Palestinian intellectual Mudar Zahran is a hated man, both in Jordan and in the Hamas and PA governed territories. If you go looking for his picture online, you’ll find almost exclusively grotesque, Photoshopped vulgar depictions of him in all kinds of insulting positions. He strikes a nerve in the Palestinian body politic, as well as in the Hashamite palace. And yet, in conversation, he sounds both lucid and patriotic. He just refuses to cater to anyone’s delusions, be it Arab or Jew.
Blogger Lior Pasternak has just published an interview with Zahran, parts of which I bring here, because on a day when the Muslim Brotherhood has been declared winner of the Egyptian presidential race, I think it’s crucial to seek out sane, honest Arab voices, to balance out the lies we hear from both Israeli and other leaders on the chances for Jewish-Arab peace in the region.
Zahran stated the most important part of his interview at the end, when he predicted that by the end of the year 2013, God willing, King Abdullah, whom he calls “the only non-Palestinian in Jordan,” will be toppled, and at long last the Palestinians will be free to conduct their lives in a democratic manner in their own country.
Yes, if you’ve been following Zahran on this website, you’re not surprised. He is one of the few sane Arab voices who seek to live alongside a democratic Israel in a democratic Palestinian state east of the Jordan River.
Pasternak phoned Zahran in London, where he has sought shelter from death threats he received in Jordan. His first question touched on the two-state solution, or the “Saudi Plan.”
Zahran said: “I would like to say that the two-state solution being advocated for seven decades by now is obviously not going to work. If it was going to work it would have a long time ago. To conclude, I don’t see a future Palestinian state on any part of Judea and Samaria or even Gaza.”
Zahran thanked the Saudis for their concern for the welfare of the Palestinians, but notes that the fact that 10 years have passed since the initial Saudi plan with nothing to show for it speaks for itself.
“It’s very unlikely that all Arab countries will recognize Israel,” Zahran added. “Because all Arab countries need an enemy to focus their people’s anger at and in this case it’s Israel. So if you take away Israel as their scapegoat, who else will they blame?”
Pasternak then asked what alternative solution was there to the two-state solution.
Zahran asked his interviewer to contemplate the possibility that the King of Jordan falls prey to the Arab Spring tomorrow, and in an election the majority in Jordan, who are Palestinian, will elect “a Palestinian president and a Palestinian prime minister, a Palestinian state and a Palestinian army and a Palestinian security agency, all in Jordan,” where 92 percent of the population are Palestinian.
If that happens, Zahran said, we will suddenly have three Palestinian states: The Palestinian state of Jordan, the Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria, and the Palestinian state ion Gaza.
“It took the Jews 3000 years to establish a state, now the Palestinians will be able to establish three states in 70 years,” he said dryly. “That’s a record.”
Zahran contends that the Palestinian state in Jordan will be better functioning, more desirable and more acceptable than the Palestinian entity “which isn’t even an authority, in Judea and Samaria.”
He said he supports his people, but he does not see a future for the Palestinian Authority west of the Jordan River.
It’s hard to find other Arab voices which even take Zahran seriously, much less support his position. But the fact that in a conflict that often appears as if all the statements being made have been conceived years ago and are just being repeated expertly by ever newer actors – his emergence is nothing short of a miracle.
And we shouldn’t scoff at those.