ODS Movement looks to popularize one-state solution for Palestine

Israeli security forces restrain a Palestinian protester during a protest in Arab East Jerusalem on Saturday against the US recognition of the holy city as Israel's capital. (AFP)
Updated 31 December 2017
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ODS Movement looks to popularize one-state solution for Palestine

AMMAN: The Popular Movement for One Democratic State in Historic Palestine (ODS) is stepping up efforts to increase the awareness and the popularity of its cause.
ODS spokesman Radi Jarai told Arab News that his movement wants to make the concept “much more accessible and understandable to people.”
Jarai, an active member of Palestine’s nationalist Fatah party who has spent years in Israeli prisons, said the movement is currently made up of academics and thinkers, so, “We need to make the idea understandable to the common person so that it begins to gain traction.”
The board of the movement met in Istanbul in early December and agreed on a plan to popularize its credo. “This week, we will tape a number of episodes to be broadcast on Palestine TV with the hope of triggering discussions about a democratic state,” Jarai told Arab News.
Lectures are scheduled at Bethlehem and Al-Quds universities, along with a major conference in Ramallah on March 16.
ODS was founded in March 2013 and welcomes both Jews and Palestinians as members.
“There are Israeli Jewish groups that support our goal but have chosen not to join us at the moment,” Jarai said.
Yoav Haifawi, an Israeli activist and publisher of the Free Haifa blog, told Arab News that he is a longtime supporter of the one-state concept.
“The biggest obstacle we face is that Israel is a privileged country for Jews. Therefore, as a colonial state that gives privileges through discrimination, the decolonization of Palestine cannot happen as long as Israel is strong and Palestinians are weak.”
Uri Davis, a Jewish member of Fatah, told Arab News that the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) is the representative of the Palestinian people.
He continued that, in his opinion, the replacement of the two-state solution with the ODS paradigm is best seen as a process, one which he suggested should begin with some type of negotiation between the PLO and Israel, supported by the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement (BDS) and mediated by the UN.
The one-state solution, Davis said, would mean a change “from the current state of affairs into a single Palestinian sovereignty (stretching) from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River under a liberal-democratic Palestinian Constitution; single Palestinian citizenship; and a single Palestinian currency, hopefully leading to a socialist democratic Federal Republic of Palestine.”
Few PLO factions have been supportive of ODS so far, but lately more have warmed to the idea, according to Jarai. But he added that the idea is still seen by many as a tactic, rather than an actual change of direction.
“Their minds are still set on the two-state solution and they use the one-state idea as a threat,” Jarai said. “That includes President (Mahmoud) Abbas who wants to change the international sponsors of the peace process, not understanding that Israel doesn’t want peace, regardless of who the sponsors are.”
In his speech at the opening session of the UN General Assembly in September, Abbas mentioned the two-state solution 13 times but warned 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.”


Erdogan: Turkish court will decide fate of detained US pastor

Updated 4 min 49 sec ago
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Erdogan: Turkish court will decide fate of detained US pastor

  • ‘This is a judiciary matter. Brunson has been detained on terrorism charges’
  • ‘Let’s wait and see what the court will decide’

NEW YORK: Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said a Turkish court, not politicians, will decide the fate of an American pastor whose detention on terrorism charges has roiled relations between Ankara and Washington.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Monday he was hopeful Turkey would release evangelical pastor Andrew Brunson this month. He was moved to house arrest in July after being detained for 21 months.
In an interview on Tuesday while he was in New York for the annual United Nations General Assembly meetings, Erdogan said any decision on Brunson would be made by the court.
“This is a judiciary matter. Brunson has been detained on terrorism charges ... On Oct 12 there will be another hearing and we don’t know what the court will decide and politicians will have no say on the verdict,” Erdogan said.
If found guilty, Brunson could be jailed for up to 35 years. He denies the charges.
“As the president, I don’t have the right to order his release. Our judiciary is independent. Let’s wait and see what the court will decide,” Erdogan said.
US President Donald Trump, infuriated over Brunson’s detention, authorized a doubling of duties on aluminum and steel imported from Turkey in August. Turkey retaliated by increasing tariffs on US cars, alcohol and tobacco imports.
The Turkish lira has lost nearly 40 percent of its value against the dollar this year on concerns over Erdogan’s grip on monetary policy and the diplomatic dispute between Ankara and Washington.
“The Brunson case is not even closely related to Turkey’s economy. The current economic challenges have been exaggerated more than necessary and Turkey will overcome these challenges with its own resources,” Erdogan said.
Turkey’s central bank raised its benchmark rate by a hefty 625 basis points this month, boosting the lira and possibly easing investor concern over Erdogan’s influence on monetary policy.
Erdogan said the decision was a clear sign of the central bank’s independence, adding that as president he was against increasing rates.
He also said Turkey will continue to purchase Iranian natural gas, despite US sanctions on Tehran.
Erdogan said it was impossible for Syrian peace efforts to continue with Syrian President Bashar Assad in power, adding that the withdrawal of “radical groups” had already started from a new demilitarized zone in Syria’s Idlib region.