THE COPTIC NATIONALISTS’ 7-POINT PRINCIPLED POSITION ON THE ARAB-ISRAELI CONFLICT
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.”
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
 ‘The Only Just Way Is Two States for Two Peoples’ By Michael Elliott in the Time Magazine (Thursday, Sept. 02, 2010).