Skip to content

THE COPTIC NATIONALISTS’ 7-POINT PRINCIPLED POSITION ON THE ARAB-ISRAELI CONFLICT

May 14, 2013

__________

It is mandatory that politically mature, responsible Copts think carefully and determine where they stand on the Arab-Israeli conflict. Their objective must be a principled position that is both moral and able to serve our national interest in a modern world that expects politicians to have a say – the right say – in major international political issues.

In 7 points, the Coptic Nationalists present their brave position in relation to the Arab-Israeli conflict.

No one can accuse our position as being non-ethical or amoral.

Our position besides being moral serves the best interests of the Copts.

__________

The Copts are not part of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – we are neither Palestinian (nor Arab) nor Israeli, and we should not be expected to find a solution to such a complicated conflict or to have a detailed position on it.  However, the conflict is often thrust on our way and frequently used either to intimidate us or block our cause. The Copts are confused over the issue of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and fear from a backlash if they tread an independent position from the mainstream in Egypt and the region – this fear paralyses them from formulating a policy that is both moral and in the best interest of the Coptic nation. The lack of clear, well thought of, position on the conflict often leads the Copts to express hasty views, some of them blatantly anti-Semitic or anti-Palestinian, or take unwise actions, however good the intention is, which may be injurious to our religious and political interests.  It is mandatory then for politically mature, responsible Copts to think carefully and determine where they stand on this subject. Their objective must be a principled position that is both moral and able to serve our national interest in a modern world that expects politicians to have a say – the right say – in major international political issues.

On this expectation, the Coptic Nationalists herewith explain their position vis-à-vis the Arab-Israeli conflict in the following seven-points:

  1. Israel is a legitimate state that has the right to exist. Different parties may disagree on where its final borders should be but there is no one except an anti-Semite who would think that Israel has no right to exist in that part of the world. Israel has been recognised as a legitimate and sovereign state by the United Nations, including Egypt which has signed the 1978 Camp David Accords and the 1979 Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty after a long period of hostilities. Israel has thus ceased to be enemy of Egypt – at least officially – except in the minds of those who do not recognise its right to exist, of which the majority of the Copts do not constitute a part. It must be noted that even the Palestinian National Authority has diplomatic relationship with Israel; accordingly, it comes rich from any of our adversaries criticising the Copts for their recognition of Israel.
  2. The Palestinians also have rights. They have the right to have an independent viable state. We sympathise with the suffering of the ordinary Palestinians who are not motivated by anti-Semitism, and who do not use terrorism in their struggle. They have the right like all other peoples to live in peace and dignity.
  3. We believe that the Two-States Solution is the only moral and practical solution that can meet the just aspirations of both Israelis and Palestinians. This solution implies that both Palestinians and Israelis live in their own independent state alongside each other in peace and security. This is a solution to which all reasonable peoples can subscribe to. In the words of Tony Blair: “The only just way is two states for two peoples.”[1]
  4. We do not believe in either the One State Solution or the Three State Solution. The former pretends to be ideal where both Jews and Arabs live in a one state as equal citizens. It, however, ignores the facts of history, the demography of the area, and the prevailing anti-Semitism of the Middle-East. In fact, this proposed solution, contrary to what it claims to be wanting to serve (i.e., a noble end), works only as a political tool in the hands of those who want to destroy Israel and reduce the Jews to a minority in a Muslim and Arab dominated society. Knowing the political culture of the area, the Jews can never expect an equal status as citizens within such a state; nor can they have a guarantee of their security. The latter solution (Three States Solution) is also defective. This solution aims at the absorption of the West Bank into Jordan and Gaza into Egypt, and by so doing it hopes to get rid of the Palestinian demands for an independent state. This solution has problems that originate in the desire of the Palestinians to have their own state; and also in the refusal of both Jordanians and Egyptians to unite with the Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza, respectively. In fact, such a solution creates more problems than it might solve. It goes without saying that we oppose extremist views from both sides: those who wish to eradicate the Jews in the region and those who want Muslims to be eradicated.
  5. We realise that there are important matters that come with the Two States Solution, such as the exact borders of the two states, the issue of the Jewish settlements in the West Bank, etc., that have no ready answers. These need to be settled by the Israelis and Palestinians themselves through direct negotiations with assistance from the regional and international powers. For this to work, the two sides must genuinely believe in the vision and benefits of the Two State Solution; recognise the right of each other to exist; and acknowledge their mutual interdependence for peace, security and a prosperous future.
  6. We do not want to see Egypt getting into wars with Israel or for this sake any other country for the sake of other peoples, whether Palestinians or else. Egypt’s wars must be dictated by Egypt’s national interests, and must only be defensive when Egypt is attacked or its vital interests threatened.
  7. The Copts must foster without fear strong relationship with Jews and Palestinians alike, those who share with them their worldview and a Middle-Eastern vision for peace, equality and respect for all regardless of religion, race, or language. The Copts must use every possible opportunity, and with all peoples, to advance their legitimate Coptic case as part of that same, noble vision.

