to "do it" will have to include either: a) a reevaluation by Hamas of the facts, the evidence and the cards it has in its hands, and come to the realistic conclusion that, in view of the impossibility of realising its original aim, it would fight for an indpendent Palestine within the pre-1967 borders. The impact would be the more stronger, and the more powerful in its influence on demystifying the Jewish population, were Hamas to add that it will restrict its attacks on the military objectives only. Were Hamas to do that, it would deserve the respect and admiration of Palestinians and Jews for its contribution to the realisation of the best possible solution for the Palestinians. It would have done its share for a peaceful solution which, in view of the facts of live, is the best Hamas can deliver to the Palestinian the most they can achieve: an independent Palestinian state within the pre-1967 boundaries. Hamas would akso have introduced a first serious wedge between the Israeli leadership and the Jewish population. b) In case Hamas would not take that road, it would then become necesssary to marginalise Hamas. This cannot be done by violence. As long as Hamas enjoys the support of a large Palestinian constituency, Hamas remains unbeatable. But no constituency is stable. If it is possible to convince the Palestinian populaiton of a serious possibility for an independent Palestinian within its pre-1967 boundaries, if the Israeli military proceeds to evacuate the territories and dismantle the settlements, then an insistence by Hamas to proceed with its campaign of terror, will result in a shrinking constituency, leading to the marginalisation of Hamas. Hamas would cease to count. Now a change of policy of Hamas, would not be enough. Even marginalisation of Hamas would not be enough an impact on the Jewish population. PA can do more. Here is a proclamation that PA could do and would contribute to enlarging the gap between the Jewish population and its Israeli leaders: Whatever be the case, I suggest the following as a draft declaration to be issued by the Palestinian authority: Our leadership, in consultation with various representatives of the Palestinian people, have considered aspects of the conflict between Palestinians and Israelis in view to define a road leading to a peaceful resolution which, being acceptable to both parties will not be questioned by future generations. We believe that such a peaceful resolution can be found. At that time, Israelis and Palestinians would live in peace, brotherly and cooperatively. How can we move from here to there, from a state of daily violence to a state of harmonious peace. What stays in our way? VIOLENCE We express most definitely and most clearly our total aversion to violence. Throwing stones is violence, exploding bombs, hurting the population is violence. We are totally against it. However, those are not the most repulsive cases of violence. The Israeli occupation of the Western bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza is violence. Preventing the refugees from exercising their right of return, is violence, destroying houses is violence detaining people without a judicial sentence is violence, stocking atomic bombs is violence against humanity. We are not naive. We do not believe that it is possible today to obtain and implement a mutual renunciation of violence. There are obstacles on the way. The main obstacle is the lack of trust which is also manifested in a desire for extreme security measures. We must accept that there is a great difference between what the Palestinian are, and what the Israelis perceive them to be. Unless that gap is closed the cycle of violence will not stop. We therefore proclaim that our goal is to have Palestinians and Israelis live in peace and in brotherly co-operation wherever they be in the Israeli and Palestinian territory. We do recognise that the absence of a showcase of democracy in any Arab state is a matter of concern to the Israeli population. It legitimises fears that an Arab majority in Israel could lead to a dictatorship where the rights of a Jewish minority would not be respected. Such a legitimate fear cannot be dispelled by words. It can only be dispelled by facts. We are therefore determined to transform the power of the Palestinian authority into a model of democracy, even more advanced than that enjoyed by the Israelis in Israel. We will build a state in which no arbitrary act would be acceptable. All activities of the government must be sanctioned by law, all the individuals whatever their authority must be respectful of the law, and the law must derive from a progressive constitution second to no other constitution in the world. The evacuation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza by the Isreli army, will create conditions allowing the acceleration of a process of democratisation. But we will start the process from this very day. We will revise the teaching in our schools and university. We will make sure that the condemnation it should contain of the Israeli repression, of its occupation of the West bank and Gaza, of the maintenance of the Jewish settlements, will not obscure our admiration for the contributions the Jewish people has made in arts, science and in the spirit of humanism. We hope that Israel will follow suit and will make sure their books and textbooks do mention the Arabs contributions to mathematics, chemistry, medicine, literature and poetry. The books should also mention the tolerance the Jews enjoyed in the Arab countries and in Spain when it was under Arab rule. We will try to unify the Palestinian people, including the Palestinian refugees, including Hamas and other organisations so as to achieve an unanimous support on the necessity of democratisation of our authority, the necessity for both sides to put a term to violence as previously described. We are not giving away any right. We just want to get these rights while working hand in hand with an enlightened Israeli people. We express the hope that, together with the efforts of all the Jews who already have reached the conclusion that peace with Palestinians is a possibility and a necessity, we will all succeed in convincing the rest of the population that Palestinians want to live in Peace with Israelis. Before asking the