The Green Line is a dangerous illusion – but we should guard the Red Line!

The Green Line is a dangerous illusion – but we should guard the Red Line!

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.

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The Munich Declaration for One Democratic State (ODS) in Historic Palestine

The Munich Declaration for One Democratic State (ODS) in Historic Palestine

The Munich Declaration for One Democratic State (ODS) in Historic Palestine*

Munich, Germany- June 29-July 1, 2012

 One Democratic State (ODS) shall be established in the entire territory of historic Palestine between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River as one country that belongs to all its citizens including all those who currently live there and all those who were expelled over the past century and their descendants.

The country shall be an independent sovereign State in which all citizens enjoy equal rights and all can live in freedom and security.

ODS in Palestine will end ethnic cleansing, occupation and all forms of racial discrimination from which the Palestinian people suffered under Zionism/Israel.

The reunified Palestine shall be a democracy in which all of its adult citizens shall enjoy equal rights to vote, stand for office and contribute to the country’s governance. No State law, institution, practices or activities may discriminate among its citizens on the basis of background, color, gender, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.

The State shall be based on separation between government and religion. It will not establish or accord special privilege to any religion; and shall provide for the free practice of all religions.

One of the primary objectives of the new state is to enable the Palestinian refugees to realize their right of return to all the places from where they were expelled, rebuild their personal life, and participate in creating the new state. Private property of Palestinian refugees shall be restored and restitution and compensation arranged. Restoring the rights of the Palestinians will be done while respecting the equal rights and protection of ALL citizens under the law.

Public land of the State shall belong to the nation as a whole and all of its citizens shall have equal access to its use. The natural and economic resources of the country shall benefit all of its citizens equally.

The State shall provide the conditions for free cultural expression by all of its citizens. It shall ensure that all languages, arts and culture can flourish and develop freely. All citizens shall have equal rights to use their own dress, languages and customs, and to express their cultural heritage free of insults or discrimination.

Citizens shall have equal access to employment at all levels and in all sectors of the society. Employment shall not be determined or restricted by language, race, religion, gender, or nationality. Education and vocational training shall not be segregated or specialized in any way that impedes equal access of all citizens to employment and other opportunities to fulfill their talents and dreams.

The State shall uphold international law and seek the peaceful resolution of conflicts through negotiation and collective security in accordance with the United Nations Charter. ODS will sign and ratify all international treaties on human rights and the people of a unified Palestine shall reject racism and promote anti-racism, social, cultural and political rights as set out in relevant United Nations covenants. The State shall seek and contribute to the establishment of a Middle East that will be free of all weapons of mass-destruction.

*A vision shared by all the current Declarations and Initiatives on the one democratic state option for the resolution of the Israel/Palestine conflict. The Munich Conference calls upon the supporters and activists of ODS to unite for the establishment of an International Movement for ODS in Historic Palestine.

Obama’s visit will not promote peace

Obama’s visit will not promote peace

Press Release

With the planned visit of the President of the United States, we do not turn to Obama – we do not expect him to change his policy. We turn to you, our sisters and brothers, inhabitants and refugees of this land, who are suffering from occupation, deportation and war, from racism and exploitation: Do not trust and do not expect anything from the dealers in occupation and war. We will bring peace, we, the victims of the regime and its opponents, in our struggle for justice and freedom, despite their malice.

For decades they propagate illusions about the “peace process” – a process of dialogue between the rulers of the region under US Hegemony – which only aims at crisis management by those who profit from the continued occupation and war. This process allows the world to turn a blind eye to the existence of an apartheid regime that prevents Palestinian refugees to returning to their homeland, denies the rights of Palestinian Arab inhabitants, and maintains political and ethnic segregation and racial discrimination.

While Netanyahu and Obama talk about renewing the “peace process”, the American weapons industry continues to arm at full speed various regimes while Netanyahu is preparing the next war. Attack on Iran? Israeli intervention in Syria? A killing spree in Gaza? Either way, the inhabitants and refugees of this country and the people of this region will pay the price with blood.

All the country’s inhabitants pay the price of occupation and oppression, wars and militarization, directly and indirectly. The struggle for a just and lasting peace begins with the struggle for equal rights for all: for the return of Palestinian refugees, for the removal of the occupation, the elimination of discrimination in all its forms, and for social rights and concern for each person.

We, the residents of this land who want to live in freedom and democracy with equal rights for all – in our unity and struggle we will destroy the apartheid regime, smash the walls of separation, bring peace, return the Palestinian refugees to their homeland and establish the new society.

