A campaign has been launched by Palestinian and Jewish anti-Zionist intellectuals from both sides of the Green (Armistice) Line to push for “One Democratic State in Palestine” and bring about an end to the Palestine-Israel conflict. The initiative, they declared, is being taken in the light of the re-emergence of the one-state option as the most equitable solution for everyone. All of the partition and separation options, the group argued, have reached a dead end and caused much human, material and moral misery.
The activists, academics, intellectuals, writers and pioneers belong to a new generation of Palestinians and Israelis. Their intention, they said, is to see a state where Palestinians — including refugees — and Israelis would live in a democracy based on equality and built upon the ruins of the colonial apartheid regime with its ongoing disastrous consequences. Those involved include Ilan Pappé, Awad Abdel Fattah, Diana Buttu, Eitan Bronstein, Asaad Ghanem, Sewar Aasala, Dafna Bram and Mohammed Younis. Some supporters of the campaign from Gaza were unable to participate in the launch event because of the Israeli-led siege. They include Haidar Eid and Ahmed Abu Rtema, who is one of the most prominent young people behind the Great March of Return.
The group met yesterday to discuss a ten-point preliminary policy document, which has been prepared by a coordinating committee outlining the desired solution. They also discussed preparatory steps for a conference in which the campaign will be officially launched everywhere that Palestinian people meet, and in Israeli society too, in the autumn.
The one-state alternative to the internationally-approved two-state solution has been discussed by Palestinians and Israelis for a number of years. Those behind the latest initiative believe that the time has come, due to the ongoing changes in the nature of the conflict and in the pursuit of justice, liberalism and freedom — which stand against apartheid, colonialism and aggression — to move the concept from an academic context and narrow framework into the public domain. It will, they argue, guarantee justice and freedom from colonialism, as well as coexistence.
“We see this as a distant solution, but there is no alternative,” explained the coordinating committee’s Awad Abdel Fattah. “From a pragmatic point of view, the collapse of the peace process and the so-called two-state solution, and the resulting disasters, are the immediate catalysts for re-launching this initiative.” He insisted that the group is driven by humanitarian, national, liberal and moral motives, because the two-state solution is basically unjust and unfair to any of the Palestinians. “Without a doubt, this new reality is the end of illusion, and the resetting of the political vision, opening up a new horizon for Palestinians and Israelis for a common political struggle and unified popular resistance.”
According to US-born activist and author Jeff Halper, who now lives in Israel, there is no alternative to a political settlement that will finally end repression and violence. “You cannot be in a political conflict without an endgame, a plan, a vision for the future and an effective strategy to get there,” he pointed out. “Towards this end, a number of Palestinians and Israeli Jews met to create the campaign for a single democratic state which will promote equal rights and protect collective rights.”