May 15, 2020
May 15, is Nakba Day, the 72nd anniversary of the expulsion of about 750,000 Palestinians from their homes and homeland, in 1948. But “in the air” this year is a feeling of resurgence, of anticipation that this is not another anniversary, but that we are on the cusp of something new and dramatic in the seemingly interminable Palestinian/Israeli conflict.”
It’s still only a feeling, an incipient inhaling of some political breath, but its there The likely trigger is the annexation of large swathes of the West Bank threatened/promised by the ew Netanyahu/Gantz government, with the blessing — indeed, a push — by the Trump Administration.
Now annexation on its ow is not a good thing. No one wants to see an oppressive apartheid regime strengthened and expanded, with all the more suffering we can expect. But it finally produced that irreversible break-through: whether or not annexation will actually be done, it revealed as clear as day that the “two-state solution” is dead and gone (or, more accurately, that it never existed).
I hear many governments, especially in Europe, wringing their hands. If the two-state illusion cannot be maintained, how will be able to manage the conflict, to protect Israel and its settlements while still giving lip-service to Palestinian human rights? More disappointing to me are all the supposed support groups for Palestinian rights who are also wringing their hands at the prospect that the two-state solution may be over.”
The option is and always was between two stark alternatives: apartheid in the full meaning of the term (and much more violent than that of South Africa that never bombed Soweto with F-16s and artillery) or a single democracy from the River to the Sea. The struggle, the transition, can be scary, of course — the apartheid South African government, who, like all colonial governments, see freedom fighters as “terrorists,” long warned against the bloodbath that never happened — but liberation is overwhelmingly hopeful, a challenge before us, not a threat.
As a member of the One Democratic State Campaign (ODSC), I can feel the ground moving under our feet. Palestinians and internationals are responding to our call for a single state, and conferences, discussions and activities are underway to make it a real alternative. If together, all of us (including as many Israeli Jews as we can muster, although we understand that the vast majority of Israeli Jews, like the whites in South Africa, are not our partners and will have to brought in through internal and international pressures), make this movement one of transparency, mass participation, good faith and strong and focused politics, we can succeed. We can turn the evil of colonization, occupation, apartheid and annexation into something good for all our peoples.
Its happening, annexation is the trigger. But we, Palestinians, their Israeli Jewish partners and all our allies abroad, must come together in a POLITICAL movement. Going fast are the days when you can be a Palestinian support group and not advocate for a political program. Going are the days when vague and unattainable “rights-based approaches” stand in for political programs and action.
Let’s all stop wringing our hands at the “death” of the fictional two-state solution and join an international movement against colonialism, against apartheid and FOR democracy and self-determination. For a new, shared, pluralistic civil society and polity.
Below is the ODSC program. Our website is also up-and-running (onestatecampaign.org). We would be happy to do zoom conferences with your community.
We also need Palestinians and Israeli Jews to endorse our program (even if you don’t agree with every word; its a work in progress). You can endorse through the “Manifesto” page on our website.