Pressure from both Palestinian activists and right-wing Israelis has put the spotlight on a conference that will present a new model for peace and coexistence. That is, if it ever happens in the first place.
A launch event for an alternative Israeli-Palestinian peace initiative, slated to take place next week in the West Bank, is on the receiving harsh criticism from both Palestinian activists and right-wing Israelis.
The initiative, titled “Two States, One Homeland,” was founded by veteran Israeli journalist Meron Rapoport and Palestinian political activist Awni al-Mashni. The initiative began when Rapoport and al-Mashni, who sat in an Israeli prison for 12 years and writes regularly for Palestinian media outlets, started a discussion group that included Palestinians and Israelis from both the occupied territories and Israel who were interested in talking about a new confederation-based model as a solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The founders attempted to diversify the group by including settlers, ultra-Orthodox and those who live in the periphery.
The event, which is supposed to take place at a hotel on the outskirts of Beit Jala, has come up against pressure by Palestinian activists on the hotel owners to cancel the event. The activists have announced that should it take place, they will protest the conference at the entrance to the hotel and will nonviolently attempt to prevent participants from entering.
In the wake of the pressure, both Joint List Chairman Ayman Odeh and high-ranking PLO member and former PA minister Qadura Fares backed out of the event. Meanwhile, members of Israel’s ultra-Orthodox community are pressuring prominent Shas member Adina Bar-Shalom and veteran Haredi journalist Rabbi Moshe Grileck to cancel their appearances.
A document published by the Two States, One Homeland group lays out its new model: dividing the land into two states, while maintaining open borders, freedom of movement for all and recognizing that the country is the homeland of two nations. According to the initiative, a solution to the conflict would allow settlers to remain residents — but not citizens — of the new Palestinian state, while Palestinian refugees could live in Israel, but only as citizens of Palestine.
Jerusalem, on the other hand, will function as the capital of both states via a joint municipality, and the two states will cooperate on issues of security, as well as prevention of violence and terrorism. Militias from both communities will disarm, and the two...Read More