TWO STATES, ONE HOMELAND 

An open land FOR all

Two nations live here in this land, and both want to live peacefully and safely. Solutions entailing separation have failed in the past, and will fail in the future. Cooperation, however, succeeds. There is a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and it is right here in front of us. Do you choose to “live by your sword”? Or can you put your fears aside?

: Living here

separate and together

MAIN PRINCIPLES

Democracy for all

The system of government in both Israel and Palestine will be democratic. Citizens of both states will enjoy equal rights in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Justice for all

Past wrongs, from 1948 to present, will be amended, but without creating new wrongs. A joint mechanism will be established to ensure the restitution of property lost or confiscated as the result of the conflict or compensation

Freedom of movement for all

Borders will be set between the two states, but they will be open. Israelis will be allowed to live in Palestine as Israeli citizens and Palestinian residents. Palestinians will be allowed to live in Israel as Palestinian citizens and Israeli residents

Jerusalem for all

Jerusalem will remain one city open to all – Palestinians and Israelis, Jews, Muslims and Christians. It will be the capital of both states, under shared sovereignty and it will be administered under a joint municipal council

Sovereignty to all

Two states should be established in this region between the Jordan and the sea – two independent, sovereign states, within the June 1967 borders, in full control of their territories, without one people occupying or controlling the other

A confederacy for all

The two states will jointly shared institutions of a confederate nature, to decide on joint matters. The two states will jointly decide on the powers granted to these institutions and the issues to be managed by each state individually

A homeland for all

This land, between the sea and the Jordan River, is one geographical and historical unit, which both people consider their homeland. You can draw borders in it, but you cannot put up walls. Instead of dividing it, both nations should share it

Security for all

The two states will be committed to the security of their citizens and to the security of the other state. Each state will have independent security forces, which will cooperate closely and jointly protect the external borders of the shared land

WHO  WE ARE

The Two States, One Homeland initiative was born out of a series of meetings started by Israeli journalist Meron Rapoport and Palestinian activist Awni Al-Mashni.  Meron Rapoport, born in Tel Aviv, worked in Yedioth Aharonoth, Haaretz and in the Israeli Educational Television, and writes for different media channels in Israel and abroad. Awni al-Mashni, born in the Dheisheh refugee camp in Bethlehem, is a Fatah political activist, graduate of the Bethlehem University and columnist in the Palestinian press.

These meetings were joined by a line of Israeli and Palestinian activists who formulated our Statement of Principles over the course of many meetings.

We consider ourselves one shared movement, divided into two separate branches – one Israeli and one Palestinian – both jointly and severally.

At present, the movement is growing fast and already numbers thousands of members. The Two States, One Homeland concept has already been established as an integral part of any discussion on the options for ending the conflict.

Good answers to tough questions

If these are sovereign states, would there be a border between them? Where would it pass

The economic gap between Israel and Palestine is huge. How can this be settled

How can two such different economies coexist one next to the other? How do you prevent millions of Palestinians from flooding Israel and setting up shanty towns on the margins of Israeli cities, in search of work? How do you prevent Jews from buying Palestinian city centers and thus raising real estate values, until Palestinians themselves can no longer live there? Is this not in fact a blueprint for creating an apartheid country?

This is definitely a great challenge. It would certainly require great investments in development to get the Palestinian economy on its feet. We believe that the international community, as well as Arab countries, will take it upon themselves to help. The very opening of borders and the ability to work in Israel will also dramatically improve the economy of Palestine. The joint institutions of the two states will coordinate economic development, investments, natural resources etc.

On all matters relating to undesired mutual flooding of populations: Until 1989, Palestinians required no permits to enter Israel, and hundreds of thousands of Palestinians worked in Israel – but only few relocated to it. With a stable, developing Palestinian economy the chances of this scenario are even slimmer. In any case, clearly, movement of people cannot be left to free-market economy alone, and the potential problems of the preservation and worsening of the current economic inequality must be placed on the table from the beginning. For example, it may be necessary to establish a social security network to guarantee the basic rights of workers and low-income populations wherever they may be, in both Israel and Palestine.

What would prevent Palestinian terrorists from carrying out attacks in Israel

There will always be those who want to carry out terror attacks. Even Europe experiences terror. But we are taking about two states that cooperate on both the defense and the intelligence levels. Even at present, despite the hostility and hatred, defense cooperation with the Palestinian Authority is working relatively well, as military officers can attest. After the agreement, there is a good chance that this defense cooperation will only improve, because Palestinians will have more to lose. In many ways, such a union between Israel and Palestine will offer more security to all. In Gaza, Israel withdrew its forces completely, has no defense engagement there and the security threat has only grown worse. If Israel withdraws from the West Bank and an independent state is established there, which has no connections to Israel, the Gaza model may be repeated.

In our model, of a union of two independent states, security throughout the region will be shared. A joint Israeli-Palestinian force will monitor the union’s external border crossings – from the Allenby Bridge to the Taba Crossing. Even the experts at the Institute for National Security Studies believe this to be the preferable way to ensure security.

