Re-imagining Palestine: Self determination, Ethical De-colonization and Equality[1]
July 29, 2009 By Omar Barghouti


With Yassir Arafat's departure, the doubling of the population of Jewish-Israeli colonial settlers in the occupied Palestinian territory, the latest Israeli slow genocide in Gaza and the fast disintegration of the last vestiges of Israeli "democracy," the two-state "solution" for the Palestinian-Israeli colonial conflict is finally dead. Good riddance! This was never a moral or practical solution to start with, as its main objective has always been to win official Palestinian legitimization of Israel's colonial and apartheid existence on top of most of the area of historic Palestine. It is high time to move on to the most just, morally sound and sustainable solution: the secular, democratic unitary state.

Blinded by the arrogance of power and the ephemeral comfort of impunity afforded to it by its US partner and a complicit Europe, Israel, against its own strategic Zionist interests, failed to control its insatiable appetite for ethnically cleansing more of the indigenous people of Palestine and for expanding its control at the expense of their lands, devouring the very last bit of land that was supposed to form the material foundation for an independent Palestinian state.

With its latest siege of Gaza which culminated in its televised massacre of more than 1,500 Palestinians, the great majority of whom are civilians, Israel has entered a new phase in its relentless policy of making life for the indigenous Palestinians so intolerable as to compel them to leave: the slow genocide phase.

I shall argue in this essay that a secular, democratic unitary state in British Mandate Palestine is the most just and morally coherent solution to the century-old colonial conflict, primarily because it offers the best hope for reconciling the ostensibly irreconcilable -- the inalienable rights of the indigenous Palestinians, particularly the right to self-determination, and the acquired rights of the colonial settlers to live in peace and security, individually and collectively, after ridding them of their colonial privileges.

To establish such a state there is critical need for a long, intricate process of what I call ethical de-colonization, or de-zionization, involving two simultaneous, dialectically related processes: reflection and action, to borrow the Brazilian educator Paulo Freire. [2]

Ethical decolonization anchored in international law and universal human rights is a profound process of transformation that requires, above everything else, a sophisticated, principled and popular Palestinian resistance movement with a clear vision for justice and a democratic, inclusive society, as well as an international movement supporting Palestinian rights and struggling to end all forms of Zionist apartheid and colonial rule and de-dichotomizing the conflict in parallel. Without vision and reflection, our struggle would become like a ship without a skipper. Without resistance, our vision would amount to no more than arm-chair intellectualism, if not irrelevant sophistry.


Among the most discussed alternatives to resolving the question of Palestine, the democratic state solution lays out the clearest mechanism for ending the three-tiered regime of injustice that Palestinians have suffered from since the creation of the state of Israel in 1948 on the ruins of Palestinian society: the occupation and colonization of the Palestinian - and other Arab -- territory occupied by Israel in 1967; the system of institutionalized and legalized racial discrimination, [3] or apartheid, to which the indigenous Palestinian citizens of Israel are subjected to on account of being "non-Jews;" and the persistent denial of the UN-sanctioned rights of the Palestine refugees, especially their right to return to their homes of origin and to reparations.

A two-state solution cannot adequately, if at all, address the second injustice or the third, the core of the question of Palestine. A bi-national solution, also, other than its inherent logical and legal flaws, cannot accommodate the right of return as stipulated in UNGA resolution 194, not to mention the fact that it infringes, by definition, the inalienable rights of the indigenous Palestinians on part of their homeland, particularly the right to self determination. Recognizing national rights of Jewish settlers in Palestine cannot but imply accepting their right to self determination, other than contradicting the very letter, spirit and purpose of the universal principle of self determination primarily as a means for "peoples under colonial or alien domination or foreign occupation" to realize their rights, may, at one extreme, lead to claims for secession or Jewish "national" sovereignty on part of the land of Palestine. A Jewish state in Palestine, no matter what shape it takes, cannot but infringe the basic rights of the land's indigenous Palestinian population and perpetuate a system of racial discrimination that ought to be opposed categorically.

