Young Palestinians eye a one-state solution

Palestine's President Mahmoud Abbas speaks during the UN General Assembly at the UN on Wednesday in New York. (AFP)
Updated 24 September 2017
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Young Palestinians eye a one-state solution

BETHLEHEM: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has reawakened a desire in many young Palestinians to scrap the two-state solution in favor of a single state shared by Israelis and Palestinians.
In his speech last week at the UN General Assembly in New York, Abbas made his strongest argument yet for an alternative to the political consensus. He referred to Israel military rule in Palestine as “occupation” 28 times, and criticized US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman for his use of the term “alleged occupation.”
Abbas mentioned the two-state solution 13 times, but warned the world community of what would happen if this vision were to “be destroyed due to the creation of a one-state reality with two systems — apartheid — from the unchecked imposition of this occupation that is rejected by our people and the world.”
Abbas concluded by saying that if the two-state solution were to fail “we will have no choice but to continue the struggle and demand full, equal rights for all inhabitants of historic Palestine.”
Sami Awad, executive director of the Holy Land Trust and a non-violence activist, told Arab News that Abbas’s speech was music to his ears. “I have been against the two-state solution for some time, because I am worried that the Palestinian component of this state will be totally undemocratic, as Israel and the US will give importance to security over democracy.”
Rameh Mismar, from Nablus, told Arab News he was in favor of the one-state concept, but it would require a new strategy. “We will need to review and reformat our own thinking in terms of our relations with Israel and Israelis.”
Mismar said Abbas’s speech had changed the rules of the game. “Now Palestinians are challenging Israelis to three possibilities: Two states, one state, or the rocket and bearded state of Hamas.”
Vivian Rabia, a left-wing activist from Ramleh in Israel, attended a workshop on the need to humanize Palestinians in the media narrative. “The two-state solution is impossible with the current situation on the ground. One state allows Palestinians who live in Israel to join their brothers and sisters without needing to move to the new Palestinian state.”
But Alaeedine Ibrahim, also from Nablus, said the two-state solution should continue to be the goal of the Palestinian strategy. “The idea of one state requires support from and engagement from the other side. If Israelis don’t want the one state we might be wasting our time and sending our people on the wrong track again.”
A report published in June by the Carnegie Endowment for International Studies, entitled Revitalizing Palestinian Nationalism, investigates bi-nationalism as an alternative to the two-state solution, while conceding its ultimate weakness.
“Public support for bi-national proposals, in which Palestinians and Israelis would share a single state, remains relatively low, and advocates have yet to articulate a viable strategy to achieve that vision,” the report says.
“However, given the emerging Palestinian demographic majority between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, bi-national options may become more appealing in the years ahead.”


Sudan’s military council, opposition coalition agree political accord

Updated 17 July 2019
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Sudan’s military council, opposition coalition agree political accord

  • The constitutional declaration is expected to be signed on Friday
  • The deal aims to help the political transition in Sudan

KHARTOUM: Sudan’s ruling military council and an opposition alliance signed a political accord on Wednesday as part of a power-sharing deal aimed at leading the country to democracy following three decades of autocratic rule.

The agreement, which ended days of speculation about whether a deal announced earlier this month would hold, was initialed in Khartoum in the presence of African mediators following a night of talks to iron out some details of the agreement.

Sudan’s stability is crucial for the security of a volatile region stretching from the Horn of Africa to Libya that is riven by conflict and power struggles.

The deal is meant to pave the way to a political transition after military leaders ousted former President Omar Al-Bashir in April following weeks of protests against his rule.

At least 128 people were killed during a crackdown that began when security forces dispersed a protest camp outside the Defense Ministry in central Khartoum in June, according to medics linked to the opposition. The Health Ministry had put the death toll at 61.

A political standoff between Sudan’s military rulers and protesters threatened to drag the country of 40 million toward further violence before African mediators managed to bridge the gap between the two sides.

General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, the deputy head of Sudan’s Transitional Military Council, hailed the agreement as the start of a new partnership between the armed forces, including the paramilitary forces he leads, and the opposition coalition of Forces of Freedom and Change (FFC).

Ibrahim Al-Amin, an FFC leader, said the accord signaled a new era of self-reliance for Sudan’s people.

“We want a stable homeland, because we have suffered a great deal,” Amin said in a speech after the ceremony.

Ethiopian mediator Mahmud Dirir said Sudan, long under international isolation over the policies of Bashir’s Islamist administration, needed to overcome poverty and called for the country to be taken of a US list of states that support terrorism.

The sides are still working on a constitutional declaration, which is expected to be signed on Friday.

Power-sharing deal

Under the power-sharing deal reached earlier this month, the two sides agreed to share power in a sovereign council during a transitional period of just over three years.

They also agreed to form an independent government of technocrats to run the country and to launch a transparent, independent investigation into the violence.

The power-sharing agreement reached earlier this month called for a sovereign council comprised of 11 members — five officers selected by the military council, five civilians chosen by the FFC and another civilian to be agreed upon by both sides.

The constitutional declaration will now decide the duties and responsibilities of the sovereign council.

The military was to head the council during the first 21 months of the transitional period while a civilian would head the council during the remaining 18 months.

But the agreement was thrown into doubt when new disputes surfaced last week over the military council’s demand for immunity for council members against prosecution.

The military council also demanded that the sovereign council would retain ultimate decision-making powers rather than the government.