By Daniel Randall
At a recent meeting at the London School of Economics (14 November), hosted by the campaign group Yachad and others, Alon-Lee Green and Sally Abed from the Israeli Arab-Jewish socialist movement Standing Together were asked their views on the argument that the possibility of a two-state settlement is dead.
Should progressives demand a “one-state solution”? This is an edited version of Alon-Lee’s response, published with his permission.
“The idea of one state, as an immediate solution to the present situation, might sound nice, but how is it to be achieved? You have two distinct national groups, both of which have a strong will to self-determine.
“How are you going to force these people into the framework of a single state from this point?
“The only viable immediate solution is ending the occupation and fulfilling the Palestinian right to self-determination by establishing a Palestinian state alongside Israel.
“If you want to dream, why stop at one state? Why not a socialist federation of the Middle East? That’s my dream, and it’s not something I plan to stop dreaming of once we have two states. Two states is not the end point, I want to go beyond that. But we need to get there first.
“We need to be careful not to fall into the right-wing trap. To say, ‘Israel is only the occupation, Israel is only the settlements... everything Israeli must be boycotted’... this is to play Netanyahu’s game. It’s his project to ensure that all of Israel becomes entirely bound up with and represented by the settlements and the occupation.
“We should not fall for that; we should say, ‘there is another Israel.’
“Even now, after all the movement to the right, all recent opinion polls still show a big majority of Israelis support two states, an end to the occupation, and a negotiated settlement with the Palestinians.
“Our movement shows there is potential for a future beyond occupation, racism, and division.”
Standing Together statement
Standing Together has put out this statement about the recent clashes in Israel and Gaza.
Last week we witnessed a violent cycle that has become terrifyingly routine. Heavy rocket fire over Israel sent civilians in the south running into shelters, wondering if their loved ones are okay. In Gaza, Israeli air-fire killed over thirty people, including medics, children and innocent civilians. Devastating.
We stand strong in our condemnation of these violent outbursts, which serve no one but cynical Israeli politicians trying to preserve their own power. But condemnation is not enough. Here at Standing Together, we don’t just condemn. We build.
While missiles flew overhead, we reached out to peace activists in Gaza and arranged a public Skype meeting with them. With 140 participants from all corners of Israel present, we heard from a new generation of Gazan leaders, Rena Akila, Rami Aman and Manar Al Sharif, about their lives, their fears and their inspiring visions of peace.
During the meeting, Jewish and Arab citizens of Southern Israel also shared their frightening experiences of the previous days under missile attack. Breaking every stereotype in the book, our conversation proved how much average citizens on both sides are hungry for peace and cooperation.
We listened, we learned and we built partnerships for the future.