Follow-up on Jeff Halper Event
Because of extreme cold and windy, snowy, icy road conditions, our effort to bring Jeff Halper to speak in Holland on January 29 was thwarted. Here is a 7-minute videos introducing his newest book, War Against the People: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r3S_UdmHA7E .
Also, with the help of many, we share with you below the basic presentation Jeff gave in Indiana and Chicago, which he would have shared with us also. It announces a very important initiative among Israelis and Palestinians for a way forward. Jeff is one of the more than 90 initial signatories, including Israelis and Palestinians.
THE ODSC PROGRAM FOR ONE DEMOCRATIC STATEBETWEEN THE MEDITERRANEAN SEA AND THE JORDAN RIVER
In recent years, the idea of a one democratic state as the best political solution for Palestine has re-emerged and gained support in the public domain. It is not a new idea. The Palestinian liberation movement, before the Nakba of 1948 and after, had promoted this vision in the PLO’s National Charter, abandoning it for the two-state solution only in 1988. It was on this basis that, in September 1993, the Palestinians entered into the Oslo negotiations. The two-state solution was also endorsed by all the Palestinian parties represented in the Israeli Knesset. But on the ground Israel strengthened its colonial control, fragmenting the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza into tiny, isolated and impoverished cantons, separated from one another by settlements, massive Israeli highways, hundreds of checkpoints, the apartheid Wall, military bases and fences. After a half-century of relentless “judaization,” the two-state solution must be pronounced dead, buried under the colonial enterprise on the territory that would have become the Palestinian state. In its place Israel has imposed a single regime of repression from the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River.
The only way forward to a genuine and viable political settlement is to dismantle the colonial apartheid regime that has been imposed over historic Palestine, replacing it with a new political system based on full civil equality, implementation of the Palestinian refugees’ Right of Return and the building of a systems that address the historic wrongs committed on the Palestinian people by the Zionist movement.
We, Palestinians and Israeli Jews alike, have therefore revived the one-state idea. Although differing models of such a state range from bi-national to a liberal, secular democracy, we are united in our commitment to the establishment of a single democratic state in all of historic Palestine.
As formulated below by the One Democratic State Campaign (ODSC), the goal of this political program is to widen the support for such a state among the local populations, Palestinian and Israeli alike, as well as amongst the international public. We call on all of you to join our struggle against apartheid and for the establishment of a democratic state free of occupation and colonialism, based on justice and equality, which alone promises us a better future.
THE ODSC PROGRAM
1. A Single Constitutional Democracy. One Democratic State shall be established between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River as one country belonging to all its citizens, including Palestinian refugees who will be able to return to their homeland. 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 consent of the governed. All its citizens shall enjoy equal rights to vote, stand for office and contribute to 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 who were expelled in 1948 and thereafter, whether living in exile abroad or currently living in Israel or the Occupied Territory. The State will aid them in returning to their country and to the places from where 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 of the refugees and/or compensate them. Normal procedures of obtaining citizenship will be extended to those choosing to immigrate to the country.
3. Individual Rights. No State law, institution or practices may discriminate among its citizens on the basis of national or social origin, color, gender, language, religion or political opinion, or sexual orientation. A single citizenship confers on all the State’s residents the right to freedom of movement, the right to reside anywhere in the country, and equal rights in every domain.
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 culture can flourish and develop freely. No group or collectivity will have any privileges, nor will any group, party or collectivity have the ability to leverage any control or domination over others. Parliament will not have the authority to enact any laws that discriminate against any community under the Constitution.
5. Constructing a Shared Civil Society. The State shall nurture a vital civil society comprised of common civil institutions, in particular educational, cultural and economic. Alongside religious marriage the State will provide civil marriage.
6. Moving from Decolonization to Postcolonialism. The genuine liberation of Palestinians and Israelis requires a process of thorough decolonization through which we may reach collective justice, peace security and reconciliation. A new national narrative must be constructed that “writes the native Palestinians back in.” Israeli Jews must acknowledge both the national rights of the Palestinian people andpast colonial crimes. In return, and based on an egalitarian democracy, Palestinians will accept them as legitimate citizens and neighbors, thereby ending Zionist settler colonialism and entering into a new postcolonial relationship of accommodation, normalization and reconciliation.
7. Economy and Economic Justice. Our vision seeks to achieve justice, and this includes 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 land. The income distribution in Israel/Palestine is more unequal than 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 State shall 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 a Middle East that respects its many communities, religions, traditions and ideologies, yet strives for equality, freedom of thought and innovation. Achieving a just political settlement in Palestine, followed by a thorough process of decolonization, will contribute measurably to these efforts.
10. International responsibility. On a global level, the ODS Campaign views itself as part of the progressive forces striving for an alternative global order that is just, egalitarian and free of any oppression, racism, imperialism and colonialism.