Seven decades on and the war continues between Israelis and Palestinians as they fight what has clearly become an unresolvable issue; peaceful co-existence of two nations on the same land. (Thanks Abraham.)
How many more people must die, how many more mothers must bury their children and fathers their families on both sides before a peaceful resolution is achieved? Like so many key inventions from the 20th Century (nuclear power, tailing ponds and fracking are other examples), the creation of modern Israel was done in haste with an attitude that we would figure out how to deal with the ancillary ‘mess’ later. Well, every chicken eventually comes home to roost, and of course when we wake up noticing that dumb bird staring at us with a mix of amusement and befuddlement, we discover that we really haven’t found a fix.
I certainly don’t have a solution for all of the world’s problems, but when it comes to the Palestinian Homeland problem, I’d like to seriously suggest one that I believe can succeed. It is one that Canada and Canada alone can propose and it is one of the greatest gifts that Canadians can give to the world. The solution to the Palestinian homeland problem clearly won’t exist in the granting of bits of land in Palestine. Thousands of years of fighting (not just the last 70) has proven that there is no stable peace to be had here.
The modern nation of Israel has a legitimate claim on Palestine too and Israelis have certainly worked extraordinarily hard for more than a century to establish the rebuilt nation firmly on the soil it controls. It is foolishness to assume or hope that Israel could be dismantled. Palestinians, on the other hand have clearly been dispossessed of this very same dirt and both sides continue the eternal battle to control the entire land through the destruction of the lives of the other. How many more generations of needless pain, suffering and loss of life on both sides must pass before a better solution comes along?
It is my hope that the end of this battle can be achieved today. Yes, what I am proposing will require sacrifice and the giving up of cherished desires and goals, but it will also provide the opportunity for permanent peace and new prosperity that has been denied the Palestinian people for 70 years. The only solution that will give us all the permanent peace we all want is to find a new homeland for the Palestinian people. Given that high quality empty spaces on the planet are not all that common, this doesn’t sound like a very viable option, however, I do believe that Canada can be the provider of just such a homeland, and no, this doesn’t require the Palestinian people to become a high-arctic people, and it doesn’t require the carving up of segments of rural Canada. What I am proposing is that Canada gift Anticosti Island to the Palestinian people as a new permanent national homeland.
Anticosti Island is that enormous island in the mouth of the St. Lawrence, currently home to no long-term residents other than 300 federal civil servants who maintain the lighthouses on the island. There is ample land and natural resources to supply the building and farming needs of a large population and the recent discovery of over 30,000,000,000 barrels of oil can ensure a solid economic start for those who chose this future. The Island is a part of North America and is closely located to key population and economic centres in the American Northeast.
There will be those who reject this idea out of hand, suggesting that there is no home but actual Palestine. Others will cry foul for having to leave behind ancestral land and even others will suggest that it is Israel that should be asked to relocate to Anticosti Island, not the Palestinian people. Those who reject out of hand this proposal without giving it consideration or even a democratic vote are not likely the ones who have had to suffer four generations of life in temporary refugee tent camps, and they are not likely those who’ve lost loved ones to this eternal violence It is the peacemakers and those who want a prosperous future for their children who should be given a voice in response to this opportunity.
Canada’s modern history is the story of the creation of a young nation through the deliberate choice of people from all around the world who decide to take the difficult step and leave behind all they know and love to embrace a new land for all of its opportunity and promise. Canada offers a better future for all who dare to take on the Great White North challenge. I’m certain that, given the opportunity, Palestinians will embrace the opportunity of establishing their own independent nation on this pristine and welcoming island, one that offers them political, economic and territorial independence and security.
So often Canada is criticized for its tendency to speak boldly against injustice and international crimes without the backing of any real military threat. We will never be the United States, and the role of global cop isn’t ours. Our path has been well established in a different direction; that of peacemaker. Lester B. Pearson gave us the great example in the 20th Century with his innovative push to establish United Nations Peace Keepers. It is now our generation’s turn to take a bold, world-changing step and propose the creation of the world’s newest nation from the great surplus wealth of land Canada is blessed with.
It is now time for another Canadian Prime Minister to rise before the United Nations and once again show the world the Canadian way, not one of war, not one of bitter separations, or revenge, but one of peaceful coexistence. We have a most rare opportunity here to transform the world, showing it that peace is a realistic possibility and that the future doesn’t have to be a repeat of the past for those bold enough to try.