The relentless confiscation of land and control of resources by Israel in occupied Palestine has made the creation of a viable Palestinian state impossible. The situation and the only credible remaining solution is well described in the following Los Angeles Times article.
"The One State Declaration" signed by many knowledgeable figures worldwide can be seen here.
Forget the two-state solution. Israelis and Palestinians must share the land. Equally. By Saree Makdisi Los Angeles Times
May 11, 2008
There is no longer a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Forget the endless arguments about who offered what and who spurned whom and whether the Oslo peace process died when Yasser Arafat walked away from the bargaining table or whether it was Ariel Sharon's stroll through the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem that did it in.
All that matters are the facts on the ground, of which the most important is that -- after four decades of intensive Jewish settlement in the Palestinian territories it occupied during the 1967 war -- Israel has irreversibly cemented its grip on the land on which a Palestinian state might have been created.
Sixty years after Israel was created and Palestine was destroyed, then, we are back to where we started: Two populations inhabiting one piece of land. And if the land cannot be divided, it must be shared. Equally.
This is a position, I realize, which may take many Americans by surprise. After years of pursuing a two-state solution, and feeling perhaps that the conflict had nearly been solved, it's hard to give up the idea as unworkable.
But unworkable it is. A report published last summer by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs found that almost 40% of the West Bank is now taken up by Israeli infrastructure -- roads, settlements, military bases and so on -- largely off-limits to Palestinians. Israel has methodically broken the remainder of the territory into dozens of enclaves separated from each other and the outside world by zones that it alone controls (including, at last count, 612 checkpoints and roadblocks).
Moreover, according to the report, the Jewish settler population in the occupied territories, already approaching half a million, not only continues to grow but is growing at a rate three times greater than the rate of Israel's population increase. If the current rate continues, the settler population will double to almost 1 million people in just 12 years. Many are heavily armed and ideologically driven, unlikely to walk away voluntarily from the land they have declared to be their God-given home.
These facts alone render the status of the peace process academic.
At no time since the negotiations began in the early 1990s has Israel significantly suspended the settlement process in the occupied Palestinian territories, in stark violation of international law. It preceded last November's Annapolis summit by announcing the fresh expropriation of Palestinian property in the West Bank; it followed the summit by announcing the expansion of its Har Homa settlement by an additional 307 housing units; and it has announced plans for hundreds more in other settlements since then.
The Israelis are not settling the occupied territories because they lack space in Israel itself. They are settling the land because of a long-standing belief that Jews are entitled to it simply by virtue of being Jewish. "The land of Israel belongs to the nation of Israel and only to the nation of Israel," declares Moledet, one of the parties in the National Union bloc, which has a significant presence in the Israeli parliament.
Moledet's position is not as far removed from that of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert as some Israelis claim. Although Olmert says he believes in theory that Israel should give up those parts of the West Bank and Gaza densely inhabited by Palestinians, he also said in 2006 that "every hill in Samaria and every valley in Judea is part of our historic homeland" and that "we firmly stand by the historic right of the people of Israel to the entire land of Israel."
Judea and Samaria: These ancient biblical terms are still used by Israeli officials to refer to the West Bank. More than 10 years after the initiation of the Oslo peace process, which was supposed to lead to a two-state solution, maps in Israeli textbooks continued to show not the West Bank but Judea and Samaria -- and not as occupied territories but as integral parts of Israel.
What room is there for the Palestinians in this vision of Jewish entitlement to the land? None. They are regarded, at best, as a demographic "problem."
The idea of Palestinians as a "problem" is hardly new. Israel was created as a Jewish state in 1948 only by the premeditated and forcible removal of as much of the indigenous Palestinian population as possible, in what Palestinians call the Nakba, or catastrophe, which they commemorate this week.
A Jewish state, says Israeli historian Benny Morris, "would not have come into being without the uprooting of 700,000 Palestinians. ... There was no choice but to expel that population." For Morris, this was one of those "circumstances in history that justify ethnic cleansing."
