Gideon Levy: It’s time for a ‘one person, one vote’ movement to end Israeli oppression

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The Israeli columnist Gideon Levy has an important piece in Haaretz today calling on the Palestinians to adopt a “one person, one vote” movement to hasten the end of Israeli control over Palestinian lives. While parts of the piece read like a lecture to Palestinians, the general thrust of it is important to air. 

Levy calls on Palestinians to heed the lessons of the South African anti-apartheid movement. The dream of a Palestinian state is withering away, and so their struggle should focus on changing the nature of the Israeli system that rules over their lives.

Here’s an excerpt from the end of the column:

This world cannot remain indifferent to the basic demand of one person, one vote; no one can possibly refuse such a basic right of every human being.

Focusing on this demand will disarm Israel of all its excuses. What can it say? That the Palestinians aren’t human? That they don’t have rights like any other nation? Not every nation has a state, but every person has the right to vote. Palestinians do not have voting rights in the state that determines their fate. Theirs must be a struggle for this right without criminal violence, such as the terror of the second intifada. Such a struggle will attract international support by peoples and governments. Nobody, apart from the Israelis, could possibly oppose it. Israelis will be forced to reexamine their values, beliefs, and all the sacred truths and red lines they invented. Israelis will be forced to admit that for some time now theyhave been living in one state, but it is shadowed by a form of apartheid. Once this happens, there are only two possibilities: Either the Palestinians will succeed as Mandela did to calm people’s fears, and the all-Israeli nightmare of the one-democratic-state solution will make way for the promise of a bright future; or Israelis will finally come to their senses and hasten to withdraw from all the occupied territories and allow, at virtually the last moment, the establishment of a viable Palestinian state. There is no other just possibility for a solution of the conflict.

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