Last updated on: 5/15/2008 12:04:00 PM PST

What is a democratic secular state?



General Reference (not clearly pro or con)
Ghada Karmi, PhD, Honorary Research Fellow and Assistant Lecturer at the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies in the University of Exeter, England, in a July 2002 Al-Adab essay titled "A Secular Democratic State in Historic Palestine: An Idea Whose Time Has Come?" wrote:

"The democratic secular state...envisions a one-man, one-vote polity without reference to ethnicity or creed [as in the bi-national state]. It would aim to create an equitable pluralist society on the Western democratic model, and is opposed to an arrangement of separate communities."

July 2002 - Ghada Karmi, MD, PhD 

Rifat Odeh Kassis, President of Defense for Children International, in a 2003 paper delivered at the International Seminar on the Palestinian Struggle and Globalization at Bethlehem titled: "A One Democratic State might be THE Solution," wrote:

"In the sixties, the notion of a single democratic state where people of different nations and religions in the area could live had gained much currency. Many factions in the PLO believed in this solution... So, what are the contours of a single state solution? In fact this is not a popular one on the streets of Palestine these days nor indeed in Israel. It used to be a much-discussed idea some four decades ago as a viable idea. It was popular among the educated and informed progressive groups and many political factions who saw the benefit of having one democratic state.

A single state is one which is democratic and secular. Not Jewish. Not Islamic. It will stand for justice and equality of all races and religions. It will accept and tolerate each religious community and accord each of them their right to practice and propagate their religion. Those who oppose this are from both sides. The Jews, influenced by Zionism, fear being overpowered in demographic terms very rapidly and the balance of power in number terms turning against them. The Palestinians, for their part, fear that the superior economic circumstances of the Israelis will enable them to maintain and perpetuate their higher status."

2003 - Rifat Odeh Kassis