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.”


Palestinians say one killed as Israeli troops fire on Gaza protest

Updated 3 min 4 sec ago
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Palestinians say one killed as Israeli troops fire on Gaza protest

GAZA: Israeli forces opened fire during a demonstration in the southern Gaza Strip on Wednesday, killing a Palestinian youth, the Palestinian health ministry said.
An Israeli military spokeswoman said troops came under attack on the border fence in the southern Gaza Strip, stones and firebombs were thrown at them and they responded with “riot dispersal means.” Live rounds were fired according to “open-fire regulations,” she said.
Ashraf Al-Qidra, a spokesman for Gaza’s health ministry, said 15-year-old Moamen Ibrahim Abu Eyada was shot dead by Israeli soldiers east of the town of Rafah, which lies at the southern end of the Gaza Strip and borders Egypt.
The border between Gaza and Israel has been the scene of weekly Palestinian demonstrations since March 30 and protests have recently taken place late at night, as was the case on Wednesday.
The Israeli military said earlier there had been several incidents along the Gaza-Israel border on Wednesday “with the participation of hundreds of rioters” who rolled burning tires and hurled firebombs and rocks at soldiers. It said there were no Israeli casualties.
At least 182 Palestinians have been killed in the protests, according to Palestinian health officials.
The Israeli army says it is defending its border against rioting protesters who have sought to breach the fence and enter Israel.
Israel withdrew its troops and settlers from Gaza in 2005 but maintains tight control of its land and sea borders and has fought three wars there in the past decade against Hamas Islamist militants who control the territory.
With Egypt, Israel has imposed a blockade that the World Bank says has brought Gaza’s economy to crisis, leaving its 2 million people with limited access to health care, clean water and electricity.
Peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians have been stalled since 2014.