Partition once again failing to bring justice: Israel’s wall annexes agricultural land from the Palestinian town of Abu Dis, photographed 25 June 2006. (Moamar Awad/MaanImages)
For decades, efforts to create a just peace for Palestinians and Israeli Jews have failed. The current crisis has further set back hopes for a political solution to the conflict.
In this context, a group of scholars, journalists and activists met in Madrid, at the invitation of Universidad Complutense de Madrid, for five days of intensive discussion on alternatives to this ongoing impasse, framed by their belief that a democratic state in all of historic Palestine provides the only moral and practical basis for a just, sustainable peace.
Presentations were informed by the understanding that the attempt to partition historic Palestine, regarded by the major powers as a solution to the conflict, has failed to bring about justice and peace or to offer a genuine process leading towards them. It was argued that the two-state approach encourages separation where equality and coexistence are imperative. Participants presented the two-state approach as failing to take into account physical and political realities on the ground and presuming false parity in power and moral claims between the two peoples.
Discussions ranged through many other issues including the forms of domination Israel exercises over the Palestinians and the racist practices this entails, such as ethnic cleansing, forms of apartheid, a legal system in Israel built on ethnic discrimination, and the denial of the Palestinian right of return, as well as how to define the rights of Israeli Jews. The discussions considered ways of reframing the question in terms of a struggle for equality and justice, equal citizenship for all the people in the land, and decolonization. Participants debated interpretations of international law, the nature of the conflict, Zionism, the role of religion, and re-imagining national identities.
Many issues for further discussion, action and research emerged, including forms of internal and international solidarity with Palestinians (such as boycott, divestment and sanctions), the lessons from other similarly structured conflicts including South Africa and Northern Ireland, rethinking the relationship between state and citizen, and how to organize a post-conflict society so that it provides a secure and dignified life to Palestinians and Israeli Jews.
The participants shared a committment to engaging deeply with these issues, in the context of their commitment to a democratic solution that will offer an enduring and just peace in a single state, and invite the widest possible participation in this quest.
The participants in the conference were:
Pedro Chavez Giraldo
Carlos Prieto Del Campo
This press release was issued on 6 July 2007 by the speakers in the course “Palestine-Israel: Un Pais, Un Estado,” which took place from 2-6 July 2007 as part of the Summer Program of Universidad Complutense de Madrid.