JERUSALEM – The controversial imam behind a proposal to build an Islamic cultural center near Ground Zero has advocated a plan that is widely regarded here as promoting the eradication of Israel as a Jewish state.
In uncovered audio, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf pushes for a “one state” solution of Jews and Arabs sharing the same country.
While the idea may sound moderate to those unfamiliar with Mideast politics, such a proposal, which has been touted by Palestinian leaders, is seen by Israel as pressing for its destruction as a Jewish state. The population of Israeli Arabs combined with incoming Palestinians would cause Arabs to outnumber Jews, thus changing the Jewish character of the country.
Speaking at a recorded Australian lecture series in July 2005, Rauf outlined his views on Israel:
“The differences, perhaps, may lie on whether the solution lies in the two-state solution or in a one-state solution. I believe that you had someone here recently who spoke about having a one land and two people’s solution to Israel.
And I personally – my own personal analysis tells me that a one-state solution is a more coherent one than a two-state solution. So if we address the underlying issue, if we figure out a way to create condominiums, to condominiamise Israel and Palestine so you have two peoples co-existing on one state, then we have a different paradigm which will allow us to move forward.”
Such a “one state” solution has been called for in the past by Palestinian and Arab leaders, while Israeli officials have warned it would bring about the country’s destruction.
Hear Rauf’s comments:
In November 2009, Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat proposed the adoption of the one-state solution if Israel didn’t halt Jewish construction in the West Bank.
In 2004, Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei warned that if Israel failed to conclude an agreement with the Palestinians, his government would instead pursue a single, bi-national state.
Also in 2004, Yasser Arafat stated “time is running out for a two-state solution” and warned he may pursue a “one state” solution.
Other Arab leaders, include Muammar Gaddafi of Libya, have called for the “one state” proposal.
Meanwhile, polls show the great majority of Israeli Jews reject a one-state solution on the grounds that it would eradicate Israel as a Jewish state.
Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert argued in 2007 that without a two-state agreement Israel would face “a South African-style struggle for equal voting rights” in which case “Israel [would be] finished.”
He warned the imposition of a “one state” solution would cause the disintegration of Israel by population genocide.
The equation comes from demographics. Millions of Palestinians combining with the current Israeli Arab population would translate into more Arabs than Jews living in one state.