Accepting the colonial settlers as equal citizens and full partners in building and developing a new shared society, free from all colonial subjugation and discrimination, as called for in the democratic state model, is the most magnanimous offer any indigenous population, oppressed for decades, can present to its oppressors. For such a reality to be attained and sustained, however, the settlers must shed their colonial character and privileges, accepting justice, the Palestinian refugees' return and reparations, and unmitigated equality. The indigenous population, on the other hand, must be ready, after justice has been reached and rights have been restored, to forgive and to accept the settlers as equal citizens, enjoying normal lives -- neither masters nor slaves.

As the One State Declaration [4], issued by several Palestinian, Israeli and international intellectuals and activists states:

"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; ..."

Feasibility aside, there are several key issues that ought to be scrutinized when raising the slogan of a "Democratic State in Historic Palestine." For the most part, these questions revolve around how, even whether, such a vision purports to deal with the following questions. Any exhaustive answer will undoubtedly demand massive research; I shall only propose, then, brief answers that lay out the morally-consistent principles that I believe are required to address the issues at hand, keeping in mind, throughout, the pre-eminence of the principles of de-colonization, justice and self determination as minimal conditions for achieving relative justice.

The Right to Self Determination and the Palestinian People

But why is the right to self determination an essential legal instrument in the quest for Palestinian rights and a just and sustainable solution to the settler-colonial conflict in historic Palestine?

The United Nations has called the right to self-determination a prerequisite to the enjoyment of all other human rights. This right entered international law, formally at least, in the United Nations Charter, Article 1(2), which states:

"The purposes of the United Nations are to develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples."

Note that equal rights of all people always proceeds the right to self determination and all other rights as the most fundamental principle in the UN Charter.

By 1960, with the adoption of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Peoples, GA Res 1514, the principle was elevated to the position of an unconditional right for peoples under "alien, colonial or oppressive domination" and called for a "speedy and unconditional end to colonialism in all its manifestations."

In the following decades, the scope and applicability of the right to self determination expanded to include indigenous peoples suffering from consequences of past colonial rule, unrepresented peoples, and national minorities oppressed by national majorities within the boundaries of a state.

UNGA Resolution 3236, of 22 November 1974, elevates the applicability of the right to self determination to the people of Palestine to an "inalienable" right. The Resolution:

1. Reaffirms the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people in Palestine, including:

(a) The right to self-determination without external interference;

(b) The right to national independence and sovereignty;

2. Reaffirms also the inalienable right of the Palestinians to return to their homes and property from which they have been displaced and uprooted, and calls for their return;

3. Emphasizes that full respect for and the realization of these inalienable rights of the Palestinian people are indispensable for the solution of the question of Palestine ... .

A morally-consistent, rights-based approach to resolving the question of Palestine, therefore, necessitates addressing the three inalienable rights of the indigenous people of Palestine, in harmony with universal human rights and international law.

Reconciling the inalienable Palestinian right to self determination with Jewish-Israeli individual and collective rights

Other than the fundamental issue of the inalienable Palestinian right to self determination, there are several key rights-related questions that ought to be scrutinized when raising the slogan of a Democratic State in Historic Palestine:

(1) Equal & Democratic Citizenship: This precludes any privileged status for citizens on account of their ethnic, religious or other forms of identity, beyond the initial requirements of justice and reparations for the dispossessed Palestinians. This citizenship ought to encompasse all Palestinians inside historic Palestine as well as in exile and refugee camps; it also encompasses all current Jewish Israelis

(2) The right of return and reparation for Palestinian refugees: How can repatriation and reparation be implemented in such a state? What should be done with current Jewish-Israeli colonies or settlements built on Palestinian lands and homes illegally expropriated during and ever since the 1948 Nakba?

