Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Struggle for equality

A one state solution might be the fairest outcome for Israel and Palestine. But first Palestinians must focus on securing their basic rights

By Nadia Hijab and Victoria Brittain
The Guardian

"......Of course a clear goal is needed so that Palestinians and their supporters know what they are fighting for and how long to keep it up. How can clear goals be set without getting stuck in the one-state two-state debate? Palestinians can frame their goals in terms of fundamental human rights, without specifying a final outcome.

Four such rights are key:

• First, under international law, Palestinians are a recognized people with a right to self-determination. Palestinians must work towards fulfilling this right in the way the majority believes best.

• Second, also under international law, Palestinians have the right of return and compensation, both as individuals and as a people.

• Third, the occupation of the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem is illegal under international law based on the principle of the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war. Calling for an end to occupation is not a call for two states. The occupation has to end irrespective of the final status solution. For far too long, the Palestinian leadership has allowed itself to be trapped in a situation of negotiating about the occupation, giving Israel the time to grab more land.

• Fourth, Palestinians have a right to equality: the Palestinian citizens of Israel must be equal citizens of the state. If and when there is a Palestinian state, its citizens too - its Christians, Muslims, and any Jews not there through force of arms - must also be equal citizens of the state. In other words, whether one state or two, both must be democratic states in which all citizens are equal under the law......"

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