OK. It’s time to take off the gloves and start getting truly radical. My proposal for the Jewish state, Medinat Yisrael, may be hated or loved by the Right and the Left – but it is at least a new direction and gets away from the Two State dogma that threatens to destroy the safety of the Jewish State and the dreams and aspirations of the Palestinians. Here it is:

One Democratic Jewish and Palestinian State:

Where Jews can settle everywhere in the Homeland, in Eretz Yisrael, and Arabs can settle everywhere in what they consider their Homeland.

Note re. Demographic challenges: The most effective way for Israel to increase its Jewish population ratio in the short and long term is by: letting in potentially millions of Africans, Asians and South Americans who self-identify as Jewish, even if they cannot prove their Jewish descent, and work on converting them to normative Judaism, if they wish, when they get to Israel; educating Arab women and men, which has been shown my many studies to be effective in significantly lowering birth rates; enabling the conversions of hundreds of thousands of FSU Israelis who are not currently halachically Jewish, and wish to become halachik Jews.

Five Pillars of the One Democratic Jewish and Palestinian Democratic State from the Jordan to the Mediterranean :

1) All citizens – Jews, Muslims, Christians and others – can live anywhere in the land. Jews will return to live all over Jerusalem – Muslim quarter, Christian quarter, Silwan, City of David – and all over the promised land: in the ancient Israelite cities of Hebron, Bethlehem, and Shechem, and all over Judea and Samaria and the Gaza Strip. Just as in America restrictive covenants are illegal, so, too in the One State: Jews and Palestinians can acquire property anywhere in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Gaza, West Bank, etc. Property rights will be respected, and returning refugees will be accommodated through new housing in or close to their original housing. All Jewish settlements that are legal by current Israeli law will remain, with compensation where necessary.

2) New constitution – needing a super-majority to change – establishing a full democracy, with full separation of church/synagogue/mosque and state, with both a Jewish Bill of Rights and a Palestinian Bill of Rights guaranteeing that the state can be both a Jewish state and a Palestinian state

3) Law of Return for Jews; Law of Return for Palestinians

4) The IDF and internal police and security services will stationed everywhere in the One State – there will be no “no go” areas; and these forces will be slowly integrated, at a pace consistent with the security needs of the new state.

5) Demographic issues will be negotiated with at least three possible solutions: increasing Israel’s Jewish population radically by admitting millions of Jewish identifiers from Africa, Asia and South America before the One State is implemented; returning Palestinians based on an equal admission of Jewish identifiers – perhaps limited to a certain time period; allowing for a natural growth of Jewish or Muslim – or other – populations, while the constitution guarantees that the One State remains compatible as a Jewish state as well as a Palestinian state, perhaps guaranteeing a majority representation for a certain number of years.

Crazy? Maybe. But let’s start with some simple first steps:

An immediate, indefinite moratorium on Arab house demolitions in Jerusalem to allow natural Arab growth, in exchange for official U.S. recognition of the right to build for natural Jewish growth in Jewish settlements in the West Bank. This is just the first step for Jews accepting Arabs and Arabs accepting Jews.

This is the beginning of the New Era.

Step two is more radical, has downsides, but might be necessary: Immediate return of Gilad Shalit; release of Palestinian prisoners; U.S. commuting Jonathan Pollard and sending him to Israel. This is step two of the New Era.

This is an era celebrating integration, tolerance, life and growth. Rather than the old era of separation, hate, demeaning one another, intolerance.

Step three is a radical, but incremental experiment: The return of several thousand Jews to the Muslim and Christian Quarters of the Old City where they were driven out in 1948 and to Hevron, where they were driven out in 1929, but at the same time, the return of several thousand Arabs to the areas in Old Qatamon and Baqqa which they evacuated in 1948. These populations will return as close as possible to their old houses, but no one will be thrown out of the houses occupied since the previous populations left.

The IDF and the Israeli police forces will be stationed everywhere to guarantee the safety of Jews and Arabs.

Now, let’s talk!