The general rule, as stipulated in international law, is the right of every Palestinian refugee to return to his/her home of origin and to receive full, retroactive reparations. This must be done while avoiding the infliction of any unnecessary or disproportionate suffering on the Jewish community in Palestine. There is a need, then, to make a distinction between two types of pillaged property: (a) private or collectively-owned property; and (b) property that was designated as state owned prior to the Nakba.

In the first case, private and collectively-owned property, in accordance with international law, should be returned to its rightful owners. When doing so is reasonably expected to cause unjust harm to a large number of citizens -- fair criteria need to be developed, inspired by similar ones adopted in Bosnia and elsewhere, to decide what degree of harm and number of those affected is considered unjust -- compensation in the form of property of comparable location and worth should be offered to the original owners.

In the second case, that of state-owned property, current buildings and structures can remain intact, provided they benefit all the democratic state's citizenry, without discrimination.

(3) The Jewish community in a democratic Palestine: Has a "national Jewish-Israeli identity" evolved over the past six decades? If yes, who is included in it? Regardless, are Jewish Israelis, as a separate community, entitled to the right to self determination in Palestine?

(a) Some researchers, particularly Zionist ideologues and those influenced by Zionist assertions, have claimed an inherent or acquired Jewish right to self determination in Palestine that is equivalent, even morally symmetric, to the Palestinian right to self determination, thereby blurring the essential differences between the inalienable rights of the indigenous population and the acquired rights of the colonial-settler population. Even if we ignore the formidable body of evidence refuting the seminal Zionist historical claim to the land of Palestine, there is no moral parity or legal symmetry between the modern colonizers and the people that was subjugated to colonialism, and there has never been in any case of settler colonialism throughout modern history. The right to self determination, as defined and applied by the UN, was never intended, after all, as a tool to perpetuate colonial privileges and reinforce discriminatory regimes of settler-colonial communities. After more than 300 years of European settler-colonial domination in South Africa, for instance, the settlers never made a credible claim to a right to self determination as a separate people.

(b) A UNESCO conference of experts on the implementation of the right to self determination, held in Barcelona in 1998, [5] reaffirmed that the right to self-determination applies to all peoples under contemporary international law, but emphasized its particular applicability to "peoples under subjugation suffering colonial, racist and occupying regimes, whole populations of states, in terms of the right to determine their political status and their economic, social and cultural development, as well as groups within the population of states, indigenous or otherwise, that are considered ‘peoples' and suffer under contemporary forms of colonialism, such as settler-colonialism, which do not fit into the traditional and arbitrary concept of ‘salt water colonialism'."[6] In other words, the right to self determination is an instrument of promoting a just peace and ending oppression, not entrenching it.

(c) "Self-determination is achieved by fully participatory democratic processes among the people who are seeking the realisation of self-determination, including referenda where appropriate. ... It is imperative to prevent all actions by any relevant actors, which include governments, international and other organizations, individuals and corporations, which may result in the denial of the exercise of the right to self-determination, such as demographic aggression or manipulation, cultural assimilation and the destruction of the natural environment of importance to the survival of peoples."[7]

The holding of a referendum is a widely accepted act of self-determination. However, in areas which the community wishing to exercise self-determination shares with other peoples and communities, conflicts may arise. Where those other inhabitants are settlers, specifically, many experts at the UNESCO conference felt that "they should not be entitled to take part in such referenda." "This is particularly true," a conference report adds, "where settlers have been moved to indigenous regions or encouraged to do so under a government program aimed at changing the demographic composition of the region in question. Such practices, whether overt or covert, have caused many peoples to be reduced to a numerical minority in their own homelands."

A case in point is the UN-endorsed referendum in the Western Sahara in 1975. Setting an important precedent, "The United Nations has decided that persons transferred to the region or encouraged to move there by the Moroccan government, since 1975, do not have the right to vote in the referendum."[8]

(d) Settler colonialism aside, do Jewish Israelis constitute a people, in the sense of entitlement to the right to self determination? The widely accepted "Kirby definition," adopted at a UNESCO International Meeting of Experts on the Implementation of the Right to Self-Determination as a Contribution to Conflict Prevention in 1989,[9] may suggest an affirmative answer to the question. It identifies a people as "a group of individual human beings who enjoy some or all of the following common features: history, ethnic identity, culture, language, territorial connection, etc.

However, UNESCO experts further underline that "the group as a whole must have the will to be identified as a people or the consciousness of being a people," as the key subjective element common to other legal definitions of peoples. This subjective element is considered a necessary condition that is lacking in the case of Jewish Israelis, who predominantly recognize only a "Jewish nation," not an Israeli, or even a Jewish-Israeli nation. The Israeli Supreme Court refuses to recognize Israeli nationality as well. Jewish "nationality," as embodied in the Israeli Law of Return, is an extraterritorial construct that includes the entire population of Jews around the world, in contravention of international public law norms pertaining to nationality.[10]

(e) Other than being a war crime and infringing the right to self determination of the indigenous people of Palestine, Israel's establishment through the premeditated and systematic destruction of Palestinian society and the forcible transfer of a majority of the Palestinian people, which Zionist leaders considered a necessary condition for establishing a Jewish-majority state, cannot give rise to a right of self determination for the community of Jewish Israelis, who currently form a majority in the state. This is according to the general international law principle, "ex injuria non oritur ius," or no right can be derived from injustice or the commission of a wrong.

(f) But even if, for the sake of argument, we ignored all the above, would Jewish Israelis as a group be entitled, then, to the right to self determination in Palestine? Among other moral and legal factors, since the right to self determination entails, at one extreme, the right to separation in an independent state, it cannot apply to a settler colonial community as that would inherently violate and conflict with the right of the indigenous population to self determination.

But the realization of self determination can assume one of many possibilities in a spectrum. After all, international instruments, in particular the Declaration on Principles of International Law concerning Friendly Relations and Co-operation among States, state that the modes of implementation of the right to self-determination extend beyond the right of secession. The Declaration states[11]:

"the establishment of a sovereign and independent State, the free association or integration with an independent State or emergence into any other political status freely determined by a people constitute modes of implementing the right to self-determination by that people ... ."

Although there is no universally acceptable distinction between "internal" and "external" self-determination, it may be instructive to investigate the differences between them in the context of the colonial conflict in Palestine. Internal self determination largely entails participatory democracy: the right to decide the form of government and to elect rulers by the entire population of a state as well as the right of a population group within the state to participate in decision making at the state level. Internal self-determination can also mean the right to exercise cultural, linguistic, religious or (territorial) political autonomy within the boundaries of the existing state.

External self-determination (described by some as "full" self-determination), on the other hand, means "the right to decide on the political status of a people and its place in the international community in relation to other states, including the right to separate from the existing state of which the group concerned is a part, and to set up a new independent state," according to van Praag.

In all cases, since the choice is left to the people entitled to exercise self determination, one cannot accede to a group's right to self determination and at the same time restrict that right to exclude the possibility of separation into an independent state. Even if we set aside the extremity of secession, any exercise of self determination by Jewish Israelis in any part of historic Palestine that excludes the indigenous Palestinians, whether citizens living in that part or refugees uprooted from it, cannot be legal, as it would infringe the inalienable right of that part of the Palestinian people to self determination; nor can it be moral, as it would deny those Palestinians their basic rights, including the right to equality, the most fundamental of all rights in the UN Charter and human rights conventions.

(4) The Zionist "Law of return" and the rights of Jewish refugees from Arab and other states

Being an explicitly racist law that is in contravention of international law and that has played a key role in the Zionist settler-colonial project, the Law of Return and all other similarly discriminatory laws must be abrogated in a democratic state.

As for Jewish refugees from Arab states, they are entitled, according to international law, to the same rights as refugees everywhere, including Palestinian refugees: the right to repatriation and reparation.