misinformed Israelis to do their job, we should do ours. It is our dream, our realisable dream, to have the Israeli people and the Palestinian people, proceed hand in hand in developing a brotherly relation to the benefit of peace and the economic progress of all the inhabitants of our two states. It is our dream to treat any future Israeli resident in Palestine as a brother and have any Palestinian resident in Israel treated the same way. We intend to make from that dream a reality. Once the PA takes a clear commitment to future brotherly relations with the Israelis, and specially if Hamas, in a better understanding of its situation, revises its aims, then a Sharon govenrment, or any other like his, will either have to implement a policy for peace, or leave the way to a better government. Obviously the peace movement would be exceedingly reinforced by such positions as suggested to the PA and to Hamas. The responsibility of the PA and Hamas towards the Palestinian people is enormous. Not to follow this road is tantamount to betray the Palestinian people. The intefada would continue till a clear determination is expressed by israel to work for wn agreement within the frame of the pre-1967 boundaries as a prelude to a peace solution recognising an independent Palestine within the pre-1967 boundaries. But once that solution is reached, I predict that the majority of the Palestinian people in the terrritories, will express its satisfaction in no uncertain ways. If then Hamas remains opposed to that solution, against the will of the people, and if Hamas tries to sabotage that peace by pursuing acts of terrorism in the Israeli territory, the PA will certainly resort to its police force to combat Hamas. Is Hamas ready to go on a road against the will of the Palestinian people? I doubt it. Strategy for Stage 2 Peace has been achieved on the basis of an independant Palestine within the pre-1967 boundaries. Stage 2 will concentrate on building the Palestinian institutions and on building co-operation between the two states and developing friendly neighbouring relations. For almost a century, there had been a strong animosity between the French and the German peoples. The hate between them had increased as each of the wars between them became more and more cruel and devastating and resulted in greater numbers of victims, literally millions. Today there is no animosity between the two populations. There are no standing armies at their boundaries. It can be crossed in both ways without having to produce a passport. It is in a sense a dream come true. A dream, because, for a long time, it was considered impossible. The impossible can become possible. It is a matter of proper conditions and creating new realities. Similarly, new realities can open the door to friendly relations between the two states. Introducing in both states, in the curriculum of studies, texts and programs designed to develop the friendship between the two peoples would be a first tep. Exchanging students, nurses and physicians, would be a second step. Offering scholarships to the nationals of the other state would be certainly appreciated. Encouraging the tourism between the two states would be of help. Organising tours of theatre goups, symphony groups and all kinds of cultural exchanges between the two states could be encouraged. Later, a complete apology by an Israeli government of a new kind, for the ethnic cleansing of 1948, would do wonders. Trust between the two countries would increase considerably, were Palestine to adopt a truely democratic constitution and make of it an implemented fact of life. The rule of law, within the respect of the constitution, must become a reality. Strategy for Stage 3 Stage 3 should result in a volunrary fusion of the two countries Palestine and Israel. If both countries are democratic, no minority should fear the rule of the majority. Arabs in a minority will have the right of practicing their traditions, will not be discriminated against. Likewise, Jews in a minority would be able to practice their Jewishness just as well as they do it in the US as a minority. They would not be discriminated against. The one state would then be a state for all its citizens. But a voluntary fusion between the two states, and the creation of one Palestinian state in which all citizens, Jews and Palestinians feel at home, request that each of the two states, just before fusion would have been secular states for some time. Given the choice between keeping Israel as a state for its Jewish population, and living within the borders of an Islamic state ruled by the Islamic law, most Jews would prefer to keep their separate state of Israel. Similarly, were the rule of the unified state to be that of the orthodox Jews, were the laws to be strictly derived form the Jewish religion according to the Jewish orthodox traditions, most Arabs would prefer to keep their separate Palestinian state. However, as secular states, the two legislations could be close enough and acceptable to both populations. This does not prevent the constitution and the legislation derived form it, to be inspired by the moral values of the two religions. It is a fact that most Christian countries, after having experienced religious rule, found it more acceptable to move to a secular regime. Religion is divisive. Under religious Christian rule, Jews and Muslims would feel discriminated against. SImilarly, under Islamic religius rule, Jews and Christians would feel second class citizens. Hamas could play an important role in making sure that the rule, though secular, does not conflict with the high moral standards of Islam, and do not prevent any Muslim to practice his religion. A lot more can be added to the whole open letter. The intention is to open a dialogue, to hasten the time when Palestine will be independent, though within the 1967 borders. I did not deal with the important question of the Palestinian refugees. Their right of return must be accepted in principle. Its implementation wil become more and more possible, on more and more generous terms during Stage 2, while the friendly relations are developed to the point of erasing any fear from one population towards the other. Clement Leibovitz #56, 3221-119 street Edmonton, Alberta Canada T6J 5K7 Phone: (780) 436 9883 e-mails: websites: