The name of the leader of Libya, معمر القذافي (which I am not gonna try to render in English because there are about eleven options, none of them correct), appeared as the author of The One-State Solution, an op-ed in the New York Times this week. I don’t believe that he actually wrote it, because he’s a well-known moonbat and the piece is actually sort of coherent. The ghost-writer says: Give up on the idea of a two-state solution for the Israel/Palestine conundrum; there’s one country there and they’re all citizens.

His arguments, as I said, are not crazy. But he left one out: the fact that there may be no other options left. For one lengthy but eloquent explanation, check out this Charlie Rose interview with Bob Simon, and I’ve previously linked to Gershom Gorenberg’s The Other Housing Crisis. Shorter version: the Israeli settler movement deliberately set out to make a two-state solution impossible, and apparently they’ve won. Israel’s current government is entirely unwilling to curb settlement expansion, and its citizens are apparently about to vote in an even harder-line coalition.

So, the options are pretty stark. Given that the settlements are permanent, and that they make a viable West-Bank state impossible, Israel either goes on governing the Palestinians in an arrangement that increasingly smells like apartheid, or they let ’em into the country.

In the fullness of time, either the rest of the world forces a solution down the combatants’ throats, or we’re looking at another Holocaust; with no clarity which side provides the victims.

[Update:] This meme is gathering force, see for example last Sunday’s Sixty Minutes. The most interesting question is, why is this news story only being reported in the mainstream now, when it may well be too late?


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From: Chris Mahan (Jan 23 2009, at 18:20)

I read the NYT piece. It puts well a lot of the thoughts I've had about the issue for some time, and I think is a really reasonable solution.

I think it would be really simple to draft a Constitution of the State of Palesrael (name to be changed to something more suitable) that grants citizenship to all in current Israel, Gaza and West Bank, acknowledges that Palesrael is a secular state, and all that good stuff.

Then, reparations for 1948 onward are done in a court of law, with new laws on the books to facilitate rehabilitation and refugee reintegration.


From: Mike Kozlowski (Jan 23 2009, at 19:44)

Well, surely, ONE of the English ones must be correct. Not correct in the sense of capturing every nuance of the Arabic, necessarily, but correct in the sense of following the rules of a generally accepted transliteration system.

I understand and sort of agree with your impulses here, but refusing to write foreign names/words in ways comprehensible (or at least say-able) by English speakers doesn't really help anything.


From: Larry Reid (Jan 23 2009, at 20:10)

What a brilliantly cogent summary of a viable path forward! Trust a geek to boil the solution down to its essence. Now, how do we get there?


From: Jeff (Jan 23 2009, at 21:30)

"there’s one country there and they’re all citizens"

The problem continues to be that one group of citizens wants to wipe out the other group of citizens. When the group being attacked defends itself the defender is told that its being overly harsh in its retaliation, resulting in calls to end the "cycle of violence" ("cycles" are convenient since instigators of the violence never have to be identified). This eventually results in a "cease fire" in which the attacker gets a chance to reload and eventually break the "cease fire" by launching additional strikes. A counter-strike is launched in defense and the "cycle" starts all over again.

Nothing will change until:

- one group decides to stop trying to wipe out the other _or_

- the world stops calling for a "cease fire" in the middle of a war


From: Tkil (Jan 23 2009, at 22:45)

@Mike K --

Regarding which Angelicization of Libya's leader's name is "correct", The Straight Dope did a great column on the topic:

The punchline is that he responded directly to a group of schoolchildren, and his choice of spelling in his closing is considered the best guidance on the topic; having said that, a person from the Library of Congress wrote in with their list of 30+ alternate spellings.

An interesting topic, and still one that is perhaps without a "right answer".


From: Hanan Cohen (Jan 24 2009, at 00:16)

The idea if Isratin had been suggested by Al Gathafi in a White Book published in May 2003.

You can read the White Book on his site

It seems to me Al Gathafi is one of the most sane leaders in this area.


From: John Cowan (Jan 24 2009, at 00:31)

Mike, the trouble is that there is no generally accepted transliteration system for Arabic. There are many systems, but none generally accepted; furthermore, the generally accepted names are drawn from a random mixture of systems. See the wonderful introduction to T.E. Lawrence's Seven Pillars of Wisdom at .

As for Muammar Qaddafi, the Library of Congress shows 53 distinct Latin-alphabet transliterations of his name: see for the Name Authority Record. The one I just used is at the top of the record, and is considered by the L.C. to be preferred for purposes of cataloging. However, he (or his staff) used the spelling "Moammar El-Gadhafi" on an English-language letter that he sent to a U.S. second-grade class after they wrote to him, so perhaps that is *his* preferred spelling.


From: Alex Morega (Jan 24 2009, at 04:15)

In my understanding, the motivations of the war are nationalistic, not religious. Israelis moved to what is now the state of Israel to live in a country of their own. I'm not saying it was right or wrong, legitimate or abusive; but you're not going to convince them to merge with Palestinians to form a democratic and stable state.

Consider this mental exercise: what if the USA or Canada or Australia granted citizenship to any Palestinians (or, for that matter, any Israelis) that wanted it? They could easily absorb the population, and I suspect many Palestinians would take the opportunity to move.


From: wolf550e (Jan 24 2009, at 07:56)

I am an Israeli Jew. If we give them all citizenship then at the very least Sharia will be declared on the next day, even if you believe no violence will occur (I disagree). Israel and Palestine are not Belgium. The two sides themselves are too different and the dynamic between the western civilization and Islam won't let peaceful coexistence happen.

Tim, I think you are forgetting how Democracy can only work when you assume everyone accepts Pluralism. If you give a position that claims it's the only right one "equal rights" then you're a fool.


From: Rob (Jan 24 2009, at 09:54)

A minor linguistic point: "moonbat" is a term used pretty much exclusively by right wing ranters like Rush Limbaugh to excoriate "liberals" that they don't like; a mirror image of the term "wingnut" used by intelligent people to describe the kind of people that use "moonbat" in their rants.

You, calling Mr. Q/K/G a moonbat is, to say the least, an odd usage, though I'm not really sure where he falls on the ideological spectrum, being majnoon and all.


From: len (Jan 27 2009, at 06:40)

It's a rational solution to an irrational problem. That means it won't work unless the curve is made to fit the area beneath it, not the other way around.

I think this is a situation where the more we stir and meddle from outside the region, the longer this will go on.


From: Seth Gordon (Jan 27 2009, at 06:44)

If Israel pulls enough settlers out of the West Bank to implement a two-state solution, then there will probably be civil war among the Israeli Jews.

But if the one-state solution is implemented, there will be civil war of another kind. Violence between Jews and Arabs in Palestine goes back to the 1930s, and merely declaring "let's have a multiethnic state now" is not going to stop it. Lebanon's history of mediating relationships between Sunni Muslims, Shi`a Muslims, and Maronite Christians does not exactly give one hope for a peaceful Isratine.

I think once the Israeli government HAS TO choose, it will bite the bullet and do what's necessary for the two-state solution. But the politicians running the country have every incentive to postpone that choice. I hope that Sen. Mitchell's can find a way to change the incentive structure.


From: James Q. Pierce (Jan 30 2009, at 05:18)

Do note that the official formal title of the Libyan leader is "Guide of the First of September Great Revolution of the Arab Libyan Popular and Socialist Jamahirya".

Though a bit longer than his name (however you choose to spell it), it has the advantage of not having as many variants.

Maybe you can use this in the future?


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