Thinking of Palestinians as a "problem" to be removed predates 1948. It was there from the moment the Zionist movement set into motion the project to make a Jewish state in a land that, in 1917 -- when the British empire officially endorsed Zionism -- had an overwhelmingly non-Jewish population. The only Jewish member of the British government at the time, Edwin Montagu, vehemently opposed the Zionist project as unjust. Henry King and Charles Crane, dispatched on a fact-finding mission to Palestine by President Wilson, concurred: Such a project would require enormous violence, they warned: "Decisions, requiring armies to carry out, are sometimes necessary, but they are surely not gratuitously to be taken in the interests of a serious injustice."
But they were. This is a conflict driven from its origins by Zionism's exclusive sense of entitlement to the land. Has there been Palestinian violence as well? Yes. Is it always justified? No. But what would you do if someone told you that there was no room for you on your own land, that your very existence is a "problem"? No people in history has ever gone away just because another people wanted them to, and the sentiments of Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull live on among Palestinians to this day.
The violence will end, and a just peace will come, only when each side realizes that the other is there to stay. Many Palestinians have accepted this premise, and an increasing number are willing to give up on the idea of an independent Palestinian state and embrace instead the concept of a single democratic, secular and multicultural state, which they would share equally with Israeli Jews.
Most Israelis are not yet reconciled this position. Some, no doubt, are reluctant to give up on the idea of a "Jewish state," to acknowledge the reality that Israel has never been exclusively Jewish, and that, from the start, the idea of privileging members of one group over all other citizens has been fundamentally undemocratic and unfair.
Yet that is exactly what Israel does. Even among its citizens, Israeli law grants rights to Jews that it denies to non-Jews. By no stretch of the imagination is Israel a genuine democracy: It is an ethno-religiously exclusive state that has tried to defy the multicultural history of the land on which it was founded.
To resolve the conflict with the Palestinians, Israeli Jews will have to relinquish their exclusive privileges and acknowledge the right of return of Palestinians expelled from their homes. What they would get in return is the ability to live securely and to prosper with -- rather than continuing to battle against -- the Palestinians.
They may not have a choice. As Olmert himself warned recently, more Palestinians are shifting their struggle from one for an independent state to a South African-style struggle that demands equal rights for all citizens, irrespective of religion, in a single state. "That is, of course," he noted, "a much cleaner struggle, a much more popular struggle -- and ultimately a much more powerful one."
I couldn't agree more.
Saree Makdisi is a professor of English and comparative literature at UCLA and the author of "Palestine Inside Out: An Everyday Occupation."
For decades, efforts to bring about a two-state solution in historic Palestine have failed to provide justice and peace for the Palestinian and Israeli Jewish peoples, or to offer a genuine process leading towards them.
The two-state solution ignores the physical and political realities on the ground, and presumes a false parity in power and moral claims between a colonized and occupied people on the one hand and a colonizing state and military occupier on the other. It is predicated on the unjust premise that peace can be achieved by granting limited national rights to Palestinians living in the areas occupied in 1967, while denying the rights of Palestinians inside the 1948 borders and in the Diaspora. Thus, the two-state solution condemns Palestinian citizens of Israel to permanent second-class status within their homeland, in a racist state that denies their rights by enacting laws that privilege Jews constitutionally, legally, politically, socially and culturally. Moreover, the two-state solution denies Palestinian refugees their internationally recognized right of return.
The two-state solution entrenches and formalizes a policy of unequal separation on a land that has become ever more integrated territorially and economically. All the international efforts to implement a two-state solution cannot conceal the fact that a Palestinian state is not viable, and that Palestinian and Israeli Jewish independence in separate states cannot resolve fundamental injustices, the acknowledgment and redress of which are at the core of any just solution.