You talk about Jerusalem being a shared city. Does this seem realistic to you

Even the greatest advocates of separation understand the full separation is impossible in Jerusalem. This is both because there is no clear geographic separation between neighborhoods: Neve Yaakov and Pisgat Zeev, for example, are to the east of Shuafat, while Har Homa is to the east of Tzur Bahar, and that in the Old City too, you cannot build a real physical border. The Geneva Accord proposed a model where the Old City is jointly administered under international supervision. But if we can jointly manage the heart of the conflict, the square kilometer of the Old City, where fifty thousand live and where Jews and Palestinians share the same alleys on their way to the Haram al-Sharif or the Western Wall, the entire land can be managed in the shared model. Instead of being a problem, Jerusalem may well be the solution. Joint sovereignty is no simple matter, but it exists elsewhere in the world. Brussels is shared by French-speaking Walloons and the Flemish. There is also a complex mechanism that allows, on the one hand, to administer the city as one city municipally, while preserving the representation of each of its demographic groups. Other .examples in the world exist

Isn’t it simpler to first make peace with Saudi Arabia and Egypt, and then peace with the Palestinians will come by itself

There is no doubt that the support of the Arab world is crucial, both politically-diplomatically and economically. But it is an illusion to believe that we can first reach an agreement with Egypt or Saudi Arabi and afterwards reach an agreement with the Palestinians. It is the other way around. Without full Palestinian agreement, the Arab and Muslim world will not reconcile with Israel. That is the moral power of the Palestinians. Palestinians will have the moral right to ask Arab countries – as our Statement of Principles states – that they recognize the rights of Jewish refugees from Arab countries.

In our vision for the future, we certainly see the Israeli-Palestinian union as the basis for wider unification of the Middle East. Jordan is a natural partner, as perhaps are other neighboring countries. But our interest is first and foremost the Palestinians – it is with them that we must make peace.

It is difficult to convince the public even about the two-state solution. Why make it even more complicated

There are two answers to this question. The first is, that the leaderships of both people have adopted this solution more than twenty years ago, yet we are still moving further and further away from it, instead of making progress towards it. This implies that maybe it is not that simple. Maybe it has flaws that must by looked into.

The second answer is that we are not inventing anything new. Jews and Arabs are already mixed – within the 1967 borders, in Jerusalem and in the West Bank. Our ideas approach this reality in a more disillusioned manner. More importantly, the public lost trust in the current course of negotiations. On both the Israeli and the Palestinian sides, people say they will never see the end of the conflict in their lives, whether they are eighty or eighteen. This was evident in the last two elections. Advocates of an agreement and reconciliation must find a new concept that can renew hopes, an idea that conveys openness rather than insulation.

You are really talking about a binational state

Not at all. We believe that the one-state solution, at least in the foreseeable future, is not a good idea. Both people want a piece of land in which to realize their national right of self-determination, and this is impossible in one state. The one state will turn into a demographic race in which Jews will do their utmost to remain a majority and turn the entire region between the Jordan and the sea into a de facto Jewish state, while Palestinians will do their utmost to become a majority and break apart, in reality, the State of Israel as an expression of Jewish national identity. To put it briefly, this idea is both impractical and highly problematic.

We want to adopt the positive aspects of the two-state solution, such as the national expression of each nation and each nation’s ability to manage its own affairs, while adopting the positive aspects of the one-state solution – equality, freedom of movement etc. Our idea is neither absolute separation nor absolute integration. We are for being both separate and together.

Your solution is based on trust between the two people. There is no trust here. There is only hate.

Undoubtedly, mistrust is one of the most difficult challenges. It would take a lot of work to educate and change mindsets. One of the way of changing current mindsets is to show that we Jews and Arabs coexist even at present – in the Galilee, in Haifa and even in Jerusalem. The problem is that we are not aware of this. We should emphasize the common spaces shared by Jews and Arabs, and demonstrate how these are much less violent and conflicted than one could expect.

For example: All hospitals in Israel have significant numbers of Arab doctors, not to mention the general medical stuff. Still, despite the hatred and suspicions, Jewish patients do not fear putting their lives in the hands of Arab doctors. If this happens at this sensitive environment, it can happen anywhere.

The best way to build trust is equality. How else would you explain the fact that, in the 67 years of Israel’s existence, the number of Palestinian citizens of Israel involved in terror attacks is in the single digits, despite confiscation of land, discrimination and repeated wars with their Palestinian compatriots in Lebanon, the West Bank or Gaza? And if you mention the security services – don’t forget that in the West Bank, the Israeli security services are many times stronger, while terrorism seems to have no end.

The most reasonable explanation is that they have the right to vote, and that Israel has courts and rule of law. In short, Palestinians in Israel have civil courses of action. The best way to start building trust would be giving equal rights to all people in the region. It would take years, but this is the basis for everything.

You are in fact for a full right of return. You have you lost your minds.

What would be the status of settlers. What about confiscated lands

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