On Normalization and the Meeting of Palestinian Movements
by The One Democratic State Campaign (ODSC) in Historic Palestine
(The following is an unofficial translation of the Arabic original declaration. With the translation I expanded some terms to make them understandable to the foreign reader. Thanks to all the people that helped with this translation.)
On September 3rd, the leaders of different Palestinian movements, overcoming deep divisions, met in Beirut and Ramallah. This followed the invitation of the President of the Palestinian Authority, to discuss a common response to the 'Normalization Agreement', between the United Arab Emirates and Israel. What made this meeting possible is the American-Israeli imperialist alliance’s total and aggressive denial of the Palestinian people’s basic rights. The imperialist alliance’s cynical approach removed any remaining illusions about a settlement to the conflict. Such illusions became prevalent after the Oslo Accords, and even existed before.
The imperialist powers are violating international law and humanitarian and ethical standards, and have disappointed all those who gambled on them. With “The Deal of the Century” the USA is repeating the injustices of the British 1917 'Balfour Declaration', by giving the Zionists Palestinian land over which they do not have any rights.
Now they drag corrupt and blood-stained Arab dictatorships into this rogue alliance. Those Arab regimes go beyond normalization to become accomplices in the aggression against the Palestinian people. The Palestinians are exposed to the most heinous crimes by the colonial Western regimes, through their proxy in the region.
All of this forced the Palestinian leadership to choose between two clear options: Surrender or Resistance. As for the Palestinian people, they continue resisting. This resistance has continued for more than a century, against the Western-Zionist plot to uproot and replace them by foreign settlers and form a bridgehead for European colonization in the heart of the Arab region.
The meeting of the factions was an important step towards the national unity yearned for by our Palestinian people. This ever since the disastrous division (between Gaza and the West Bank) in 2007. During this period, Israel waged three atrocious wars and committed numerous crimes against humanity; imposed a blockade on two million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip; intensified its settlement and “Judaization” activities and the killings in the West Bank and Jerusalem; in addition to enforcing colonialist oppression of a million and a half of our people in the Galilee, the Triangle Region and the Naqab. And then, of course, we should not forget the plight of the millions of refugees who were displaced and uprooted from their homeland. Their right of return Israel continues to deny, thus embodying the brutality of Zionism and the lack of justice and ethics of the so-called international community.
National unity, based on a comprehensive, emancipatory vision and a correct resistance strategy, is an essential condition for joint work and a precursor to defeating oppression and achieving freedom and justice. It is also an essential condition to restore and enhance popular Arab support, and to mobilize for our cause all advocates of freedom around the world. Ours is a just cause, that should concern all the peoples of the world, especially the oppressed, of which the Palestinian people is a part, who are struggling to achieve freedom, justice and human dignity.
The question remains: does the movements’ meeting, and its resulting statement and decisions, constitute a real turning point in the march of the Palestinian people, and redefine the way towards freedom and independence? The current leaders bear the responsibility for the division and failure to rebuild the Palestinian national movement and to achieve liberation – they were responsible for the national, political and moral devastation that all this has entailed. Are they qualified, capable, and even willing to break with the era of fatal illusions? Is it possible to move and advance the national liberation project towards a new era of true liberation struggle without the youth and without the participation of new leaderships? Our people ask these questions, people from all the layers of society: workers, peasants, intellectuals, detainees and many others.
Accordingly, the 'One Democratic State Campaign in Historic Palestine' asserts that, in order to fulfil the purpose of the meeting, the following conditions should be provided:
First, we should start from the fact that the Palestinian people, wherever they are, all 13 million, are one people; and that Palestine includes all the land located between the Jordan river and the Mediterranean, not merely the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
Second, affirming the right of return of Palestinian refugees whom the Zionist movement expelled from Palestine and seized their properties, pursued them in their places of refuge, waged wars on them and assassinated some of their leaders. It is a natural and sacred right, recognized by an international decision since 1948.
Third, liberating the 'Palestine Liberation Organization', which has become subordinated to the 'Palestinian Authority' and its “security coordination” with the occupation. It should be liberated from the grip of bureaucracy and the restrictions of the Oslo Accords. It should be rebuilt on democratic foundations to represent all components and communities of the Palestinian people, wherever they are, including the Palestinians of 1948, and based on a program of return and liberation.
Fourth, the withdrawal of the PLO’s recognition of Israel. Israel which has continued expanding its colonial settlements in the West Bank and Jerusalem and imposed a siege on the Gaza Strip. Israel ignores all international laws that prohibit settlements in the occupied territories and criminalize the existing apartheid system. Israel adopted the so-called “Nationality Law” – a blatant colonial apartheid law – to grant false legitimacy to its colonization of all of historic Palestine. Israel has unambiguously stated - together with its patron the United States - that the country located between the river and the sea belongs to the Zionist movement. According to them the Palestinian people have no right to their homeland. A homeland which the Palestinians have not left for thousands of years, except under the pressure of the colonialist Zionist movement and its crimes of ethnic cleansing perpetrated in 1948, and still being perpetrated against the Palestinians - even the holders of its citizenship.
Fifth, responding to this colonial expansion and the new “Balfour Declaration” by stating that the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination applies to all of historic Palestine. This means reviving the PLO’s program, represented by the return and liberation of Palestine from Zionism, its colonial regime and apartheid. The 'One Democratic State Campaign in all of Historic Palestine' revives this solution. But in a modern form, in which Palestinians and Israeli Jews can live in a human, democratic, egalitarian system, after dismantling the Israeli colonial apartheid regime, in the context of the removal of colonialism from the entire Arab region. The one state project is not merely a vision, but a resistance project, in which participate also Jewish anti-Zionists who oppose the system of colonialist settlement and its crimes.
Sixth, holding elections for the Palestinian National Council, with the participation of all the Palestinian people, without exception. The limitation of the elections for the Legislative Council and the Palestinian presidency to the West Bank and Gaza Strip cements the Oslo Accords. But they divide and fragment the Palestinian people and erases the universal Palestinian identity. It keeps the majority of the Palestinian people, especially those in 1948 areas and the refugees, outside the scope of representation, the conflict, the national unity project and the right to self-determination. Further, this exclusion prevents the participation of all Palestinians, without exception, in the Palestinian struggle for the right to self-determination.
Seventh, cancelling all the punitive measures taken by the Palestinian Authority against our people in the Gaza Strip since March 2017, and compensating them for all their dues. It is completely unacceptable to talk of national unity and reconciliation between the movements while, at the same time, imposing sanctions on a key component of our noble people.
Eighth, the adoption of the Palestinian boycott movement in a practical and clear way as a pioneering means of struggle. Acting resolutely against all forms of normalization with apartheid Israel, primarily through the abolition of security coordination with the occupation and the dissolution of the so-called Committee for Interaction with Israeli Society.
Ninth, the formation of a broad, popular front that adopts an effective popular resistance strategy, from all aspects, including the struggle in the streets, cultural, social and economic resistance. This front would establish a path towards a new, free society that is capable of steadfastness and cohesion while it achieves its interim goals, then its ultimate goal of dismantling the colonialist apartheid system and the establishment of the democratic state in all of historic Palestine.
This English translation first appeared on the Free Haifa Website. Reproduced with permission