(5) Ethnic and Cultural Particularities of Palestinian Arabs and Jewish Israelis

Cultural particularity and identity should be nourished, not just tolerated, by society and protected by law. Palestine was for centuries a fertile meeting ground for diverse civilizations and cultures, fostering communication, dialogue and acculturation among them. This heritage, almost forgotten under the cultural hegemony of Zionist colonial rule, must be revived, nourished and celebrated, regardless of any power asymmetry in the new state. We also must keep in mind that half of the Jewish Israeli population, the Mizrahi Jews, have their cultural roots in Arab and other Middle Eastern cultures.

Regardless of the above vital components of the vision, perhaps the most nagging question that one state advocates face is whether our vision is feasible, whether it can be realized, and, if yes, how. Many commentators and analysts, even among supporters of the one state solution, seem to be obsessed with one question in this regard: how do you convince Israelis to accept this vision?


There is a basic problem in the assumed premise in this question -- that a colonial society can or should be persuaded to give up its racist domination and colonial privileges. Throughout the history of colonialism, the colonized were only able to end their oppression through sustained resistance, whether armed, civil, or both -- never through begging, appeasing or otherwise persuading through "dialogue." Only after a common ground is reached based on equality, universal human rights and international law can there be genuine dialogue and reconciliation. The South African experience is an important source of inspiration in that regard.

Besides developing and effectively promoting a morally consistent and compelling vision, organizing for a secular, democratic state alternative primarily entails developing a corresponding strategy of resistance aimed at ending all forms of Zionist oppression while creating fertile grounds for future reconciliation and peaceful coexistence based on unmitigated equality, justice and universal human rights. This is what I call the ethical de-Zionization/decolonization of Palestine, a process that entails a de-dichotomization of the two main groups' identities involved in this colonial conflict.

Moral reconciliation between conflicting communities is impossible if the essence of the oppressive relationship between them is sustained. The objectively contradictory identities of the oppressor and oppressed cannot find a moral middle ground. So long as the relation of oppression obtains, only coercion, submission and injustice are possible outcomes. Reconciliation and coexistence, then, can only result from ethical decolonization

What form of resistance and action is needed to bring us closer to realizing the secular, democratic state solution? I think there are three central pillars that a Palestinian-led, one democratic state movement needs to be founded on:

The Palestinian Pillar: The main vehicle that can carry this process forward must be a unified, democratized and revolutionary Palestinian movement that represents Palestinians everywhere, includes all political parties and grassroots unions and institutions, upholds the democratic state vision, and leads the resistance, in all its forms, to achieve it. A progressive Palestinian movement upholding equality, universal principles of morality and international law is more crucial than ever, particularly given the steadily growing disillusion with the two-state solution among Palestinians, in all three segments -- in exile, in the 1967-occupied Palestinian territory and inside Israel.

The right of return movement, representing the largest Palestinian constituency, the refugees, has been among the most fervent supporters of the one democratic state solution, realizing that the right of return and the two-state solution are basically incompatible. Palestinian citizens of Israel, in the three historic documents[12] issued by leading institutions, political leaders and intellectuals among them, have largely adopted the slogan of "a state of all its citizens," which lends credence to the one state vision approach and principles. Even Palestinians in the OPT, recent polls reveal[13], have been expressing a steadily growing support for one state, despite the fact that no political party is calling for it.

