In a February 7, 2022 column titled "Peace Is No Longer an Option, But a Necessity" on the Saudi news website Elaph, Palestinian journalist Fadel Al-Manasfeh wrote that peace and coexistence are the only way to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and that this requires concessions by Israel but also a sincere Palestinian recognition of the Jews' right to live by their side. In the column, which was also published two days later on the Palestinian news site Amad Media, Al-Manasfeh suggested to make Jerusalem an apolitical religious capital of peace and coexistence, and did not rule out the option of establishing a binational Israeli-Palestinian state called Isratine, as Libyan leader Mu'ammar Qadhafi proposed in 2002.
Fadel Al-Manasfeh (Source: Elaph.com)
The following is a translation of his column:
"We can no longer contemplate a comprehensive solution in Palestine without speaking of a peace that will satisfy both sides and allow for the establishment of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital. The discourse of exclusion and force of arms will only exacerbate the suffering on both sides.
"The war of racial oppression and apartheid in South Africa lasted a long time, [but] the policy of enslavement and of maintaining the status quo, practiced by the whites against the Africans, brought [the whites] nothing but shame and disgrace. The machine guns and rifles in Congo-Brazzaville, in Sudan and in the two Koreas managed only to divide each of these countries into two states who share the same identity and the same fate.
"Although the situation of the Israelis and Palestinians is different, since they do not share the same [national] identity, religion or fate, Jerusalem was and remains a central issue that prevents reaching a comprehensive peace between the Palestinian Authority and the [Israeli] occupation. Another factor is that the war will not end as long as Hamas refuses to recognize the [state] called Israel, and as long as Israel sees Hamas as nothing but a terror organization that must be firmly [opposed], for otherwise it will not let a single Israeli live in peace, whether [this Israeli] is a fanatic or a human being who is entitled live wherever he wants.
"What if the two sides agree to turn Jerusalem into a religious capital, without determining who it belongs to and involving the political, sectarian, ethnic and theological factors [in this issue]? Can't we imagine Jerusalem – or Al-Quds – as a joint capital of peace and human coexistence, which ensures everyone's rights? Can't we realize the dream of 'Isratine,' advocated by [the late Libyan leader Mu'ammar] Qadhafi [in 2002], which everybody mocked even though it is an idea that has merit?
"Must hundreds of Palestinians die and starve in order to realize the vision of Hamas, which does not regard the Jews as having any place in Palestine? Must hundreds of thousands of Israelis live in fear and in anticipation of rocket attacks from Gaza? Where is the human sentiment in the face of everything that is happening?! How long will we continue on the same paths, which lead to the same results? Until the end of days?
"Peace and coexistence are the only option and the only way to solve the problem of the Middle East. In every other scenario, neither the Israelis nor the Palestinians can impose the rationale of force, violence and racism. Although I have spoken at length about ideas that some may regard as contemptible, these ideas are [in fact] the most realistic. The [independent] state of Palestine will only be announced after considerable Israeli concessions. At the same time, Israeli concessions will not be made unless the [Palestinians] sincerely recognize the Jews' right to live alongside them, and do not in any way exclude them or deny their right to live in the Holy Land."