Let’s start with a little different perspective on this. What is Palestine? It is a small little piece of land on a rather small planet that is part of a little solar system in an inconspicuous part of a little galaxy in one corner of the Universe. Before someone starts rolling their eyes, the so called religious contention over Palestine (or for some Jerusalem and for many the Dome of the Rock) is over what? The disputes really boil down to what is sacred and to Muslims the sacredness of anything is always derived relative to Allah. But Allah is Raab-al-Aalameen, Lord of the Universes. Well with respect to this Universe it is very difficult to say that Palestine amounts to much. And our prophet knew this. Muhammad the Prophet, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, was a very special human being. One of his very famous sayings is “One drop of a Believer’s blood is more precious than the Kaabah”. That is not to say that the Kaabah is not very holy to Muslims. But he wanted us to realize that people are more precious than things, even very holy things. Palestinian’s, make peace now!

We Muslims seem to have completely forgotten this and many other lesson; and we are paying a very heavy price.  Another of the prophet’s famous sayings is : “Get an education even if you have to travel to China”. It would be simple to understand that he meant getting an education should be a very central activity of a Muslim’s life. Yet today Muslim lands are among the most illiterate in the world. With illiteracy comes oppression. In this context I always like to mention Costa Rica, a small country in Central America with very limited resources and no army to defend it. They have over 70% literacy (a full 40% more than most of their neighbors) and they have had no coups and no neighbor has attacked them. Costa Ricans live in peace. The same cannot be said about any of their neighbors; who mostly have oppressive regimes. Education makes a difference. In Palestine health, nutrition and, most important, education of children has been almost completely neglected during the past 40 years. Palestinian’s, make peace now!

So what about Israel? What about the heinous crimes committed by Israel against Palestinians? A long time ago, when many Israeli leaders still had a conscience, Golda Meir said to the Palestinians ” We can forgive you for killing our sons but we cannot forgive you for making our sons kill your sons”. She recognized, as would any thinking moral person, that killing someone makes the killer lose at least some of his own humanity. The vicious cycle of suicide bombings and reprisals are draining the humanity from both Palestinians and Israelis. There are no winners here, only victims. Lets worry a bit more about the loss of our humanity and a little less about exacting pain and suffering in retaliation of our pain and suffering. This vicious circle of killings is destroying the humanity in Israeli’s AND Palestinians.  Palestinian’s, make peace now!

So the peace being offered by Israel is so one sided that it is unacceptable. This has been the Palestinian position throughout time. And the reality is that what Palestinian’s are being offered in peace keeps getting much smaller, it is never getting better. And time continues to pass and children don’t get educated and so each succeeding generation is weaker than the last. We talk about the prophet’s life but in OUR life there is little evidence that we actually practice what his lesson’s were. All Muslims know of Hudaybiyyah. The peace that was offered to Muslims was very one sided. Infact ALL the companions who were with the prophet at that time opposed accepting that peace. Yet the prophet signed the treaty with the Meccan’s. And, as we know, the peace led to an explosion of people joining the ranks of the Muslims and a huge victory and complete dominance of Islam in Arabia and beyond. Why do we now think that the same will not happen in Palestine?  Look, it is real simple. Israel has Arabs in its north, its east, its south and its southwest (and water on its west). It is surrounded by Arabs. What does that make Israel? It makes Israel an ARAB COUNTRY. And this will be true in 50 years and if we have peace this will be true much sooner. We can see signs of this already. Many Israeli’s like Arab food and clothing. Even with all the animosity, there are intermarriage between Jews and Muslims in Israel. Historically 30% of Jews in each generation marry outside their faith. If there is peace Palestine may remain two nations but they will become one people. And this will be the ultimate victory. Palestinian’s make peace now! For the sake of the children’s education, health and nutrition. For the sake of your own humanity. For the sake of everlasting victory. Forget about revenge, forget about hatred, make peace now and trust that Allah will give you victory in peace.

Certainly, one should negotiate to get the best possible terms for peace. Certainly if possible, we should want to have control of Jerusalem and especially of Al-Aqsa mosque. But if it is not possible, this should not be an impediment to peace. Take it as a sign of our collective global weakness and lack of unity. But don’t make that an obstacle to peace. Certainly it would be moral to have reparations and right to return for the refugees who were forced to flee Israel and are still living in refugee camps. But again if we cannot protect or restore their rights we have to hold our heads in shame collectively, but even this should not be an impediment to peace. Islam means submission and in Islam one finds Salaam which is peace. And in peace there is victory. Palestinians, make peace now!