Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding
Opinion Editorials, August 2010
Declaration of the Movement for One Democratic State in Palestine Houston, TexasAl-Jazeerah, CCUN, August 8, 2010
the people of
In making this call, we draw insight and guidance from the past, especially the following:
After World War I, even though
The Zionist movement that originated in
In 1947, the Palestinian people and their representatives, together with all the Arab and Muslim States members of the United Nations, unanimously rejected the partition of Palestine and called for all of Mandate Palestine between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River to be established as a unitary democratic state that would prohibit any discrimination on the grounds of religion and serve all of its citizens equally, and warned that the partition of Palestine into a Jewish state and an Arab state would lead to bitter, endemic and unending conflict.
In 1948, the State of Israel was carved out of a major portion of Palestine through partition and then expanded to 78% through ethnic cleansing in which hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were forcefully and deliberately uprooted from their homes, their towns and villages razed, their property confiscated, looted or destroyed, and, when the hostilities ended, were denied their right to return; while those who remained under Israel’s control found themselves deprived of equal human, economic, political, and legal rights, their land and natural resources expropriated, their culture co-opted, and their history falsified and maligned.
Despite all subsequent efforts of the international community, including numerous resolutions of the UN Security Council and General Assembly, the creation of Israel as a Jewish-only state has continued to generate wars and invasions that have caused immense suffering to the Palestinian people as well as people in neighboring States, while disturbing the peace and security of the entire world due to the conflict’s religious and ethnic sensitivities and the involvement of foreign powers.
Israel’s measures to build and consolidate Jewish demographic domination of greater Jerusalem and Jerusalem proper have progressively eradicated the historically Arab character of the city, depriving Palestinians of their historic capital, severing Jerusalem’s vital social and economic connections to the rest of Palestinian society, and restricting access by Muslim and Christian Palestinian communities to holy sites where they have worshipped since antiquity.
The legal, political and ideological systems inside Israel have methodically discriminated against its non-Jewish citizens, and Israel’s courts along with its government and security forces have regularly rejected and harshly repressed the ongoing demands of Palestinian citizens for democratic reform and equal rights with Jewish citizens, including the right to return to lands and homes in Israel from which they were expelled after 1948.
Palestinian resistance to decades of military occupation, expulsion, land
confiscation, resource depletion, and denial of basic rights has sometimes
caused regrettable suffering to Israeli civilians, although
Israel’s systematic discrimination against Palestinians, which includes practices such as forced transfer, segregation, ghettoization, denial of citizenship and basic human rights and freedoms, is alarmingly consistent with the crime of Apartheid as defined in international law, while the actions of Israeli leaders intended to secure the ethnic, religious and demographic purity of Israel increasingly hark back to the fascist regimes of Europe’s past.
Israel’s refusal to allow the return of Palestinian refugees in violation of General Assembly Resolution 194 of 1949; Israel’s continuing military occupation of the West Bank and Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, which has involved massive Jewish settlement and land confiscation in the West Bank and East Jerusalem in violation of international humanitarian law; the ruinous closure on the Gaza Strip that has brought the Palestinian population to a humanitarian crisis; and a plethora of policies such as the building of an Apartheid wall, all of which indicate that Israel intends indefinitely and irrevocably to deny the Palestinian people their human and civil rights in their own country, including their right to self-determination.
On this basis, we conclude the following:
§ The ongoing conflict along with its pain, anger, and fear originated in the deliberate colonization and ultimately wrongful partition of Palestine in 1948 and in the injustice, expulsions, inequality and segregation that the State of Israel has enforced on the indigenous Palestinian population to effect this partition.
International diplomacy and mediation and United Nations resolutions
directed toward a two-state solution were has been misguided due to the
obfuscation and subsequent misapprehension of the true origins of the
conflict arising from the Zionist ideology of colonization, ethnic
cleansing and ethnic segregation. The facts on the ground, especially the
massive expansion of Jewish settlements and the movement of hundreds of
thousands of Israeli Jewish citizens into
§ The division of the people and territory of Mandate Palestine by the antiquated notion that claims an exclusive birthright to the land for the entire Jewish people alone is inadmissible and violates the human and political rights of the Palestinian people as well as norms expressed in United Nations Covenants on human, social, cultural and political rights.
§ The claim that Jews, Palestinians, and all the people of territorial Palestine cannot live together peacefully in one country is just as false and fundamentally racist as were similar arguments about black Africans and white people promoted by the Apartheid regime in South Africa.
§ Endorsing equal rights for Jews and Palestinians is not and cannot be equated with anti-Jewish racism, which is adamantly to be opposed in all its forms.