Full and equal rights for all are the basis

of living together in one country

Peace can be achieved by popular struggle against the occupation and the rule of racism and exploitation

Yaffa Group for One Democratic State

Jaffa, March 17, 2013

Announcement on the establishment of “The Jaffa Group for One Democratic State”

Announcement on the establishment of “The Jaffa Group for One Democratic State”

During recent months a series of meetings were held in the city of Jaffa where activists discussed possible routes of action to promote the solution of one democratic state in historic Palestine between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. Participants in these meetings were both Arab and Jewish, both female and male – activists from various movements and parties, involved in political, social, cultural and ideological activities.

Not utopia but a necessary solution to pressing problems

The program for One Democratic State is not a utopia but a practical plan to solve the pressing problems of this country’s inhabitants.

The majority of the Arab Palestinian people – the indigenous inhabitants of the country – were expelled from their homes in 1948. They were robbed of their land, homes and other property; their villages and towns were destroyed; millions of refugees were and are still today awaiting return; those who stayed in their homeland suffer occupation, racism and oppression.

For the Jewish inhabitants the system of privileges and apartheid exercised by the State of Israel places them in permanent conflict with their Palestinian neighbors and the other peoples in the region, turning them into cannon fodder for imperialist wars for hegemony over the region.

The regime, based on partitioning the population according to origins and religion, cripples any attempt to fight for a more just society. It turns the great majority of the county’s inhabitants into victims of oppression and exploitation. The continuation of this regime threatens to inflict more wars, thus endangering all those living in the country and peace in the region and the entire world.

We see the establishment of a common society not merely as a solution to many burning issues but also as an opportunity to build a new, better and just society based on fully equal rights.

We aspire to a society which respects all creeds, cultural heritages, and lifestyles, and treats them as a source for enrichment of the society as a whole. Democracy and full equal rights for all the inhabitants of the country, for its Arab Palestinian refugees and for their descendants means not merely the removal of oppression but also true participation in the political process. It means protecting and nurturing the social rights that allow all citizens to live in dignity, to develop themselves and to be partners in developing the society.

The Vision of the One Democratic State

We pursue the establishment of One Democratic State as a just and sustainable solution for the suffering of the Palestinian People. It includes and guarantees the return of the refugees and puts an end to occupation, apartheid and all forms of national oppression and racial discrimination. It guarantees an end to a decades-long conflict and achieves the integration of the Jewish inhabitants in the country through partnership rather than conflict.

The program enables all the inhabitants of the country and the returning Palestinian refugees to be full participants in choosing and shaping the political process. They will live as citizens with equal rights. The Democratic State guarantees security and peace for all and prevents discrimination, oppression and exclusion. It will promote social justice and develop the economy and society for the benefit and welfare of all inhabitants.

The Democratic State should be a civil state maintaining separation between religion and state. All citizens will be able to vote, to run for public office and to participate in the running of the government. The state will legislate and act in practice against all discrimination on grounds of race, gender, sexual orientation, color, language, religion, political or non-political views, national or social origins, property, place of birth or any other consideration.

We do not want to rewrite anew the program for One Democratic State, which we recognize as implementation of the simplest human and democratic principles. This idea guided the Palestinian Liberation Movement from its inception during the British mandate and during its renaissance in the 1960’s. It was also supported by peace-seekers within Jewish society. Supporters of this solution have published many books and articles and discussed it at many conferences in this country and abroad. We specifically refer to the Munich Declaration (July 1, 2012) as a concise and clear message defining a common denominator for many of this program’s supporters.

Having agreed upon joint action for the democratic solution, the partners to this struggle preserve their particular visions of the character of the future state and the best means to build a society that will guarantee the rights and wellbeing of its citizens. However, before all else we must unite to lay the foundations of the new one democratic state.

What is the group and how does it operate?

This Democratic Solution will materialize by means of discussion, advocacy, persuasion and public struggle using all legitimate channels enshrined in international law. Israeli policies of expulsion, occupation, racism, exploitation and oppression have led to suffering, destruction, wars and a total lack of hope for a peaceful and equitable solution. It is therefore of paramount importance to simply bring into public awareness that a solution is available and feasible. Joint action by all who are part of this solution, including both refugees in exile and residents from all over the country, may prove more potent than any plan advanced by the regime to preserve the status quo. In order to help create conditions for change it is also important to raise support for One Democratic State on popular and official level both in the region and throughout the world.

The Jaffa Group is open to all women and men who support the goals outlined herein and are interested in joining our activities.

It will communicate and cooperate with like-minded groups and movements and will encourage the establishment of similar groups both here and abroad.

The Jaffa Group functions through open discussion among all participants to create internal accord, and aims to reach decisions by consensus. What is agreed upon becomes the position of the group.