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What is the reason which leaves the Israeli–Palestinian conflict at an impasse? What does Fethullah Gülen think should be done?

by Doğu Ergil on . Posted in Fethullah Gülen and the Gülen Movement in 100 questions

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Fethullah Gülen

Fethullah Gülen proposes that this matter should not be handled by the super powers, as “big brothers.” This method has not worked so far, since the countries involved are not sufficiently impartial. In his opinion, the United Nations should enter into the process and both sides should agree on the common denominators. For instance, they should abide by the rules delineated in Oslo and the like. More importantly, they should implement them without delay. In his opinion, the Israeli–Palestinian conflict is political and not a religious one; and therefore, the solutions lie in setting up canons acceptable to both sides and proceeding with negotiations based on these canons.

Additionally, he believes that another reason the conflict has remained without a solution is that it is no longer a bilateral matter between those two, but that of the whole region, and even that of the world. Another dimension of the issue is that the struggle is retained by taking it into the religious field; in the process, the essence of religion has been lost:

Frankly, I view most of the activities carried out by some organizations in Palestine, and attributed to Islam, with doubt. Especially, it is a known fact how wavering activities the Palestine Liberation Organization is committing since the outset. Therefore, I am not sure the struggle along this line has gained or will gain anything for Palestine. Another thing: The matter should not be viewed as if it was a religious issue, because in this kind of a setting, the religion might be misunderstood and become an instrument of faulty causes. Second, religion should serve the peace in the region as well as in the world. We should not neglect the psychological dimension of the matter. Namely, the land on which the struggle is going on is sacred for all the Muslims, Jews, and Christians.

In history, this region had been the area of irshad for many Prophets. Though majority of these Prophets were sent from among the children of Israel, it is the obligation of being a Muslim to believe in all Prophets, including them. Muslims as well as the Christians and the Jews accept these Prophets. Beyond this, the basic common points among Muslims, Christians, and Jews are not less than the points on which they argue. For this reason, when such togetherness, concentric and overlapping, requires living together, unfortunately some political factors give way to conflicts. Therefore, the Israeli–Palestinian conflict should be resolved in such a way that it should be handled through the framework of international law, and it should guarantee the basic human rights, freedoms, and security to satisfy all parties.[1]

[1] Interview with Fethullah Gülen, Kenya Daily Nation, 30 July 2004.