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What Would A One State Solution Look Like?

The One Democratic State Campaign, a coalition of Palestinian and Israeli thinkers from around the world, offers the vision found below and at this link (Mondoweiss)


One Democratic State Campaign



In recent years, the idea of a one democratic state in all of historic Palestine as the best solution to the conflict has re-emerged. It started gaining increased support in the public domain. It is not a new idea. The Palestinian liberation movement, before the catastrophe of 1948 (the Nakba) and after it, had adopted this vision, including the Palestinian Liberation Organization. The PLO abandoned this idea in the framework of the diplomatic negotiations at the late eighties that led to the Oslo agreement of 1993. The Palestinian leadership hoped that this agreement would enable the building of an independent Palestinian state on the territories that Israel occupied in 1967. But on the ground Israel has strengthened its colonial control, fragmenting the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza into isolated cantons, separated from one another by settlements, checkpoints, military bases and fences.

The two-state solution, which is basically an unfair solution, is clearly dead. Israel buried it deep under its colonial settlement policies in the territories that were supposed to become the independent Palestinian state. Israel has imposed a single repressive regime that extends over all the Palestinians who live in historic Palestine, including those with Israeli citizenship.

In view of these dangerous developments, and, more important, based on the values of justice, freedom and democracy, we contend that the only way to achieve justice and permanent peace is dismantling the colonial apartheid regime in historic Palestine and the establishment of a new political system based on full civil equality, and on full implementation of the Palestinian refugees’ Right of Return, and the building of the required mechanisms to correct the historical grievances of the Palestinian people as a result of the Zionist colonialist project.

On this background, many activists and groups, Palestinians and Israelis, have recently initiated the revival of the one-state idea, proposing differing models of such a state, such as a bi-national state, a liberal democratic state and a socialist state. They are all united, however, in their commitment to the establishment of a single democratic state in all of historic Palestine, as an alternative to the colonial apartheid regime that Israel has imposed over the country from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River. A similar regime was toppled by the joint struggle of black and white South Africans under the leadership of the ANC in 1994.

The goal of this political program, as formulated by the One Democratic State Campaign (ODSC), is to widen the support for this solution among the local populations, Palestinian and Israeli alike, as well as among the international public. We call on all those in the world who struggle for freedom and justice to join and support our struggle against this apartheid regime and for the establishment of a democratic state free of occupation and colonialism, based on justice and equality, which guarantees a better future for the next generations and real peace in all of historic Palestine.

The Political Program

  1. A Single Constitutional Democracy. One Democratic State shall be established between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River as a state belonging to all its citizens, including the Palestinian refugees. All citizens will enjoy equal rights, freedom and security. The State shall be a constitutional democracy, the authority to govern and make laws emanating from the will of the people. All its citizens shall enjoy equal rights to vote, nominate candidates for any post and take part in the country’s governance.
  2. Right of Return, of Restoration and of Reintegration into Society. The single democratic state will fully implement the Right of Return of all Palestinian refugees and their descendants, those who were expelled in 1948 and thereafter, whether living in exile abroad or currently living in historic Palestine, including those with Israeli citizenship. The State will aid them in returning to their country and to the places from which they were expelled. It will help them rebuild their personal lives and to be fully reintegrated into the country’s society, economy and polity. The State will do everything in its power to restore to the refugees their private and communal property and/or compensate them.
  3. Individual Rights. No State law, institution or practices shall discriminate among its citizens on the basis of ethnic identity, national or cultural belonging, or on the basis of color, gender, language, religion, political opinion, property or sexual orientation. The state will grant all its citizens the right to freedom of movement and the right to reside anywhere in the country. The state will guarantee to all the citizens equal rights in all levels and institutions and will guarantee free thought and freedom of opinion. Alongside religious marriage the State will provide civil marriage.
  4. Collective Rights. Within the framework of a single democratic state, the Constitution will also protect collective rights and the freedom of association, whether national, ethnic, religious, class or gender. Constitutional guarantees will ensure that all languages, arts and cultures can flourish and develop freely. No group or collectivity will have any privileges, nor will any group or collectivity have any control or domination over others. The Constitution will deny the Parliament the authority to enact any laws that discriminate against any community, be it ethnic, national, religious, cultural or class.
  5. Immigration: Normal procedures of obtaining citizenship will be extended to those willing to immigrate to the country.
  6. Constructing a Shared Civil Society. The Stateshall nurture a vital civil society comprised of common civil institutions, in particular educational, cultural and economic.
  7. Economy and Economic Justice. Our vision seeks to achieve social and economic justice. Economic policy must address the decades of exploitation and discrimination which have sown deep socioeconomic gaps among the people living in the country. The income distribution in Israel/Palestine is more unequal than in any country in the world. A State seeking justice must develop a creative and long-term redistributive economic policy to ensure that all citizens have equal opportunity to attain education, productive employment, economic security and a dignified standard of living.
  8. Commitment to Human Rights, Justice and Peace. The Stateshall uphold international law and seek the peaceful resolution of conflicts through negotiation and collective security in accordance with the United Nations Charter. The State will sign and ratify all international treaties on human rights and its people shall reject racism and promote social, cultural and political rights as set out in relevant United Nations covenants.
  9. Our Role in the Region. The ODS Campaign will join with all progressive forces in the Arab world struggling for democracy, social justice and egalitarian societies free from tyranny and foreign domination. The State shall seek democracy and freedom in the Middle East, so that the rights of the region’s peoples and citizens will be guaranteed and its many communities, religions, traditions and ideologies shall be respected. That should include respect for the peoples’ right to struggle for equality and freedom of thought. Achieving justice in Palestine will contribute measurably toward these goals and the aspirations of the region’s peoples.
  10. International responsibility. On a global level, the ODS Campaign views itself as a part of the democratic and progressive forces striving for an alternative global order that shall be pluralistic and sustainable, more just, egalitarian and humanistic and free of exploitation, racism, intolerance, oppression, wars, colonialism and imperialism. This new world order will be based on human dignity and respect for the people’s rights to freedom and just distribution of resources and will provide a healthy and sustainable environment.

