By: Yoav Haifawi
To bring change we have to begin with recognition of reality… With the occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in 1967, Israel united the land of Palestine under its occupation. What we confront is one ApartheidState from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. Do we have to seek a return to the partition, which lasted from 1948 until 1967, or should we work for the reversal of the situation, the overthrow of apartheid and the establishment of one Palestine, free and democratic, on all the occupied land?
The “realists” tell us that Israel wouldn’t agree to the one-state solution. In reality Israel does not agree to any solution. Therefore, for any solution to be realistic we should be able to impose it. The realization of any solution depends on the building of a strong mass movement, which will implement it on the ground.
The development of illusions about re-partition of Palestine as a solution to the conflict is dangerous and delays progress towards any solution. This proposition pushes the right of return to the sidelines, promotes the division of the Palestinians in the homeland between “67” and “48”, legitimizes the occupation and the ethnic cleansing of 48, accepts the principle of a Jewish state, recognizes the occupation state of as an expression of “the right of self-determination for the Jews”, while it prevents true partnership in the struggle for liberation from the apartheid regime.
Sticking to the principle of the unity of the land of Palestine, and the rejection of the occupation and ethnic cleansing wherever it is, does not mean that we are facing the choice between either the liberation of the whole of Palestine at once or no liberation forever. Israel was forced to withdraw from the Gaza Strip under the pressure of the popular uprising and armed resistance – this is an achievement but it is not a solution.
Re-launching the project of liberation of all the land of Palestine, through the program of one democratic state, can re-formulate the methods of organization and the laws of confrontation and therefore requires profound study and full clarity.
One of the strengths in this solution is that while it refuses to waive the Palestinian right it simultaneously presents the best solution for splitting the Jewish population from Zionism and integrating them as citizens with equal rights in a democratic state. While it is impossible that Israel, as a racist institution, will accept this solution, our work among the Jewish public to promote this solution pulls the rug from under the feet of this institution.
This solution is the just and comprehensive solution and it includes everyone. We have to understand that it is not a solution for “us” – or for “the good people” – but it is a solution for all. It will be embraced by those who are looking for their rights because it ensures their rights. And it will be accepted by everybody else because there is no other option.
As we stand for the unity of the land and propose democratic solution, based on human rights to all people, there remains one red line about which there is no compromise and from which there is no retreat. It should be a solution to all the inhabitants of Palestine and all those who have a right in this country – and upholds the usurped rights before any others. The first to have the right to participate in the construction of free and democratic Palestine are the Palestinian refugees, the victims of Zionist ethnic cleansing. Any waiver on the right of return can be considered participation in the crime of ethnic cleansing, a crime against humanity with no statute of limitations, just as the right of return itself doesn’t expire with time.
We speak of a single democratic state in all of Palestine – and the return of all the refugees to all over the free homeland.