(The following declaration was published on May 15, 2020, on the site of the One Democratic State Campaign – ODSC)
For the past 72 years, the Zionist project has not ceased its colonial campaign of expanding, grabbing land, ethnically cleansing and killing, a campaign that has accompanied Israel since its recognition as a legitimate state by the United Nations in 1948. A product of settler colonialism, Zionism was an inherently violent and brutal project. Settler colonialism, after all, is founded on the elimination of the native and their replacement by the settler state. “Peace” in such a colonial project is an illusion. It comes only with the destruction of the indigenous population, whether physically or culturally.
Since the Nakba, Palestinians have found themselves faced with colonial expansion that proceeds systematically, ripping the land into fragments, segregating and imprisoning the native communities through an intricate infrastructure of highways and settlements heavily guarded by the Israeli military apparatus – and today fortified by the apartheid wall. Recent years have seen the transformation of ethno-national extremism and “incremental genocide” into official state policy, formalized by the infamous “Jewish Nation-State” bill and the impending annexation of large swathes of the West Bank, all supported by Imperial governments and made possible by collaborationist Arab regimes.
The Palestinian people have nobly defended themselves and resisted their oppression from the start, utilizing all the tools at their disposal. The sacrifices that this nation has made are limitless and ongoing, their continuous defiance of subjugation in the pursuit of liberation and a dignified life inexhaustible. Our movement for national liberation, embodied in the PLO, placed the Palestinian struggle at the center of global attention. Our struggle as a colonized people fighting for liberation occurs not only against Zionism and the imperial governments that support it, but exists alongside dozens of other struggles in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, all still fighting the forces of neo-colonialism and capitalism. The Palestinian liberation movement is part and parcel of this global struggle.
Pressures on the PLO to compromise the ambitions of the Palestinians by erecting a truncated, impoverished and non-sovereign Bantustan in Gaza and pieces of the West Bank in the name of “peace” is merely an attempt to deflect the Palestinian people from its liberation efforts. This is the meaning of the catastrophic Oslo Accords and its two-state illusion, which today everyone sees as a ruse. In the meantime, the colonial project cemented its settler reality throughout the country and, by institutionalizing Palestinian division, undermined the PLO as the tool for emancipation.
Today, in historic Palestine, the struggle continues against a determined Apartheid regime that is poised to extend its rule formally over all of Palestine. On this 72nd anniversary of the Palestinian and Arab Nakba, we renew our call to reinvigorate the Palestinian cause and its institutions of liberation. We call not only for the defeat of Zionism’s colonial apartheid project, but for the establishment of a single democratic state between the River and the Sea, one which ensures security, equality and prosperity for all its citizens, regardless of nationality, race and religion, and the return of the refugees. We call on all civil society actors – trade unions, university groups, religious institutions, intellectual and cultural figures, political organizations, grassroots groups and others – to join with us in our joint struggle for liberation, democracy, equality and social justice in historic Palestine.
May 15, 2020
(On May 11, activists from different groups supporting one democratic state in Palestine, met over Zoom to discuss common work. The immediate result was a publication of a common declaration on the eve of the 72 Nakba commemoration. To read the original Arab declaration you may follow this link. The English version is somewhat abbreviated.)