By Susan Schwartz, MMNS
The Palestinian-Israeli ongoing conflict is atop the agenda of all peacemakers. The recent horrific invasion of Gaza by the Israelis has made this topic even more timely. Often the discussions include a debate over a one state solution versus a two state solution.
The Southern California chapter of the Campaign to End Israeli Apartheid (CEIA-sc) offered a presentation titled: â€œThe One-State Solution and the Palestinian Struggle for Justiceâ€ at the First Unitarian Church of Los Angeles this past Sunday. The presenters were Yael Korin and Paul Hershfield, both long time activists and founders of the Southern California chapter of CEIA.
Ms Korin, of Israeli birth, detailed the mistreatment of Palestinians by the Israelis.To cite one example she offered: Israel seeks to divide the West Bank into Bantustans. Israel has taken fertile land there from the Palestinians and has â€œreplacedâ€ it by offering land in the Negev – land which constitutes approximately 10% of the area stolen. In addition, this area of the Negev is a former toxic waste dump.
Access to water is, of course, crucial, and it is this access that Israel controls.
Roads which West Bank residents are forced to use are dirt roads that have never been improved. Jewish settlers, on the other hand, have access to modern and well maintained roads.
Israelis build on land that they have taken from Palestinians without due process. Palestinians must obtain permits to build the simplest structure, and if they build absent these permits, the Israelis ill tear down their structure.
Ms Korin who reminded her audience that she knows Israel said â€œIts really scaryâ€ when describing the Apartheid Wall.
The Right of Return of and restitution to Palestinians must take place.
In dealing with Israelâ€™s reference to the Holocaust as a justification for its existence, she insisted that whatever was done to Jews during World War II is not a justification for taking land which belong to others nor is it in any way a justification for the ethnic cleansing that followed.
In summary, Mr Korin dealt with the arguments presented by Israel about the inherent and insurmountable reasons against the one state solution. The Israeli contention that there is not enough land available has been challenged by numerous authoritative studies. The most well known of these challengers is Dr. Salman Abu Sitta.
The concept of Israel as a democracy was also challenged. Ms Korin described Israel as an apartheid state, clearly outside of the classic definition of a democracy. She referenced some 20 laws that preference Israeli citizens over their Arab minority. Referenced also was the attempt by the Israeli government to outlaw five Arab political parties.
The audience was urged not to replay the tragedy of colonial movements. The apartheid state of South Africa was not changed until great international pressure was brought to bear. The Palestinians deserve no less.
During the presentation the audience paid rapt attention. â€œConditions for the Palestinians are even worse than I imaginedâ€ said one woman during the social period that followed the talk.
Those wishing to contact this organization may access it at: www.ceia-sc.org.