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.”


Thousands protest in Algiers despite tight security

Updated 20 September 2019

Thousands protest in Algiers despite tight security

  • Salah on Wednesday ordered police to block protesters from outside Algiers entering the capital to boost numbers at the anti-regime rallies
  • Friday's protest marked Algeria's 31st consecutive week of rallies

ALGIERS: Thousands of protesters took to the streets of the Algerian capital on Friday in defiance of a heavy security presence to demand the ouster of the country's army chief.
Demonstrators gathered near the capital's main post office square, the epicentre of Algeria's protest movement that forced longtime president Abdelaziz Bouteflika to step down in April, this time calling for the ouster of General Ahmed Gaid Salah.
"The people want the fall of Gaid Salah," the strongman in post-Bouteflika Algeria, they chanted. "Take us all to prison, the people will not stop."
Friday's protest marked Algeria's 31st consecutive week of rallies, but protesters faced a heavy deployment of security forces in the city centre and along its main avenues.
Salah on Wednesday ordered police to block protesters from outside Algiers entering the capital to boost numbers at the anti-regime rallies.
The tougher line on protests came just days after interim president Abdelkader Bensalah announced a December 12 date for a presidential election to fill the vacuum left by Bouteflika's departure.
The army chief has led the push for polls by the end of 2019, despite mass protests demanding political reforms and the removal of the former president's loyalists -- including Gaid Salah himself -- before any vote.
In the runup to the latest rally, as on previous Fridays, police made several arrests near the square, AFP photographers said.
Police stopped vehicles on main streets in the capital and an AFP journalist saw officers in plainclothes ask for identity papers, before some were led off to nearby vans.
As a police helicopter scoured the skies, security forces also stopped cars headed towards the city centre from its southwest entrance, where a dozen anti-riot police vans were stationed.
Said Salhi, deputy head of the Algerian League for the Defence of Human Rights, condemned the heightened security measures as "illegal".
Demonstrations have officially been banned in Algiers since 2001 but the prohibition had been ignored since rallies started on February 22 against the ailing Bouteflika's bid for a fifth presidential term.