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.”


Tunisia’s Islamist Ennahda throws weight behind vote frontrunner

Updated 21 September 2019

Tunisia’s Islamist Ennahda throws weight behind vote frontrunner

  • Karoui came second with 15.6 percent
  • The result was a major upset for Tunisia’s political establishment

TUNIS: Tunisia’s influential Islamist-inspired party Ennahda said on Friday it will support law professor and political outsider Kais Saied in a presidential runoff against jailed media magnate Nabil Karoui.

“Ennahda has chosen to support the people’s choice,” party spokesman Imed Khemiri told AFP after last Sunday’s first round of polling in which Saied finished ahead with 18.4 percent of the vote.

The surprise result of the election, contested by more than 20 candidates, thrust to the fore both Saied and Karoui, likewise from outside the world of traditional Tunisian politics.

Karoui came second with 15.6 percent, said the electoral commission ISIE, while Ennahda, a main force in Parliament, scored 12.9 percent with its first-ever candidate to run for the presidency, Abdelfattah Mourou.

The result was a major upset for Tunisia’s political establishment, in place since the fall of late leader Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali eight years ago after mass protests that sparked the Arab Spring revolts.

HIGHLIGHT

The surprise result of the election, contested by more than 20 candidates, thrust to the fore both Saied and Karoui, likewise from outside the world of traditional Tunisian politics.

Saied, a fiercely independent academic aged 61, advocates a radical decentralization of power, with local democracy and the ability to remove elected officials from office during their mandates.

He is also perceived as very conservative on social issues, and has defended the death penalty, criminalization of homosexuality and a sexual assault law that punishes unmarried couples who engage in public displays of affection.

Karoui, a 56-year-old media magnate, has been held in prison since Aug. 23 under investigation for alleged money laundering.

He remains eligible to run as long as any conviction does not also specifically deprive him of his civil rights, according to ISIE.

Karoui has in recent years used his popular television channel Nessma to launch high-profile charity campaigns, often appearing in designer suits as he criss-crosses the country to meet with some of its poorest.