Ever since I was a child, I remember the heart and spirit of the Palestinian Revolution was to create a "secular independent Palestinian State where Muslims, Christians and Jews" could live together as equals and in peace.
It was a mantra of my mentor, the late Professor Ibrahim Abu-Lughod who was an activist partner with the late Edward Said. Christian and Muslim Arabs fought for Palestine as indistinguishable brothers and sisters in conflict, they taught me. But now that they are gone, their lessons are being lost.
Both the conflict and attitudes have changed. Raising the issue of Christian rights in the Arab World provokes a reprimand from Palestinians and Arabs, not because the simmering Christian-Muslim Arab conflict does not exist, but rather because the critics hope that if we pretend it doesn't exist and not discuss it, it will go away.
That's been the Arab attitude towards Israel, too. If we just pretend they don't exist, one day they will mysteriously vanish.
Instead, when the issue of Christian relations in the Arab World is raised and overcomes the resistance, it is placed immediately into the political context of the abuses of the Israeli occupation causing the disappearance of the Christian presence in Palestine.
But it is not just the fault of the Israelis, whom the Arabs blame for everything; although in truth, the Israelis are no different and they blame the Arabs for everything, too. The issues of blame are symptoms of the problem, not the cause of the problem. So is the simmering relations between Muslims and Christian Arabs.
That's one reason why I announced I have formed an exploratory committee for my candidacy for President of Palestine on the Yalla Peace political party. My platform embraces compromise based on two-states as the foundation for Israeli-Palestinian peace. More importantly, my platform seeks to define and endorse an achievable vision of a Palestinian State first before seeking to resolve the toughest individual details. MORE HERE