No matter what our hypocrites, Uncle Toms or “false prophets” may say, Israel, as an exclusivist and settler-colonial state,(58) has no hope of ever being accepted or forgiven by its victims -- and as it should know, those are the only ones whose forgiveness really matters.
Despite the pain, the loss and the anger which relative-humanization undoubtedly engenders in them, Palestinians have an obligation to differentiate between justice and revenge, for one entails an essentially moral decolonization, whereas the other descends into a vicious cycle of immorality and hopelessness. As the late Brazilian educator Paulo Freire writes:
Dehumanization, which marks not only those whose humanity has been stolen, but also (though in a different way) those who have stolen it, is a distortion of the vocation of becoming more fully human. … [The] Struggle [for humanization] is possible only because dehumanization, although a concrete historical fact, is not a given destiny but the result of an unjust order that engenders violence in the oppressors, which in turn dehumanizes the oppressed. … In order for this struggle to have meaning, the oppressed must not, in seeking to regain their humanity (which is a way to create it), become in turn oppressors of the oppressors, but rather restorers of the humanity of both.(59)
Rejecting relative humanity from any side, and insisting on ethical consistency, I believe that the most moral means of achieving a just and enduring peace in the ancient land of Palestine is to establish a secular democratic state between the Jordan and the Mediterranean, anchored in equal humanity and, accordingly, equal rights. The one-state solution, whether bi-national -- a notion which is largely based on a false premise that the second nation in question is defined(60) -- or secular-democratic, offers a true chance for decolonization of Palestine without turning the Palestinians into oppressors of their former oppressors. The vicious cycle launched by the Holocaust must come to an end altogether.
This new Palestine should:
1) First and foremost allow and facilitate the return of and compensation for all the Palestinian refugees, as the only ethical restitution acceptable for the injustice they’ve endured for decades. Such a process, however, must uphold at all times the moral imperative of avoiding the infliction of any unnecessary or unjust suffering on the Jewish community in Palestine;
2) Grant full, equal and unequivocal citizenship rights to all the citizens, Jews or Arabs;
3) Recognize, legitimize and even nourish the cultural, religious and ethnic particularities and traditions of each respective community. As a general rule, I subscribe to what Prof. Marcelo Dascal of Tel Aviv University insightfully proposes:
[T]he majority has an obligation to avoid as much as possible the identification of the state’s framework with traits that preclude the possibility of the minority's commitment to it.(61)
Israelis should recognize this moral Palestinian challenge to their colonial existence not as an existential threat to them but rather as an magnanimous invitation to dismantle the colonial character of the state, to allow the Jews in Palestine finally to enjoy normalcy, as equal humans and equal citizens of a secular democratic state -- a truly promising land, rather than a false Promised Land.