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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.

This announcement was published also in Arabic and Hebrew.