§ The people in all of Palestine can never know peace, security, prosperity and freedom until we annul the wrongful partition of the country, fully recognize the historic injustices inflicted on the Palestinians, restore the inalienable rights of all Palestinians including their right to return, defeat all doctrines that separate and discriminate among the people, and ensure that all citizens enjoy equal rights, freedoms and opportunities.
We therefore declare our position that:
1. Only a united and genuinely democratic state in
2. The entire
3. This country must be constituted as one independent and democratic State in which all citizens enjoy equal rights and can live in freedom and security.
4. The citizens of this State include all those who live there and all those who were expelled over the past century and their descendants.
We therefore commit ourselves to building an international movement, based
on universal principles of peace, equality, justice and human rights, to
establish one democratic State in
a. No State law may discriminate on the basis of ethnicity, religion, language, nationality or gender.
b. No political party may base its platform on ethnic, religious, cultural or racial segregation, discrimination or supremacy.
c. No organ of State may be created to administer a group separately or provide special rights on the grounds of race, religion, ethnicity or nationality.
d. All citizens of the State shall enjoy full human rights and freedoms as enshrined in all relevant United Nations Covenants, with special attention to freedoms of expression, religion, language, movement, residence and assembly.
e. The rights of all minorities shall be protected from any form of discrimination or inequality stemming from governance by the majority.
f. The courts, police and administration of justice shall represent all the people of the land and shall defend, protect, and preserve the ideals of equality and democracy.
g. The laws of the State shall provide all citizens with equal access to security, housing, public lands, education, health care, leisure, cultural expression and all the basic requirements for living in dignity and freedom.
h. The State shall operate a transparent and non-discriminatory immigration policy and provide a safe haven for those seeking asylum from persecution and especially for those in peril of racial or ethnic persecution.
i. Schools and curricula shall teach the country’s youth to understand the history of their country and region so that they may grasp and respect the origins and historical experience of their fellow citizens, reject racism and doctrines of segregation, honor human rights and protect human freedoms, and guard the peace, rights and security of all the people in the country and the world.
2. The State shall not establish or accord special privilege to any religion and shall provide for the free practice of all religions.
a. All residents of the State shall be free to practice their religion and to worship at sacred sites without impediment or discrimination.
b. The State shall ensure that all religions enjoy equal standing before the law and that no religion impede the practice of another.
c. All citizens of the State may freely choose whether to abide by religious law and traditions and shall never lose the protections of State civil law.
3. The 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.
a. No physical barrier or law may create enclaves or restrictions that divide people and communities on the grounds of ethnicity, race, religion or nationality.
b. The land, natural resources and public infrastructure of the country shall be administered to benefit all citizens equally and equitably.
c. Private property expropriated from Palestinian refugees,
Palestinian citizens of
4. The State shall provide the conditions for free cultural expression by all of its citizens.
a. The constitution and government shall ensure that all languages, arts and culture may flourish and develop freely.
b. All citizens shall have equal rights to use their own dress, languages and customs and express their cultural heritage free of insults or discrimination.
5. Citizens shall have equal access to employment at all levels and in all sectors of the society.
a. Employment shall not be determined or restricted by language, race, religion, gender, or nationality.
b. 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.
c. Equal access to work, public facilities and other amenities for citizens living with disabilities as a result of the ongoing violence shall be provided in accordance with international standards and practices.
6. The State shall uphold international law and at all times seek the peaceful resolution of conflicts through negotiation and collective security in accordance with the United Nations Charter.
a. The establishment of one democratic state in
b. The people of a unified
c. The State shall seek to build an international order in which all people can enjoy their essential social, cultural and political rights as set out in relevant United Nations declarations and covenants and international human rights law.
d. The State shall seek and contribute to the establishment of a
nuclear-free zone in the
CALL TO ACTION
We call on all those who cherish freedom, justice, equality and democracy and reject racism and segregation to join us in building this movement.
a. We call on Palestinians everywhere to undertake free democratic debate
about the goals and principles of this Declaration in order to reunify the
people and direct the exercise of their inalienable right to
self-determination into establishing one democratic state in
b. We call on Jews in Israel and throughout the world to look beyond the entrapping illusions of Jewish statehood, which must rest on discrimination and so can lead only to endless conflict and insecurity, and channel their dreams for peace into establishing one shared country in all of Palestine between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, in which Jewish aspirations, whether religious, cultural or ethnic, can be fulfilled without dominating others.
c. We urge individuals and groups active in the Campaign for Boycott,
Divestment and Sanctions and the entire
d. We call on civil society organizations that oppose racism and racial discrimination throughout the world to join us in building this movement, on the conviction that racism anywhere is a threat to equality and justice everywhere.