In light of these stark realities, we affirm our commitment to a democratic solution that will offer a just, and thus enduring, peace in a single state based on the following principles:
* The historic land of Palestine belongs to all who live in it and to those who were expelled or exiled from it since 1948, regardless of religion, ethnicity, national origin or current citizenship status;
* Any system of government must be founded on the principle of equality in civil, political, social and cultural rights for all citizens. Power must be exercised with rigorous impartiality on behalf of all people in the diversity of their identities;
* There must be just redress for the devastating effects of decades of Zionist colonization in the pre- and post-state period, including the abrogation of all laws, and ending all policies, practices and systems of military and civil control that oppress and discriminate on the basis of ethnicity, religion or national origin;
* The recognition of the diverse character of the society, encompassing distinct religious, linguistic and cultural traditions, and national experiences;
* The creation of a non-sectarian state that does not privilege the rights of one ethnic or religious group over another and that respects the separation of state from all organized religion;
* -The implementation of the Right of Return for Palestinian refugees in accordance with UN Resolution 194 is a fundamental requirement for justice, and a benchmark of the respect for equality.
* -The creation of a transparent and nondiscriminatory immigration policy;
* - The recognition of the historic connections between the diverse communities inside the new, democratic state and their respective fellow communities outside;
* -In articulating the specific contours of such a solution, those who have been historically excluded from decision-making -- especially the Palestinian Diaspora and its refugees, and Palestinians inside Israel -- must play a central role;
* -The establishment of legal and institutional frameworks for justice and reconciliation.
The struggle for justice and liberation must be accompanied by a clear, compelling and moral vision of the destination – a solution in which all people who share a belief in equality can see a future for themselves and others. We call for the widest possible discussion, research and action to advance a unitary, democratic solution and bring it to fruition.
Madrid and London, 2007
Ali Abunimah, Chicago
Naseer Aruri, North Dartmouth, Massachusetts
Omar Barghouti, Jerusalem
Oren Ben-Dor, London
George Bisharat, San Francisco
Haim Bresheeth, London
Jonathan Cook, Nazareth
Ghazi Falah, Akron, Ohio
Leila Farsakh, Boston
Islah Jad, Ramallah
Joseph Massad, New York
Ilan Pappe, Totnes, UK
Carlos Prieto del Campo, Madrid
Nadim Rouhana, Haifa
The London One State Group
Nahla Abdo, Ottawa
Rabab Abdul Hadi, San Francisco
Suleiman Abu-Sharkh, Southampton, UK
Tariq Ali, London
Samir Amin, Dakar
Gabriel Ash, Geneva, Switzerland
Mona Baker, Manchester, UK
James Bowen, Cork, Ireland
Daniel Boyarin, Berkeley
Lenni Brenner, New York City
Eitan Bronstein, Tel Aviv
Michael Chanan, London
Lawrence Davidson, West Chester, Pennsylvania
Uri Davis, Sakhnin
Raymond Deane, Dublin
Angelo D'Orsi, Turin
Haidar Eid, Gaza
Samera Esmeir, Berkeley
Claudine Faehndrich, Neuchatel, Switzerland
Arjan El Fassed, Utrecht
As'ad Ghanem, Haifa
Jess Ghannam, San Francisco
Ramon Grosfoguel, Berkeley
Laila al-Haddad, Gaza
Haifa Hammami, London
Alan Hart, Canterbury
Jamil Hilal, Ramallah
Isabelle Humphries, Cambridge, UK
Salma Jayyusi, Boston
Claudia Karas, Frankfurt
Ghada Karmi, London
Hazem Kawasmi, Ramallah
Joel Kovel, New York City
Ronit Lentin, Dublin, Ireland
Malcolm Levitt, Southampton, UK
Yosefa Loshitzky, London
Saree Makdisi, Los Angeles
Nur Masalha, London
Ugo Mattei, Turin
Sabine Matthes, Munich
Walter Mignolo, Raleigh-Durham
Yonat Nitzan-Green, Winchester, UK
Gian Paolo Calchi Novati, Pavia, Italy
Kathleen O'Connell, Belfast
Rajaa Zoa'bi O'mari, Haifa
One Democratic State Group, Gaza
Gabriel Piterberg, Los Angeles
Claudia Prestel, Leicester
Mazin Qumsiyeh, New Haven
Michael Rosen, London
Emir Sader, Buenos Aires/Rio de Janeiro
Guenter Schenk, Strasbourg
Jules Townshend, Manchester, UK
Danilo Zolo, Florence
Each individual has authored/endorsed this statement in a personal capacity.
Demand Freedom, Justice and Equality in the Holy Land