Asher Lopatin

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The Elders’ visit to Bilin

September 12, 2009

090911-mcintyrehttp://electronicintifada.net/v2/article10770.shtml

Jody McIntyre writing from Bilin, occupied West Bank, Live from Palestine, 11 September 2009

A delegation of prominent former statespersons and business leaders known as the Elders meets with appointed Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad (third from right) in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah, 26 April 2009. (Mustafa Abu Dayeh/POOL/MaanImages) Thursday, 27 August was a special day in Bilin. Dozens of blacked-out SUVs approached the village, disturbing the quiet of a usually peaceful morning. However, unlike the Israeli occupation forces who come at night to arrest boys from the village, this arrival was extremely welcome.The SUV passengers were a truly respected group of international diplomats, known as the Elders. Among the delegation were Archbishop Desmond Tutu and former US President Jimmy Carter, both outspoken critics of the form of apartheid being imposed upon the Palestinians in the occupied territories. Also present were former Brazilian President Fernando Cardoso, Indian “gentle revolutionary” Ela Bhatt, the first woman president of Ireland, Mary Robinson, and former Director-General of the World Health Organization, Gro Brundtland. They were joined by Jeff Skoll, founding president of eBay and Richard Branson, Virgin multi-millionaire and co-founder of the Elders.As part of their four-day trip to the Middle East, the Elders came to Bilin to see the daily impact of Israel’s occupation and its apartheid wall on the daily lives of Palestinians. They were also very interested to hear how residents are responding to the oppression they face through a campaign of nonviolent resistance. After stopping at the Village Council to pick up selected members of the Bilin Popular Committee, the Elders made their way toward the wall and the site of Bilin’s weekly nonviolent demonstrations. With Israeli soldiers looking on, they laid stones at the grave of Bassem Abu Rahme, the Palestinian man killed at one such demonstration in April of this year, when he was shot in the chest with a high-velocity tear gas projectile fired from close range.At the request of gathered reporters, Desmond Tutu made an impromptu statement: “Mahatma Gandhi, as a simple man, led his people to freedom through nonviolent methods. Rosa Parks followed in his footsteps, and now the people of Bilin will do the same!”Former US President Jimmy Carter added that “We are standing here on Palestinian land and on the other side of the wall is also Palestinian land! This occupation must end.”Next was the short drive back to the village council, where the Elders were to have a meeting with members of the local popular committee. Security was extremely tight, and only eight persons, selected in advance, were allowed to attend. But thanks to my wheelchair and some quick thinking, I managed to enter.In the meeting, Abdullah Abu Rahme, coordinator of the popular committee, introduced his fellow attendees and thanked the Elders for their visit, before handing the meeting over to village activist Mohammed Khatib.Khatib explained the origins of Bilin’s popular nonviolent struggle against the wall:
A few years ago, the Israeli army set up a checkpoint at the entrance of Bilin, which you had to pass through on foot. The soldiers had stretched a thin line of tape [over the entrance], one meter from the ground — anyone could cut it, of course, but because of the soldiers you didn’t dare. So, instead, we had to crawl under the tape as if we were praying. This was done deliberately to humiliate us.But there was one young man from the Abu Salim family, someone we knew, who refused to crawl under it. He cut the tape and they shot him in the leg. He sat there bleeding, in front of our eyes, for two hours, and no one was allowed to help or give him treatment. We called an ambulance but the soldiers stopped it. There is nothing more painful than being powerless in this kind of situation.The Israeli media reported that the soldier had shot the Palestinian in self-defense. That was a lie, of course, but it was published as factual.When the story about Abu Salim got out, the al-Aqsa [Martyrs’ Brigade] decided to carry out a response operation. We later heard seven soldiers at the checkpoint were killed.Our first reaction in Bilin was “good for al-Aqsa.” But later we realized that these were not the same soldiers who had killed our friend two weeks before. A new unit had taken over the checkpoint, so these soldiers had taken the punishment for what the old soldiers had done. It made us wonder — this cycle of death, of action and reaction, how can we break it?Next to speak was Rajaa Abu Rahme, a young student from the village. On 10 July, Rajaa’s father, Adeeb Abu Rahme, was arrested while participating in the weekly nonviolent demonstration against the wall. Adeeb was charged with “incitement to violence,” based on the supposed “confessions” of two 16-year-old boys the Israeli military had previously taken from the village, and sentenced to 101 days in prison, renewable for an indefinite period.”I am not talking to you as politicians,” Rajaa told the Elders, “I am talking to you as mothers and fathers.”As she told her story, I could see tears forming in Branson’s eyes.”My sister is getting married soon, I will be graduating,” Rajaa continued, “and our father will not be able to share our joy. I just want to see my father free.”Also present in the meeting was Shai Pollak, an Israeli activist and long-time supporter of the people of Bilin — “a member of the family” as Mohammed Khatib described him.”Twenty years ago, I did my military service,” Shai explained, “but if I knew then what I know now, I never would have served in the Israeli army.””Israeli society today is becoming increasingly closed off,” Shai continued, “making pressure from outside even more important. After the second intifada, I went and met with literally thousands of Palestinians. While my friends in Tel Aviv were telling me they would stab me with a knife, the opposite was true. Everyone I met welcomed me with open arms, because the Palestinian people want a peaceful solution.”The visit of these world leaders to Bilin was a clear message to the Israeli government, that they are opposed to the continuing oppression of the Palestinian people. Now, it is time for the leaders currently in power to follow suit.Jody McIntyre is a journalist from the United Kingdom, currently living in the occupied West Bank village of Bilin. Jody has cerebral palsy, and travels in a wheelchair. He writes a blog for Ctrl.Alt.Shift, entitled “Life on Wheels,” which can be found at http://www.ctrlaltshift.co.uk/. He can be reached at jody.mcintyre AT gmail DOT com. A version
of this article originally appeared in The Huffington Post.

