By Hamid Golpira
Palestinian Muslims are ready to live in peace with Jews in Palestine, as long as everyone has equal rights, including the right to vote, which is not the case today.
And Muslims are not opposed to the idea of a Jewish homeland. They just believe that a Jewish homeland should be in Khazaria or somewhere else but not in Palestine.
Everyone is talking about a two-state solution for Palestine, but a one-state solution through a referendum with the participation of all the people living in Palestine — Muslims, Christians, Jews, and people with other belief systems — would be the best solution.
However, all of the disenfranchised Palestinians would have to be given the right to vote for it to be a valid referendum.
And for that to happen, all of the 5.8 million Palestinians in the diaspora would have to be granted the right of return and the right to vote in the referendum.
If that happened, the plebiscite could be organized.
However, most of the Jewish Israelis are opposed to this proposal because they would then be in the minority.
There are about 2.6 million Palestinians living in the West Bank, about 1.7 million Palestinians living in Gaza, and about 1,662,100 Palestinians living in East al-Quds (Jerusalem) and the territories of Palestine occupied before the Six-Day War of 1967.
Thus, there are a total of 5,962,100 Palestinians living in Greater Palestine.
As of May 31, 2013, there were a total of 6,054,700 Jews living in Greater Palestine and the occupied Golan Heights, according to Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics.
As of May 31, 2013, there were also 318,200 people who are neither Jewish nor Palestinian living in Israel according to Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics. These “others” are defined as “non-Arab Christians, members of other religions, and persons not classified by religion in the [Israeli] Ministry of the Interior.”
So the entire area controlled by Israel — Greater Palestine, the Golan Heights, which rightfully belongs to Syria according to international law, and the Shebaa Farms, which rightfully belongs to Lebanon according to international law — has a total population of 12,335,000 and is approximately 49.09 percent Jewish, 48.33 percent Palestinian, and 2.58 percent others.
And there will be an Arab majority in Greater Palestine shortly after December 2014, according to a report published by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics in December 2010.
“The number of Palestinians (Arabs) will reach that of Jewish residents by the end of 2014, around 6.1 million, at the current growth rate,” the report said.
But if all of the Palestinians in the diaspora returned, the occupied territories would have a population of about 18,135,000, with approximately 11,762,100 Palestinians, 6,054,700 Jews, and 318,200 people who are neither Jewish nor Palestinian.
Then the region would be approximately 64.86 percent Palestinian, 33.39 percent Jewish, and 1.75 percent others.
Thus, over 60 percent of the MPs in the new parliament of the new country would be Palestinian, if a referendum were to be held to determine the final status of Palestine, followed by a parliamentary election.
This is the road to peace, if anyone wants to take it.
Some people will say that the Palestinian Muslim majority of the new country would oppress the Jewish minority.
However, this is not what history shows.
Muslims and Jews lived together in peace and harmony for centuries before the establishment of the Zionist regime, and the Holy Quran says Jews are People of the Book, which means they are monotheists with a book of true revelation and thus must be accorded due respect.
And during all those centuries, there were many pogroms in Europe, and Jews actually fled from Europe to the Islamic world so they could live in peace.
On several occasions between 1490 and 1492, Sultan Bayezid II of the Ottoman Empire sent a fleet under the command of Kemal Reis to the Andalucia region of Spain to save the Sephardic Jews from the oppression of the Spanish Inquisition and allowed them to settle in the territories of the Ottoman Empire.
Kemal Reis also rescued Muslims during his trips to Spain, since they were also being persecuted.
The Alhambra Decree, which was issued on March 31, 1492 by the joint Catholic monarchs of Spain — Queen Isabella I of Castile and King Ferdinand II of Aragon — ordered the expulsion of Jews from the kingdoms of Castile and Aragon and their territories and possessions by July 31, 1492.
In response to the Alhambra Decree, Sultan Bayezid II issued proclamations ordering Ottoman citizens to welcome the Jewish refugees from Spain. He also allowed the Sephardic Jews to become Ottoman citizens.
In 1506, Admiral Kemal Reis returned to Andalucia and rescued more Spanish Jews and Muslims, and then transported them to the safety of the Ottoman Empire.
