One person, one vote is a reality that the failure of the peace process and the non-existence of the possibility of a viable Palestinian state next to Israel has led to.
Palestinian Authority and Israeli flags (illustrative) / (photo credit: Provided by the Lausanne Movement)
As the classic Israeli political slogan goes: when the Palestinians are violent, we must not speak with them. When the Palestinians are quiet, we have no need to speak with them. When they enlist Israeli activists to provide human protection against the Israeli army or Israeli settler violence, we call the protectors anarchists and traitors.
When Palestinian-Israeli Knesset members support their own people against the occupation, they are called supporters of terrorism. When the Palestinian leadership uses non-violent tactics, such as going to the international community, we call it diplomatic terrorism. When non-Jewish and non-Arab states call to boycott Israel or Israeli settlers, they call it antisemitism. When Jews in the Diaspora or in Israel protest against Israel’s policies and actions, they are called self-hating Jews.
The bottom line is the new government of Israel, just like the previous governments for decades, has no intention of dealing with the Palestinian issue. There are no plans to end the occupation. There are no thoughts of finding a way to enable Palestinians to reach any form of national self-determination.
In Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s own words, the only people with any national rights on the territory between the river and the sea is the Jewish people. From his perspective, there is no genuine Palestinian people with genuine national rights on any part of the land between the river and sea.
There is no need for a legal opinion of the International Court of Justice in the Hague regarding whether or not the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem is permanent or illegal. It most definitely is. Israel has no intention of cooperating with the international court because, from the standpoint of Israel, there never was an occupation since you can’t occupy your own land.
AN ARAB-ISRAELI voter casts his ballot at a polling station in Kafr Manda, in the March 2021 Knesset election. Between the river and the sea there is a non-Jewish majority and they do not live with democracy, says the writer. (credit: JAMAL AWAD/FLASH90)
Israel will continue
Israel will continue to violate international law. It will continue to build illegal settlements. It will make official and authorize some 100 settlements that the governments built and supported but did not officially recognize because they thought they were pulling the wool over the eyes of the world.
They will repopulate settlements that were vacated in the past. They will continue to steal Palestinian land, chop down Palestinian olive trees and destroy Palestinian water wells. The Israeli army will continue to raid Palestinian towns, villages and cities on a nightly basis and continue to arrest hundreds and thousands of Palestinians. Israel will continue to hold hundreds of Palestinians in administrative detention without charges and without trials.
ISRAEL WILL continue to lie to the world that the Palestinians are not occupied and that the existence of the Palestinian Authority proves that the Palestinians have an autonomous government.
The world will continue to speak about the two-state solution and the need for Israel and the Palestinians to negotiate but they will do nothing to actually move the parties in that direction. The US will continue to inform the rest of the world that it is in charge of what is called the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, which has not existed since 2008.
Countries like the US, Norway, the UK and Germany have a special relationship with Israel and a special connection to the so-called peace process will not recognize a state of Palestine. Israel will continue to enjoy impunity for whatever it does to the Palestinian people, including the most recent decision to remove 14 villages in the south of the West Bank with more than 1,000 residents.
The world will remain silent. The majority of Israelis don’t see, don’t know and don’t care. Jewish extremists will continue to move into Israel’s mixed Jewish-Arab cities with the expressed intention of proving to the Arabs who is the boss. More housing projects will be built only for Jews in those towns under the guise of housing for religious Jews. Jewish extremists will change the status quo on the Temple Mount, which will set the region aflame.
The two-state solution is dead. There is no Israeli Palestinian peace process. The PA is dysfunctional and inept. Hamas is a machine of hate without any coherent pragmatic strategy that can help the Palestinian people. The world doesn’t care or is too afraid of Israel to do anything to change the situation.
The conclusion I have come to in the face of this disastrous reality is to adopt a strategy of one person, one vote. This is a strategy that recognizes that with no other political horizon, at least let us base our decisions on the equality of every human being who lives on the land between the river and the sea.
No one is superior to another. There is no one who deserves more rights than another. There is no one who is worthy of more dignity than another. There is no more democratic nation-state of the Jewish people. That slogan is a lie, between the river and the sea, as there is a non-Jewish majority and they do not live with democracy.
One person, one vote is a reality that the failure of the peace process and the non-existence of the possibility of a viable Palestinian state next to Israel has led to. How can any decent person reject the idea of one person, one vote?
The writer is a political and social entrepreneur who has dedicated his life to Israel and to peace between Israel and its neighbors. He is now directing The Holy Land Bond.