Rep. Betty McCollum’s Speech To The United Nations On November 12

In case you missed it, you can find Rep. McCollum’s speech at this link.


Is Criticizing Israel Anti-Semitic ? A Psycho-spiritual Perspective

By John Kleinheksel

As a Jew, Richard Forer grew up as a partisan of the Israeli State, very sensitive to any criticism of his Jewish brothers and sisters. Like others, he “believed the cause of the I/P problem was the Arab world’s nonacceptance of a Jewish state in its midst” (p. 1). Then, he was led to investigate the Israeli narrative more closely.


He will be our guest at a Webinar on November 18 at 1:30. Please register to join us. You can do so by emailing Bart Den Boer at before Sunday noon, November 15.


As a way of preparing for his appearance, I’m giving you a bit more background. He begins his new book with the story of his transformation to be fully human first, not just an Israeli, thus able to appreciate the Palestinian point of view.


Mr. Forer’s objective in writing Wake Up: Reclaim our Humanity, Essays on the Tragedy of Israel/Palestine is stated on p. 226: My objective in this book has been to clarify history and to explain the psychospiritual dynamics at the root of suffering, conflict and violence. He himself claims to have found his “humanity” taking precedence over his Jewish identity, and desires everyone to be so transformed. The need wanting to belong and the need for self-determination motivates each person and people group.


One of our main questions is: “Why are we so sensitive when people criticize us? What’s behind this and what can we do about it? Why do some people get stuck in their pain or want to pass it on to others? And why are others guided by their pain to suffer with those who suffer?


Why do Israelis insist that asking for full citizenship for the natives is tantamount to denying the legitimacy of the Israeli State?  Is it fear? Insecurity? Yes, they fear being destroyed (especially the Holocaust survivors and their children)!  And they fear no longer being a majority in their God-ordained land.  How will Israelis proceed? How can Israeli critics proceed?


How can we in the US sympathize with Israeli fears and still advocate for great equality for oppressed persons there, here in the US and in other places on the globe?

In his work, Mr. Forer demonstrates that when we are wounded and become victims (as in the Holocaust), we take out our hurt on others, making them the cause of our hurt.

Richard summarizes his heart-based insights on pages 227 and 228 of Wake Up: Reclaim our Humanity, Essays on the Tragedy of Israel/Palestine.



People in the US who criticize the “Black Lives Matter” movement also fail to take account of the systemic racism that has oppressed people of color through the centuries.


Mr. Forer’s new book documents how the early settlers had NO INTENTION of sharing the land with the natives.  The indigenous people were not acknowledged or seen as obstacles to Israeli nation-building. It was “Israel First” from the very beginning, and the Arab population got that message loud and clear.  Jews wanted a “Jewish homeland” unencumbered by those they found there.

The Washington Report Here! calls the Israel State “a settler colonial project”, meant to displace the native inhabitants.  Here is a brief passage from the article cited: [University of Massachusetts Professor Emeritus] Sut Jhally noted pro-Israel propagandists have the gall to depict Israel as the victim of Palestinian violence and intransigence. “[They] flip reality on its head,” he said. “Rather than presenting Palestinians as the victim of this, [they] present the Israelis as the victim.


“As anyone who watches cable news or reads the mainstream press knows, this victimization narrative is often spread with ease and met with little critical opposition. Jhally cited the 2018-2019 Great March of Return as a recent example of the media propagating pro-Israel talking points. Israeli soldiers shot, killed and maimed Gazans, who gathered along the border every Friday to demand a return to the homes and land from which they were ethnically cleansed when Israel was created in 1948. Yet, countless headlines emphasized the savagery of Palestinians. “When you have one of the largest armies in the world going up against unarmed protesters who are [infrequently] using feeble weapons, it’s still presented as though Israel is under attack,” Jhally noted.

Americans disenfranchised African slaves, from the very beginning, which is our Original Sin.  We are still trying to atone for it.  I think the intersectionality of the US/African and Native American struggle and the Israeli/Arab Palestinian struggle is the lens through which we have to see this issue.  It has relevance to the US.  We sympathize with BOTH Israelis and Palestinians.  If the Israelis give legitimacy to Palestinian claims, they fear losing their own claim to legitimacy.  They insist it must be an Israeli Democracy, NOT pluralistic democracy for the 20% Arab “citizens” (to say nothing of the millions of descendants of the 700,000 driven from their land in 1948 by Israeli terror).

I like what Frederick Buechner says about “snobs.”   SNOBS ARE PEOPLE who look down on other people, but that does not justify our looking down on them. Who can say what dark fears of being inferior lurk behind their superior airs or what they suffer in private for the slights they dish out in public?


Don’t look down on them for looking down on us. Look at them, instead, as friends we don’t know yet and who don’t yet know what they are missing in not knowing us.


Richard Rohr’s meditation for November 7, 2020, gives the same argument of Mr. Forer, as seen in this link.

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At Kairos West Michigan, we work to unify and mobilize West Michigan Christians to take a stand for peace in Israel/Palestine. We believe that the time is right and that God is preparing the way for peace and justice in Israel and Palestine.

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