[1] ‘The Only Just Way Is Two States for Two Peoples’ By Michael Elliott in the Time Magazine (Thursday, Sept. 02, 2010).

Advertisements
9 Comments leave one →
  1. May 14, 2013 8:08 pm

    Profoundly important statement. It puts Copts in a leadership position, and shows the way for other humane factions in the Middle East to pursue peace. The statement is really the only viable solution for both a New Israel and a New Palestine. However, Israel is not the only one with economic and land contributions to make. For example, the West Bank and Gaza are not geographically viable. Egypt’s Sinai is far from the interests of Cairo, and it would make sense for Egypt to dedicate a portion of the Sinai to link the West Bank and Gaza. If Israel can do it, so can Egypt. In addition economic support has to be provided by not only other Arab countries, but on a world wide basis, so that New Palestine and New Israel can have the best possible chance of not only surviving, but thriving in peace.

  2. May 15, 2013 11:44 am

    “It would make sense for Egypt to dedicate a portion of the Sinai to link the West Bank and Gaza” the same thought crossed my mind.I do agree if the Copts were in charge of Egypt things might be different.
    The main problem isn’t mentioned: “It was never about land”, the origin of the deeply embedded hatred towards the Jews isn’t in the Palestinian or Israeli soil. It’s in the Koran and as long as Islam doesn’t evolve like Christianity did and leave the Crusader mentality in the past where it belongs there will never be a lasting peaceful solution.
    The problem lies there, no where else.

    • May 15, 2013 6:47 pm

      I agree with you, and I would go further. Just as Bible and Torah scholars have put their immutable Scriptures into current context over the ages, so can Islamic scholars. In fact, I believe the majority of qualified Islamic academics will acknowledge that the Quran includes both the peaceful approach of the Mecca verses as well as the war-like ‘conquest’ verses of the Medina portion, and that the two coexist because War and Peace coexist in human reality. However, the majority would agree that Peace is the preferred state, and that the business of building a better world is a constructive process; and by definition, cannot be an endlessly destructive process. What does this mean? It means that the Jihadists, and all too many converts have it wrong. There is no such thing as Holy War. There never was, and never will be. The Knights Templar had it wrong yesterday, and the Jihadists have it wrong today. The spilling of innocent human blood is forbidden in both the Bible and the Quran; yet legions of crazed Christians mounted their horses and brought their armies to ‘conquer’ the Holy Land, leaving waste and destruction in their wake. The Jihadists have taken up the stock and trade of the Crusaders, using new technology to terrorize, and indiscriminately kill and maim thousands of people. The religions of the perpetuators are different, but the mental confusion is the same. There is ample evidence that shows this mistaken notion of ‘Jihad’ has caused thousands of Muslims to die at the hands of Muslims. Everyday, in Muslim countries, there are scores of atrocities committed by who? Muslims. Does that make sense? A minority is doing this. The majority believes that the Almighty created the entire World and everything in it. Was the Almighty wrong to create such a world? What right does anybody have to put themselves in a seat of judgement over others, such that they can choose who is to live and who is to die? For example; what right do Muslim Egyptians have to attack fellow citizens, simply because they are Coptic Christians? Where is the outcry, and where are the prosecutions, trials and jailing of those who not only take the law into their own hands, but in fact, make up their own laws to satisfy their fears and prejudices?