e. We urge civil societies in the Arab and Muslim worlds to support a
unified non-ethnic democracy in
f. We call on Muslim, Jewish and Christian religious scholars and
philosophers to draw on and disseminate wisdom from the holy and treasured
texts that can guide the faithful to seek and support a shared state in
g. We call on the United Nations, the European Union, the Arab League, the African Union, the Organization of American States, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation group (ASEAN), the Commonwealth, the Organization of the Islamic Conference and all regional organizations and governments of the international community to abandon diplomacy directed toward the illusory two-state solution, which is only perpetuating the conflict and human suffering, and adopt the goals of this Declaration, which are based on universal human rights as codified in UN instruments developed to ensure international peace and security.
h. We welcome additional statements that expand and clarify the goals
expressed in this Declaration, as long as they are consistent with its
goals and principles, especially its commitment to universal human rights,
anti-racism and the fundamental equality of all people in dignity and
rights. We urge those who share the vision and goals in this Declaration
to set aside their differences in order to build a unified and historic
movement to realize the ideals of one democratic state in
On this platform, with our international friends and allies, we commit
ourselves to restore justice to the people by establishing a unitary
democratic state in
We firmly believe that this great accomplishment will stand as a monument to humanity’s capacity to overcome the legacy of bitter strife; move all peoples of the world to reject beliefs of ethnic supremacy and separation; and inspire people everywhere to work with new hope and energy to create societies, nations and states that defend and secure equality, dignity and human rights for all.
ONE DEMOCRATIC STATE IN
We will no longer watch passively while a fraudulent “peace
process” builds such a future for Muslims, Christians and Jews in
The conflict in Israel-Palestine cannot be resolved until its
fundamental source is addressed. That source is the premise of partition.
We reject the Zionist claim that Jewish people have rights to a separate
We declare our conviction that the only just, viable and stable
solution to the conflict is to establish one democratic state in
Building on the
ESTABLISH THE MOVEMENT
INTRODUCTION: Why we are here
need for a ODS Movement and unity around a shared vision.
Historic Dimensions of the ODS Movement
Review current conditions and pressures in
LAUNCHING THE MOVEMENT
— Affirm the Declaration
— Decide on the structure of the movement: administration, chapters, coordination
— Adopt a Plan of Action
Discuss potential movement
politics and how to handle them.
ODS and the UN/”Peace Process”
Is the law on
Positioning ODS in terms of UN declarations, international law, the PA,
and two-state diplomacy. (If the
OPEN: free discussion among participants
Optional: Slide History of
BUILDING CONSENSUS ON THE DECLARATION:
Declaration as a Freedom Charter
THE PRINCIPLES: DISCUSSION
principles that will underpin the ODSM:
human rights, anti-racism, equality, freedom, democracy. These may seem
easy, but what do they really mean? How does Palestinian cultural
nationalism fit in ODS? How does Jewish nationalism fit, or does it? How
do conservative religious sects, who may have different views about these
matters, fit and can they be incorporated into the ODS Movement?
agree on what is meant by “one democratic state”:
for example, the secular/religious debate; the nature of the state
(federal/unitary/bi-national); the name of the state. What are the issues
around these and other topics that may divide people’s view of ODS or
their participation in the ODS Movement? How do we prevent these
differencesfrom becoming stumbling blocks? Can we persuade people,
including ourselves, to agree to disagree? What is our role and strategy
as a movement regarding taking positions on these issues and/or serving as
leaders to over-arch differences?
SESSION TWO: The ODS Movement and the World
How the ODS
Movement will relate to the big players—the PLO, PA, Hamas, Palestinian
parties, Jewish solidarity groups, other orgs. It is particularly
sensitive that the PA does not support ODS: what does this mean to the
Movement? How is it best handled, in the interests of long-term unity?
How the ODS
Movement should relate to the solidarity community:
To NGOs, to Palestinian and Jewish peace groups, to the BDS coalition and
other cross-cutting alliances?
The rest of
How the ODS movement will relate to historic Palestinian and Arab
nationalism; the Arab League; the ‘war on terror’; democracy; great-power
interests & interventions (the ‘great game’); the global South.
“The Way Forward”
ACTION PLANNING SESSION
FINAL SESSION: WORKING
Determine needs and next
— Identify potential ODS chapters;
— Identify speakers for speaking tours and teaching/education sessions;
— Plan a sequence of ODS meetings and conferences with geographic spread;
— Identify sources of funding and other support;
— Develop a strategy for media & publicity.
1:00 PM LUNCH AND Close
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