We are still in times where speaking about a single democratic and secular state in Israel-Palestine is considered contentious. Just look how former Knesset Speaker Avraham Burg was received at a liberal synagogue in NY, when he spoke about this concept – Rabbi Matalon called him a “troublemaker”, and rabbi Cohen said he “pushed all the buttons”.
But today, a new foundation is officially launching – the One State Foundation, which boldly and clearly promotes this concept and goal.
Full disclosure – I am an advisory board member. The team is a serious one, with many strong capacities – Palestinians, Israelis and internationals who share the bold one-state vision. These three board members represent this spectrum:
- Hamada Jaber, who was born in Jerusalem in 1983. He studied Business Administration at the Arab American University in Jenin and holds a master’s degree in Peacekeeping & Security Studies from Roma Tre University in Italy. He is a political activist and participated in dozens of political conferences and workshops. Hamada currently works for the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PSR).
- Ofer Neiman, a Jewish Israeli citizen from Jerusalem/Al-Quds. He has been active in various groups for justice and equality for the Palestinian people. He is currently an active supporter of the BDS Movement. He regularly publishes opinion pieces or translations on outlets such as Mondoweiss and +972.
- Angélique Eijpe, a Dutch diplomat currently on an extended leave in order to support the establishment of the Foundation. Over the past 25 years she regularly lived, worked and studied within the Palestinian Territories and Israel and worked on Dutch foreign policy on the conflict for a number of years after she joined the Dutch Foreign Service in 2002. Directly prior to that she lived in Hebron for a year and a half, working for the Temporary International Presence in the city, initially as an observer, later on as the legal adviser of the organization.
Here is our press release announcing the foundation:
Launch of The One State Foundation: a new Palestinian-Israeli initiative to grow debate and support for a one state solution
Jerusalem, March 1, 2018 – After over 70 years of conflict, 50 years of occupation and close to 25 years of a detrimental and counterproductive peace process it is more urgent than ever to pursue a path to a genuine and all-encompassing solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The One State Foundation launches publicly today with an agenda to broaden debate and ultimately support for a one state solution.
The One State Foundation acknowledges the one state reality that has been in place for over 50 years and aims to have this reality transformed to one in which all people living under the control of the same state have the same civil, political and socio-economic rights and opportunities regardless of their ethnicity or religion. In order for a one state reality to materialize, acknowledging and repairing past and present injustices, among them the right of return, is crucial.
The One State Foundation is an initiative of individual Palestinians, Israelis and internationals who share the conviction that a one state solution is the only available all-encompassing and therefore genuine solution to the conflict. As Hamada Jaber, co-founder and board members states; “We should stop wasting our time and the time of future generations and immediately start investing all our efforts in the only solution; the one state solution. There is already significant support for such a solution in both communities, varying between 30 to 40 percent according to some recent surveys. This despite the fact that no official body or political party on either side has adopted the one state vision, nor does any explicit support for such solution exist within the international community. Should this change, popular support for the one state vision will surely further increase. In addition, I trust the international community can play a crucial role by changing their current policy and funding, which in fact enables and supports the continuation of the de-facto apartheid reality. Instead, it could invest in supporting equal rights for all, thereby standing in true solidarity with the oppressed Palestinian people and ultimately supporting a brighter future for all.”
Jeff Halper, one of the advisory board members adds; “It is time to recognize that Israel has unilaterally and irreversibly created one country between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River. Our task is clear: to transform that apartheid state into a democratic if multicultural state of all its citizens.”
Angélique Eijpe, co-founder and board member addresses the challenge taken on by the foundation as follows; “Envisioning a true and all-encompassing solution is for many – understandably, given the reality – more difficult than embracing some form of ‘managing the conflict’. What we have to keep in mind is that it is not practical impediments that make the realization of one state impossible. It is first and foremost a question of psychology and mindset. Can we make people see, emotionally feel and rationally understand that a shared future in equality is in the end beneficial for all? That is the challenge we are taking on.”