Well, not completely. But very close.
*The following are my own takeaways and do not represent the views of any of the organizations or individuals mentioned within.*
On Thursday, I had the honor of sitting in a small restaurant in the town of Beit Jala with Meron Rapoport and Awni al-Mashni, the two founders of the Two States, One Homeland movement. We were also joined by my dear friend Hussein al-Deek from Ramallah, who is a rising star among the younger generation of Palestinian leaders.
These were what I saw were the takeaways from that meeting:
Palestinians want 3 things:
- Equality and Civil Rights
- Freedom of Movement
- National self-determination
- Recognition of historic connection to Eretz Yisrael
These will be provided through an Israeli-Palestinian Confederation, with open borders, where each state will have its own legislature, its own laws, its own law enforcement force, its own court system. Civil rights and Due Process will be provided for all. No more Israelis coming into peoples’ homes in the middle of the night, habeas corpus, etc., as it exists in modern liberal democracies.
Each state will express the national character and right to self-determination of each peoples and the two states will work together in areas of joint need and interest.
It is recognized that Eretz Yisrael covers the entire territory for Jews and Palestine means the entire territory for Palestinians. Citizenship and residency will be separated as exists in the European Union. No settlements will be uprooted. Major settlement blocs will be exchanged for equal territory inside pre-1967 Israel. Those remaining outside the blocs will remain Israeli citizens, but will be residents of Palestine.
Just as Israeli Jews will have the right to live in all of Eretz Yisrael, Palestinian Arabs will have to right to live in all of Historic Palestine. They will be Palestinian citizens, voting for the Palestinian parliament, but will have the right to residency, as Jews will have, as well.
There are two approaches to Right of Return. One is that First generation Palestinians who were exiled from their homes will have new “retirement” communities/neighborhoods built in places like Ramle, Lod, Acre and Haifa. 2nd, 3rd generation will have the option to go to the Palestinian state.
The second approach is that in exchange for all settlements remaining in place, right of return will work as follows: just as all Jews in the Diaspora have the right to “aliyah” to all of Eretz Yisrael, so too, the Palestinian Diaspora will have the right to “aliyah” to Palestine. Jews will be citizens of Israel, Palestinian Arabs will be citizens of Palestine.
There are two options for Jerusalem. 1) the Jewish neighborhoods will be Israeli and the Arab neighborhoods will be Palestinian, with separate status for the Old city and the “Holy Basin”, in coordination with the UN and the international community.
The second is one united city that is the capital of both peoples, but is separate from each state in the model of Washington, DC.
Security coordination will remain as it currently exists, with each side working to prevent terrorism and crime. The Palestinian state will be demilitarized, but there will be joint security control over external borders.
Joint symbolism. Abraham will be viewed as a joint political symbol for the Holy Land, recognizing the special place the territories have for each of the great Abrahamic religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The right to freedom of worship will be guaranteed at all holy places.
Again, these are solely my views. Clearly, there is more to be said. There are hundreds of activists who have joined this movement. Please visit the Two States, One Homeland website for more information and to join this grassroots movement!