Jeff Halper (l.) and Awad Abdulfatteh (r) made a presentation and took questions from a large Canadian audience at a webinar organized by OFIP on May 9th on the “One Democratic State Campaign” of which they are the co-chairs. Halper is a Jewish Israeli and the founder of the Israeli Committee against House Demolitions. Abdulfattah is a Palestinian citizen of Israel and the former General Secretary of the National Democratic Assembly (NDA), one of four parties in the Israeli Knesset. CTIP has preserved a video recording. See more:
As the Israeli government continues to make statements indicating its intent to annex more and more of the West Bank, many observers are being pushed to start thinking concretely about what next.
One scenario, of course, is that Israel takes over the whole of the land “from the river to the sea”. This would put all Palestinians permanently in a state of subjection to Jewish Israeli domination – whether they live under an “apartheid” situation in the West Bank, a “second class citizen” situation inside Israel or “permanent homeless squalour” as refugees in neighbouring countries.
But few think that that situation could endure very long.
What are the options?
For the last 20 years, neither Palestinians nor Israelis have given much attention to considering any alternatives. The two state solution has been a widely accepted mantra. However, an old idea – that of one state “from the river to the sea” with equality for all – is starting to get some new attention.
The “One Democratic State Campaign”, which is Palestinian- led but supported by a small number of progressive Israeli Jews, has spent some time thinking about why a single democratic state makes sense, and what its main outlines might be.
A full description including the rationale and the 10 point program, is available in a recent article in the on-line publication Mondoweiss.
The Ottawa Forum on Israel/Palestine invited the ODSC -co-chairs to present their ideas in a virtual zoom meeting. Over 90 people attended. Some were excited. Some were skeptical. A few were opposed. Here is the video recording of the event.
Those wishing to know more about the One Democratic State Campaign are encouraged to email them at : firstname.lastname@example.org
Should Canada and Canadians support a 1 state solution?
While the idea of supporting one democratic state seems attractive to many Canadians, others think it is unrealistic and still believe that a 2 state solution is more feasible.
CTIP is of the view that Canadians should not really have a “position” on the 1 SS vs 2 SS issue for the Israel/Palestine situation. Any solution will involve painful compromises for both Palestinians and Israelis. Canadians don’t really have any skin in the game, so it’s not our call.
By the same token, and for the same reasons, CTIP believes the Government of Canada should STOP PROMOTING a 2 state solution as the “only” solution. Palestinians have been told over and over again by the international community (including Canadian governments and various political parties) that the 2 state solution is the only thing the international community will support. This unfairly handcuffs them and limits their ability to think creatively about options.
Canada’s position should be that we will support, and help, any solution which brings about equality, democracy and security for all.
Canada Talks Israel Palestine (CTIP) is the weekly newsletter of Peter Larson, Chair of the Ottawa Forum on Israel/Palestine (OFIP). It aims to promote a serious discussion in Canada about the complicated and emotional Israel/Palestine issue. There is no need to use strong words. A focus on the truth, clear analysis and human rights is enough. Readers who have a different point of view are invited to make comment.
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