Dear Yossi,

Thank you for your kind response to my article that was published in Arabic on Alhewar Almotamaden, 13/7/2019, in response to your book, Letters to my Palestinian Neighbor.  Once again, I decided to publish my response in an article in order to get more people involved in the dialogue you have initiated and also to encourage them to reach out to you directly.

I finally understood that you were calling, not for the rightists or leftists to reconcile, but rather for the moderate and centrist Israelis and Palestinians – those able to balance religion with humanism – to join hands for the sake of making peace.

I truly think that this is possible because some moderate Arabs are calling for the same. However, I maintain that religion cannot be combined with humanism.

I know that your approach is practical while my approach is radical, but I also believe that my approach is both true and more realistic, while your approach is just a dream. 

Palestinians, Israelis, Arabs and all Middle Easterners should eventually choose between religion and secularism, as our European neighbors did a long time ago.

I strongly disagree with your negative view of Western civilization. Indeed, it is the Western school of thought I learned from, and I view the West as the greatest civilization in human history.  You can clearly see that the Germans who committed the atrocious Holocaust in the recent past are in fact the same Germans who are today receiving refugees. This, in my opinion, is the power of this rational civilization; always learning from the past and moving forward towards a better future. Our religiously oriented Middle Eastern civilization, however, learns no such lessons and makes today no different from yesterday.

Last but not least, I would like to invite you to read my hundred-page-book, Mythology of religion and politics, which is available on my page in Alhewar Almotamaden. It is, like yours, a short book, which sets out my completely secular view of the Middle East – past and future.

Please accept my best wishes and warm regards.

Abdelgawad Sayed