On Wednesday, February 11, 2015, key activists of “The Popular Movement for One Democratic State on the Land of Historic Palestine” published (on Facebook and other sites) a declaration in Arabic explaining their opposition to the initiative called “Two States – One Homeland”. Below is a translation of the document, omitting few sentences related to internal organizational issues of the Popular Movement. The full document can be read in Arabic in the blog “Haifa Al-Hura حيفا الحرة“.
Call to restore the role and activity of the Popular Movement for One Democratic State
In May 15, 2013, The Popular Movement for One Democratic State on the Land of Historical Palestine was launched. Its establishment was announced in a festive gathering and its founding statement was signed by the participants. The statement poses clearly the vision of the movement for resolution of the Palestinian-Zionist conflict based on the idea of one democratic state (ODS), in the full meanings of the term, based on the universal values that have won near-consensus in the international community.
The announcement was met with agreement and praise by all groups that affirm this solution in historical Palestine and abroad. We started spreading the idea by all available means, through seminars, conferences and direct contacts with the public. On the organizational level, a Steering Committee was established to manage the movement and a draft statute of internal regulations (bylaws) was prepared for the movement. In September 2013 it was agreed to hold the congress of the movement, no later than the end of that year, to discuss, finalize and agree the bylaws, to hold democratic elections to the Steering Committee and to develop an action plan. But this congress did not take place.
In May 2014 an international conference of ODS supporters was held in Zurich in Switzerland, bringing together groups from Palestine, Europe and the US. The conference was successful and encouraged the establishment of a global movement for ODS in Palestine, with the Munich Declaration forming the common denominator for all groups. The conference enabled networking among participating individuals and groups.
Recently details of another project began to emerge. This project is not about ODS. It is a Zionist project, sponsored by an organization known as IPCRI, and was published under the name “Two States in One Space”. The Spokespersons for the Palestinian party and the Israeli party in this project were presented as coordinating for a “Two States in One Homeland” project.
We, in the Steering Committee, knew of the existence of meetings with a group of Israelis for dialogue on the question of resolving the conflict, where this project was discussed. Some of us, having participated in those meetings, came to the conclusion that this other project is contrary to and incompatible with the idea of a single democratic state, and therefore declined to continue attending these meetings. Other, however, continued to participate in this other project.
On November 29, 2014, a Palestinian party and an Israeli party held a conference in the Ambassador Hotel in Jerusalem, under the supervision of IPCRI, entitled “Two States in One Homeland”. Some members of the Steering Committee received personal invitations to attend this conference, but the organizers gave the impression that their participation in the conference is the participation of the Popular Movement.
After we were able to inspect the program of this conference, which presented one of the members of the Steering Committee as a representative of the Palestinian party in this Zionist project, we concluded that this represented a blatant departure from the idea of one state and a clear ideological contradiction. We demanded a special meeting to discuss this issue and take a decisive position in respect of this other project. Unfortunately, the internal discussion was stalled and the arrangements were upheld for some to attend the said conference, partake in its actions and promote this Zionist project of “Two States in One Space”, which we reject for the following reasons:
First, the project emphasizes the consolidation of the faits accomplis on the ground, giving legitimacy to the Zionist settlements in the West Bank, while the international law recognizes the illegality of the settlements. Even the USA says that the settlements are not legitimate. How is it possible to accept the legitimacy of the settlements and agree that the settlers will be citizens of Israel and residents of the putative Palestinian state? Consequently, this is consecration of the current reality.
Secondly, according to the project, the right of return of the Palestinian refugees is to the putative Palestinian state, and not to their places (mostly the areas that are occupied since 1948 – the translator) from which they were expelled. This, by the way, is a classic Zionist position, rejecting the right of return, denying moral and political responsibility for the Nakba and its consequences, and rejecting responsibility for the ethnic cleansing perpetrated by Zionism against the Palestinian people, ethnic cleansing which is still practiced even today. This is thus also a breach of the principles of the founding statement of the Popular Movement.
Third, at a time when the owners of the two-state solution theory begin to recognize the failure of this solution, the two sides in this new project reintroduce the two-state solution to the political arena dressed in a new gown by adding freedom of movement and residence, which had in fact existed before the Oslo agreement. The project comes back to limit the freedom of residence of the Palestinians who are refugees since 1948 and to tie it to the number of settlers. Thus it creates equality between the refugees, who were expelled from their land by force, and the settlers, who seized the land of others by force. The project refuses to touch the settlers under the slogan: old grievances are not settled by new injustices.
This issue constituted a point of principled contention in the Steering Committee. We waited about three months for it to be clarified by the group that supported the “two states in one space” project. They claimed that this project doesn’t conflict the ODS solution, but no one could explain to us how this could be.
Therefore, a number of members of the Constituent Committee of the Popular Movement for One Democratic State announced that whoever is attending the conference represents only himself and that we, as a movement, carry no responsibility for this project.
Therefore this clarification has become necessary, because we cling to the idea of the Popular Movement and the idea of ODS. Here we enclose for you the document “two states in one space”, as well as the founding statement of the Popular Movement, for reading. Let every one of the members of the constituent body of the movement and each of its supporters take his or her decision freely, based on their reason and conscience and decide their position (…).
The next step will be to invite all those who decide to stick to the founding statement of the Popular Movement to a meeting for the election of a coordinating body for the movement, to put our house in order again, to design an action plan and to newly launch the movement.
With fraternal greetings,