Anti-Islamist Activist Hirsi Ali: Arab Leaders Believe ‘Reaching a Two-State Solution is to Betray God’
Writer and activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali offered some frank words on the prospect for peace between the Israelis and Palestinians in a wide-ranging interview with Israel Hayom, saying “From the perspective of the Arab leaders, reaching a two-state solution is to betray God, the Koran, the hadith and the tradition of Islam.”
Hirsi Ali, who was born to a Muslim family in Somalia, has become a firebrand in recent years, speaking out against Muslim extremism around the world.
In her early twenties, upon learning of plans for an undesirable arranged marriage, she made her way to Holland, where she applied for asylum. She began publishing critical articles about Islam, the condition of Muslim women, and co-directed a film with Theo van Gogh who was subsequently murdered by an Islamist.
Hirsi Ali says that the two sides, the Israelis and Palestinians, have diametrically opposed concerns, and this has lead to the current stalemate.
“…the main problem is that you may speak of a peace process, but what you get is a process, not peace. And why is this process so prolonged? Because for the Israelis this issue is a territorial problem. For the Palestinian negotiators, on the other hand, it is not a territorial problem but a religious and ethnic one, It is not only about Palestinians but about all Arabs. Most of all, it is a religious problem.”
Hirsi Ali continues: “But there is no agreement as of today, because on one side it has become religious jihad of all or nothing, while on the other side it is still a territorial issue. Of course I know that there are Israelis who also perceive this as a religious problem; but their numbers pale in comparison to the Muslim side.”
Describing Islam as an “Orthopraxy”— something that must be fought for, Hirsi Ali says that what is needed most— compromise—is unlikely to be attainable.
“More and more leaders see that this conflict is not going to be resolved Western-style, namely that all conflicts are resolvable and no-one leaves the table empty-handed,” she says. “In a culture dictated by honor and shame – in addition to the religious issue – defeat of any kind, accepting a compromise, is to leave the room empty-handed. Compromise is loss in this culture. It is very hard to explain this to contemporary Westerners.”
As an example she points to Syria: “93,000 people have died in Syria because the fighting forces could not, cannot, and will not compromise. This toll is higher than all the fatalities on both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict!”
Hirsi Ali says to betray this rigid doctrine would mean certain death for any Palestinian leader “even if he is secular, even an atheist — to leave the negotiating room with the announcement of a two-state solution would mean that he would be killed the minute he walks out.”
Having spent much of her adult life in the West, and now a resident of the U.S., Hirsi Ali also offered her insight into the villainization of Israel in many liberal circles.
“Many liberals perceive Israel to be one of their kind; another liberal, white, rational state, etc. Therefore they expect you to approach matters the way they would,” she says.
“Among Western liberal elites there are those who have actual experience and those who have not. Those who have actual experience with any aspect of Islamic culture or religion…come out — after years of endless abortive attempts — with a completely different perspective,” she continues, before charging: “I think that whoever acts on the presumption that we are all the same and that we are able to solve this — is uninterested, indifferent, and inexperienced.”
She further adds: “Idealism is a good thing. But when idealism encounters reality, you must not try to manipulate it to fit your utopia.”
The reality, she says, is rather a matter of making peace among the populations on both sides.
“The negotiators themselves are of no importance. They are a few individuals who may tomorrow be out of power or dead.
“An Arab leader who genuinely wants peace has to convince the Arab people first, must get their endorsement and then go and get peace. That is why the first thing that needs to be worked out is not so much the relationship with Israel but changing the culture, Islamic and Arab” she says, before concluding: “For cultural change to transpire we need one hundred years and more to pass.You can pick any number you want. I am speaking of a lengthy, bloody period. But it is going to change.”