      The Crusaders are no more, and the Jihadists will be no more. The Middle East is full of the noise of Jihad from many quarters, but its a doctrine which is not founded on a true understanding of the Quran. Those, who say it is, are opportunists and engaged in the pursuit of power. The world exists for all of us, not just Muslims; such as it was created by the Almighty.

      As far as Egypt goes, there was a lot of world wide support for the peoples’ revolution which purportedly sought freedom, equality and justice for every Egyptian; regardless of his/her economic, social and/or religious background. The outcry for justice was overwhelming. Today, Egypt basks not in victory, but in silence and is struggling under economic and social hardship. What we see is not equality, but one faction trying to oppress the other. For the most part, Islamists try to wheedle, threaten and cajole the populace into believing that there can only be one Egypt; and that is an Islamic one. Is that realistic? As Morsi ducks and dodges the reality of the history and vitality of Copts, Christians and even the Jews of Egypt; the World sits back and watches to see what kind of ‘democracy’, what kind of freedom and justice will emerge. So far, its not promising.

  3. Dioscorus Boles permalink*
    May 16, 2013 9:25 am

    Today, I received a comment on email from BlairSupporter: I post it here on his request:

    Reading this, the phrase “walking on eggshells” came to mind.

    It’s an excellent post with seven clear points on the position of Egypt’s Coptic Christians. It details such common sense it should hardly need saying. One of the reasons it does need saying is that there are so many who suffer from a “victim mentality”. Symptomatic of that “illness” is an inability to grasp that BOTH sides (Israeli/Palestinian conflict particularly, but not solely) have defensible arguments. That is manifested in an approach which says – if you are not “with me” 100% then you are against me 101%.
    Although likely to rile the 101%-ers I have to say that I have sympathy with the analysis of commenter MFS on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. It is not (in the main) about land. Sadly, much of the world seems to think it is. Hatred is contagious.

    BlairSupporter

  4. Dioscorus Boles permalink*
    May 16, 2013 9:35 am

    Dear nmichaelross, MFS – The Other News and BlairSupporter,

    Thank you for your excellent comments. I have decided not to comment on comments but I value them very much and learn from them a lot. I am very grateful.

    As BlairSupporter has said, it is like “walking on eggshells”! In the Arab-Israeli Conflict – nay, in all conflicts of the Middle East – things are like a minefield: you cannot put your feet anywhere in order to position yourself without a mine or another explodes under your feet! You are bound to anger one or another.

    But I think it is mandatory to take a clear position that is moral and fair and supports a practical solution; and I can’t think of any solution to solve this problem in such terms other than the Two-State Solution!

    But of course it is not up to the Copts to decide how the two partners should solve their conflict. We simply say what we think is right!

    Regards,

    Dioscorus

  5. Dioscorus Boles permalink*
    May 16, 2013 8:00 pm

    So far, I have had the views of three excellent Westerners. I would appreciate the views of Egyptians, Copts and Muslims alike! It’s important!

  6. Dioscorus Boles permalink*
    May 16, 2013 8:54 pm

    For the benifit of those who see this article first time, I will make a summary of the 7-points:

    1. Israel is a legitimate state that has the right to exist.
    2. The Palestinians also have rights.
    3. We believe that the Two-States Solution.
    4. We do not believe in either the One State Solution or the Three State Solution.
    5. Details of the Two States Solution are to be negotiated between Israelis & Palestinians with help from regional and international powers.
    6. We do not want to see Egypt getting into wars with Israel or for this sake any other country for the sake of Palestinians or other Arabs.
    7. Copts must forge strong relationship with all who believe in such a vision, including Jews and Arabs across the world.

  7. Ari permalink
    May 19, 2013 10:30 am

    How refreshing to see this kind of statement by the Coptic people, speaking for themselves in this way.

    • Dioscorus Boles permalink*
      May 19, 2013 11:00 am

      Thank you, Ari.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: