Media Coverage

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December 24, 2006 – "Radio Interview"
WORLD FOCUS on KPFK, Los Angeles – A Weekly FM-radio program hosted by Blase Bonpane on Pacifica Radio.

broadcast_tower1Click to listen to this half-hour interview with Thomas Heck.

September 10, 2003 – "Letter to the Editor"
SOJOMAIL – A Weekly Email-zine of Spirituality, Politics, and Culture

("Boomerang" section of issue of 09.10.03)

Thomas Heck, Professor Emeritus, The Ohio State University, writes from Santa Barbara, California:

I like the interfaith tone of SojoMail. In my way (as a Christian) I am always thinking about cultivating common ground for the major religions – the Abrahamic ones in particular. There is one common ground that Jews, Muslims, and Christians in fact do agree on: that the region of Israel/Palestine is "holy land." Believing in equal access for all to this common heritage, I have put up a Web site [] suggesting that this region should be accorded the same status as Antarctica, namely, a nationality-free zone. I have even crafted a sample re-draft of the Antarctic Treaty of 1959, substituting "Holy Land Protectorate" for "Antarctica." The idea may be shocking to some. It calls for evenhanded justice and tough-love today, hopefully followed by peace for the grandchildren tomorrow. Please have a look, think and pray over it, and spread the word if you agree.

June 4, 2002 – "Try Chill Solution in Hot Mideast."
The Examiner (San Francisco), Op-Ed piece.

Try Chill Solution in Hot Mideast

Impertinent though it may seem at first, the Antarctic Treaty of 1959 could provide a useful, diplomatic, nonviolent model for resolving the conflicting territorial claims in the Holy Land today. It has successfully averted armed hostilities for more than 40 years down under.

    What makes the cool logic of the Antarctic Treaty work, simply put, is the force of "external" consensus. If enough nations around a region just say no — if they refuse to recognize any territorial claims in the region, then such claims become irrelevant. As the CIA Factbook for Antarctica tersely puts it, "Seven (nations) have made territorial claims, but no other country recognizes these claims."

    It took only 12 leading nations of the world to craft and enact the Antarctic Treaty. The original signatory states — the claimants (Argentina, Australia, Chile, France, New Zealand, Norway and the U.K.) plus Belgium, Japan and South Africa — simply froze their own national interests and adopted a collective policy of non-recognition of Antarctic claims by other nations. They have gradually been joined by others. As of the end of 2000, there were 44 treaty member nations.

    How might such a diplomatic precedent apply to the Middle East? If the leading powers of the world were to declare the Holy Land an extra-national region, effective on a certain date following ratification, it would of course lead to the non-recognition and eventual disestablishment of "Israel" and "Palestine" as states. Under one scenario (at, a U.N. Protectorate would take their place.

    This is strong medicine, but the illness it would treat is acute and verging on the critical.

    A cool-headed compromise like this, enforced from without by a consensus of nations whose opinions really matter, could do far more to give today's Palestinians and Israelis (and their children and grandchildren) the peace and Justice they long for than any nation-state solution "internal" to the region:

    · World citizenship, with U.N. passports
    · The abolition of internal borders in the region
    · Freedom of movement, freedom of religion,
      and equal rights for all residents
    · International arbitration of all disputed property claims
    · World heritage site status, under U.N. administration.

    No one can pretend that this Antarctic scenario would be easy to bring about in the overheated Middle East. But the model has worked for more than 40 years elsewhere on the planet. Why not give it a try?

    It doesn't ask any of the present residents to "cease to exist," but rather to "cease and desist," take a deep breath, admit that current arrangements in the region are not working, and gracefully yield the stewardship of the Holy Land to the international community.

April 11, 2002 – "A New Approach to Middle East Peace."
Dallas Morning News, Cyberletters.

Editor:  I have authored a new peace proposal for the Middle East. It appears on the Web at It suggests that the leading nations of the world conspire to offer something unprecedented – something even better than statehood – to the Israelis and Palestinians, in exchange for their laying down their arms and embracing peace:

  • World citizenship, with U.N. passports.
  • The abolition of internal borders in the region.
  • Freedom of movement and equal rights for all.
  • International arbitration of conflicting property claims.
  • Extra-national status for the Holy Land, comparable to that of Antarctica.
  • World Heritage Site status, under U.N. administration.

— Thomas Heck, Santa Barbara, Calif.