January 22, 2009 / 12:30 PM / 11 years ago

Gaddafi refloats one-state idea after Gaza war

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Gaza war will be followed by more violence until Israelis and Palestinians create a state called “Isratine” where they can live together in peace, Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi said in remarks published on Thursday.

Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi (R) attends a news conference in Kiev in this November 6, 2008 file photo. REUTERS/Konstantin Chernichkin

Gaddafi, who once called for Israel’s Jews to be thrown into the sea, expressed support for the right of Jews to have a homeland, despite simmering anger in Libya and elsewhere against Israel because of the Gaza violence, but added the only way out of a cycle of hatred was for them to live with Palestinians in a single state.

He reiterated a proposal to end the Israeli-Palestinian dispute he first made at least six years ago based on what he calls the unworkability of a two-state solution to the conflict.

“As Gaza still smoulders, calls for a two-state solution or partition persist. But neither will work,” he wrote in an opinion piece in the the New York Times.

“The two movements must remain in perpetual war or a compromise must be reached. The compromise is one state for all, an “Isratine” that would allow the people in each party to feel that they live in all of the disputed land and they are not deprived of any one part of it.”

Gaddafi says it would be impossible to create an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel because Israelis would not accept to live within range of Palestinian guns.

The moderate tone of the article, which coincided with U.S. President Barack Obama taking office, was in contrast to calls he made this month for Arab leaders to allow volunteers to join Hamas militants to resist Israel’s 22-day attack on Gaza, which ended this week after Israel and Hamas declared separate truces.

Gaddafi repeatedly called for Israel’s Jews to be driven into the sea in the 1970s and 1980s when he was a champion of Arab nationalist positions opposing U.S. and Israeli policies.

“It is vital not just to break this cycle of destruction and injustice, but also to deny the religious extremists in the region who feed on the conflict an excuse to advance their own causes,” said Gaddafi, echoing concerns of Arab leaders about a perceived threat from radical Islamists like Hamas.

“A just and lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians is possible, but it lies in the history of the people of this conflicted land, and not in the tired rhetoric of partition and two-state solutions,” he argues.

Gaddafi had repeatedly attempted over the past six years to rally Arab support for his idea of one state, with the implicit argument that the fast expanding Palestinian population would erode Jewish dominance of the new country.

He has also hoped to win backing of some Jews in the West for his view.

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