Thesis Number: #3 (Page 7 of 10)
Contesting the Holy Land
Our world now hangs on a doctrine called “human rights” which, as Paul Farmer puts it, “are, of course, exhortatory and largely unenforceable” (2005: xxv). The practical problem with the foundation texts of the human rights doctrine is that those texts omit every person’s equal right of access to the flow of income that represents the services provided by nature and society. Without that equal right, people must remain locked into a culture that impoverishes the lives of everyone.
The fervent missionaries of secular science like Richard Dawkins have one effective way to resolve their dispute with the leaders of faith. They could challenge the guardians of all three Abrahamic religions with this question: Can you derive from your holy texts the guidance needed to resolve the territorial dispute that blights the Holy Land, to resolve an injustice that has defeated diplomats despatched to the Middle East by the United Nations?
The two-state solution to the struggle between Palestinians and Israelis is the only option on the table. Ultimately, it rests on the brutal secular doctrine that “possession is nine-tenths of the law”. Can the secular deadlock over the fate of the Holy Land be resolved by praying in aid the terms of the Covenant with God?
Co-existence based on a federal model, constructed on the pooling of the rents of the territories occupied by Jews and Moslems, is described by Fred Foldvary, a professor of economics (Foldvary 1991-2001). This honours the spirit of the Covenant. It unites people of all faiths without significantly disturbing existing settlements. Cultural diversity would be preserved in local communities.
- Tenure rights would affirm secure possession of land by users, so that people may live and work to fulfil their needs.
- Rent, shared by people of all faiths, would fund services shared in common. Taxes on labour incomes would be abolished.
- Decision-making authority would be devolved to local administrations, promoting cultural diversity based on mutual respect.
- Issues of common interest to all communities such as territorial defence would be under the jurisdiction of the federal authority.
In this federation, sharing the Holy Lands’ rents would heal the wounds of past injustices. You have taken my land, but you are now paying the rent of that land into the pot which funds the health and education of my children. This nurtures empathy and cooperation that would accelerate the mutual growth of communities of all faiths. This model could serve to resolve similar territorial conflicts in places like Kashmir and Cyprus.