A palestinian Anne Frank?

September 3, 2009

Girl, 15, seeks justice for Gaza in world court

http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5hx9p9wd31AY9f9Rc0yA8keN2-lJQ

Girl, 15, seeks justice for Gaza in world court

(AFP) – 2 days ago

 

THE HAGUE — A 15-year-old Palestinian girl who says Israeli troops killed her father and two siblings in Gaza in January, sought justice from the International Criminal Court on Monday.

“I am here to lodge a complaint against the occupying army,” Amira Alqerem told journalists in The Hague, seven months after her family was killed in an early-morning assault in the Tal Al Hawa neighbourhood that also left her severely injured.

“I hope this complaint will succeed because it is the truth,” the soft-spoken teenager said, seated next to her lawyer on his way to the ICC to file the complaint with the office of the prosecutor.

In her court filing, Alqerem says her 67-year-old father Fathi, 16-year-old-sister Ismat, and 14-year-old brother Ala, were killed by Israeli army fire in the early hours of January 14.

The three children were awoken by an explosion to find their father’s body, covered in blood, next to a crater near their house, the document claims.

Ismat and Ala went off to seek help, but were killed in another explosion. Amira, who had stayed behind with her dead father, was hit in the right leg.

“This was a crime against humanity, that is why we brought it to the ICC,” said her lawyer Gilles Devers, who claims the attacks were aimed at civilians.

“Israeli politicians and military leaders must be held responsible.”

Israel’s 22-day offensive on Islamist Hamas-controlled Gaza left more than 1,300 Palestinians dead before ceasefire took effect on January 18.

ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo announced in February he had begun a “preliminary analysis” of alleged crimes committed by Israel during the Gaza offensive.

He has to date received complaints and evidence from the Palestinian Justice Minister Ali Kashan, the Palestinian National Authority, and over 360 other individuals and non-governmental bodies, his office said on Monday.

Amira, meanwhile, is undergoing physical and psychological rehabilitation in France.

“I am doing this for all the children of Gaza,” she said through an interpreter.

“I want to do something to change the situation.”