A thorough and critical reassessment of the entire Palestinian strategy of resistance is urgently needed, in order to creatively mobilize Palestinians from all sectors and geographic locations in the struggle. To this end, promoting civil resistance, as in the campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, or BDS, is a top priority.[14]

To this end, the PLO needs to be reconstructed from the bottom up with mass participation, particularly by democratic grassroots unions; it must be governed by unfettered democracy, upholding the principle of proportional representation.[15]

The Arab Pillar: Any reading of the history of the Arab region tells us that transformations cannot be sustained o developed in one part without the maturity of nurturing conditions in its surrounding context. Being part of the Arab nation, with all its geo-strategic importance, is one of the basic factors that has spared the Palestinians the fate of Native Americans and other aboriginal populations that were subjected to full-scale genocide in the "new world." And although most Arab regimes today are autocratic, despotic, unrepresentative of their respective peoples, and mostly reliant in their survival on Western protection, the Arab masses are more aware of and committed to the Palestinian struggle than ever, as evident in the -- admittedly mostly emotional -- outpouring of support during the Israeli criminal war of aggression on Gaza.

The Palestinian factor is largely regarded as a domestic factor, not just in the countries surrounding Palestine, but also in Arab countries as far as Morocco, Yemen and the United Arab Emirates. The emergence of a Palestinian leadership that advocates a democratic state solution, therefore, has every potential to mobilize wider Arab grassroots support, eventually becoming a political force to be reckoned with. Already, boycott of Israel and of companies that are viewed as perpetuating its oppression is spreading throughout the Arab world, albeit without an organized leadership, for the most part. The so-called "peace dividend" that Israel has banked on since Oslo without conceding any land or rights in return is quickly disappearing. Israel is again being viewed as the Arab nation's strategic enemy and as an inherently belligerent, artificial entity whose existence as a racist and colonial outpost cannot be tolerated or normalized.

The International Pillar: As in the struggle against South-African apartheid, connecting the struggle for Palestinian rights with international social movements, trade unions, faith-based organizations, cultural and academic groups, among other civil society bodies, is indispensable. If international civil society solidarity groups, committed to BDS to isolate Israel have started to emerge ever since the UN World Conference Against Racism in Durban in 2001, now, four years after the Palestinian Civil Society Call for BDS was launched, these groups are starting to look and act like a movement that is guided by the Palestinian Call and that is taking root in several countries, from South Africa to Sweden, and from Australia to Canada, not to forget the United Kingdom, of course.

This resolutely anti-racist, diverse movement is guided by the principles of inclusion, gradualness, sustainability, context-sensitivity and the primacy of international law and universal human rights. And although the West, owing to its overwhelming political and economic power as well as its complicity in perpetuating Israel's colonial and apartheid domination, remains the main battleground for this nonviolent resistance, the rest of the world should not be ignored. The boycott movement should reach China, India, Malaysia, South Africa, Brazil, and Russia, among other states which seek to challenge the West's monopoly on power. Zionist influence in those states remains significantly weaker than in the West. Indeed, South African civil society is today the single most committed supporter of the Palestinian BDS struggle.

Can BDS change anything on the ground, though, given Israel's formidable influence over Congress, the White House and, by extension, the EU? The still-young Palestinian BDS campaign, modeled after the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa, has already shown ample evidence that it has the potential of unifying Palestinians and international solidarity movements in a resistance strategy that is moral, effective and sustainable. In the last few years alone, many mainstream and influential groups, unions and institutions have heeded the Palestinian BDS Call and started to consider or apply diverse forms of effective pressure on Israel.

During and ever since Israel's war on Gaza, Palestinian civil society has stood more united than ever in urging people of conscience all over the world to hold Israel accountable for its crimes by treating it as South Africa was under apartheid rule. In response, unions, academic groups, faith-based organizations, political parties, social movements and others have adopted creative, context-sensitive and sustainable BDS campaigns, from South Africa to Norway, from Australia to Canada, from Britain to Venezuela, and even from the podium of the President of the UN General Assembly.

Israel's state terrorism in Gaza, enabled by virtually unlimited support from the US and Western governments in general, was a key catalyst in spreading and deepening BDS around the world, prompting advocates of Palestinian rights to feel that our South Africa moment has finally arrived. Israel is now widely perceived, at a grassroots level, as an international pariah that commits war crimes with impunity and that needs to be held accountable to international law and basic principles of human rights.