Albert Einstein, who believed Jews and Muslims could live together and opposed the Zionist project to establish Israel in Palestine, wrote in 1939: “There could be no greater calamity than a permanent discord between us and the Arab people. Despite the great wrong that has been done us [in the Western world], we must strive for a just and lasting compromise with the Arab people… Let us recall that in former times no people lived in greater friendship with us than the ancestors of these Arabs.”
If some Jews still do not want to live together in peace and prefer to live apart, then they should look for somewhere outside of Palestine to establish a Jewish homeland.
Perhaps they could find some empty, unpopulated tract of land to live on.
Or they could go to Russia and live in the Jewish Autonomous Oblast of the Russian Far East.
Or perhaps they could move back to Khazaria, since it seems that most of the Ashkenazi Jews — but not the Sephardic, Mizrahi, and Maghrebi Jews — are of Khazar origin and have little or no Hebrew ancestry.
According to a report published in the October 2003 issue of the American Journal of Human Genetics, 52 percent of Levites of Ashkenazi origin have a genetic signature that originated in Central Asia. The population geneticists who prepared the report said that the source of this genetic signature could have been the Khazars, a Turkic people who established a powerful state between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea that flourished from the seventh century to the tenth century.
They formulated the hypothesis based on the fact that the signature, a set of DNA variations known as R1a1, is common in the region north of Georgia where the kingdom of Khazaria was located.
In about the year 740 CE, Bulan, the king of Khazaria, converted to Judaism, and afterwards most of the Khazars also accepted Judaism.
Itil, which is located about 40 kilometers south-southwest of Astrakhan, was the capital of Khazaria from the middle of the 8th century until the end of the 10th century.
In Supplication 27 (“For the People of the Frontiers”) of the Saheefah, Imam Zain al-Abideen as-Sajjad (peace be upon him), the son of Imam Hussein (peace be upon him), included the Khazars on a list of enemies on the borders of the Islamic world.
In his 1976 book The Thirteenth Tribe, Arthur Koestler presented historical sources that provide evidence that Ashkenazi Jews are the descendants of the Khazars.
Dr. Eran Elhaik, a population geneticist at the School of Public Health of Johns Hopkins University, launched the Khazar DNA Project in 2012.
In an article entitled “The Missing Link of Jewish European Ancestry: Contrasting the Rhineland and the Khazarian Hypotheses” that was published in the online version of the journal Genome Biology and Evolution on December 14, 2012 and updated on January 16, 2013, Elhaik wrote: “Alternatively, the ‘Khazarian Hypothesis’ suggests that Eastern European Jews descended from the Khazars, an amalgam of Turkic clans that settled the Caucasus in the early centuries CE and converted to Judaism in the 8th century… Our findings support the Khazarian hypothesis and portray the European Jewish genome as a mosaic of Near Eastern-Caucasus, European, and Semitic ancestries, thereby consolidating previous contradictory reports of Jewish ancestry.”
In an interview with the Israeli newspaper Haaretz published on December 28, 2012, Elhaik said that the various groups of European and non-European Jews have no blood or family connections, adding, “The various groups of Jews in the world today do not share a common genetic origin. We are talking here about groups that are very heterogeneous and which are connected solely by religion.”
His findings show that the dominant element in the genetic makeup of European Jews is Khazar, and this component is the most dominant in the genome of Central European Jews, at 38 percent, and Eastern European Jews, at 30 percent.
He also noted that the “genome of European Jews is a mosaic of ancient peoples and its origin is largely Khazar.”
In the Genome Biology and Evolution article, Elhaik also wrote: “The religious conversion of the Khazars encompassed most of the empire’s citizens and subordinate tribes and lasted for the next 400 years until the invasion of the Mongols. At the final collapse of their empire (13th century), many of the Judeo-Khazars fled to Eastern Europe and later migrated to Central Europe and admixed with the neighboring populations.”
However, since other peoples now live in the territory that was once Khazaria, perhaps it wouldn’t be a good idea for Ashkenazi Jews to move back to that region.
At the end of the day, it would be better for everyone to live together in peace in one state in Palestine.
And the only way to achieve that goal would be to hold a referendum to create such a state.
And if the Israelis and their supporters try to block the referendum, the Palestinians and their supporters should use the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign to press the issue of the referendum.
Every effort should be made to organize the referendum so there can be one state in Greater Palestine where everyone — Muslims, Christians, Jews, and people with other belief systems — can live in peace with equal rights.