With every achievement that the BDS movement charts, the long path to the one democratic state solution becomes shorter. After all, although the BDS movement has never taken a position in the one-state/two-states debate, being a rights-based movement, the only solution that can logically accommodate the three basic rights stated in the BDS Call is a one democratic state solution. The spread of the compelling BDS message around the world is inspiring new sectors in international civil society to join the struggle for Palestinian rights; it is quite effectively raising awareness about Israel's three-tiered system of oppression of the Palestinian people; and it is unintentionally convincing many that only a democratic, unitary state is worth fighting for.

By emphasizing equal humanity as its most fundamental principle, the secular democratic state promises to end the fundamental injustices that have plagued Palestine and, simultaneously, to transcend national and ethnic dichotomies that now make it nearly impossible to envision ethical coexistence in a decolonized Palestine, based on equality, justice and freedom.


[1] Based on two presentations, the first to the International Conference on the One & Two State Solutions for Palestine/Israel, Boston, 28-29 March 2009, sponsored by the Trans Arab Research Institute (TARI) and the the Joiner Center for the Study of War and Its Social Consequences of the University of Massachusetts, Boston, and the second to the conference titled Israel/Palestine: Mapping Models of Statehood and Paths to Peace, Toronto, 22-24 June 2009, sponsored by Queen's University and York University, Canada.

[2] Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed. New York: Continuum Books, 1993.

[3] Even human rights reports issued by the US State Department have condemned Israel's "institutional, legal and societal discrimination" against the indigenous Palestinians. For example, see the 2008 report:



[6] Amy Maguire, Law Protecting Rights: Restoring the law of self-determination in the neo-colonial world. In Law Text Culture, Volume 12, Issue 1. 2008.

[7] UNESCO conference of expert, ibid.



[10] For more on this see: United against Apartheid, Colonialism and Occupation - Dignity and Justice for the Palestinian People. Palestinian Civil Society Strategic Position Paper. October 2008.


[12] The Democratic Constitution (2007):; The Haifa Declaration (2007):; The Future Vision (2006):



[15] For more on this see:

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Moral reconciliation between conflicting communities is impossible if the essence of the oppressive relationship between them is sustained. The objectively contradictory identities of the oppressor and oppressed cannot find a moral middle ground. So long as the relation of oppression obtains, only coercion, submission and injustice are possible outcomes. Reconciliation and coexistence, then, can only result from ethical decolonization

Ethical decolonization anchored in international law and universal human rights is a profound process of transformation that requires, above everything else, a sophisticated, principled and popular Palestinian resistance movement with a clear vision for justice and a democratic, inclusive society, as well as an international movement supporting Palestinian rights and struggling to end all forms of Zionist apartheid and colonial rule and de-dichotomizing the conflict in parallel. Without vision and reflection, our struggle would become like a ship without a skipper. Without resistance, our vision would amount to no more than arm-chair intellectualism, if not irrelevant sophistry.

I wonder what he mean by the word "end all forms of Zionist apartheid and colonial rule and de-dichotomizing the conflict in parallel." and how people who are Zionist and think that Israel is important for the Jews should accept that claims.

What the hell is dichotomizing how do you do de-dichotomizing the conflict.

I see here a sea of words that try to hide "destroy Israel" message.
Thanks, Mazin! For me too, a secular democratic state, nothing less, nothing more!
(Even if it will be very hard to overcome the tribalists of all sides, I know...)
Dear Shaul and Neri:

The Zionist narrative has always insited on dichotomy. Jews who oppose it were labeled self-hating Jews. It always thought in terms of tribaluism just like apartheid supporters in South Africa thought of blacks vs whites but ofcourse there were whites AND blacks who supported apartheid and whites and blacks who opposed it. It is sad that such a thoughtful article warrants only a dismissive tone by Neri. It shows taht we have a long way ahead in the struggle for peace with justice.



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