The Trump administration has been one of the most aggressive toward supporting the Israeli colonialist and apartheid state in Palestine in cooperation with the extreme right-wing government under Netanyahu. During his term, funding has been withdrawn from the United Nations relief agency for Palestinian refugees, the capital of Israel was moved to Jerusalem (the Palestinian Capital), Israel was declared a Jewish State and the US changed its position on the illegal settlements. This latest so-called ‘Deal of the Century’ is set to complete genocide against Palestinians. We speak with Awad Abdelfattah, a Palestinian in Haifa who is leading the campaign for One Democratic State about the current situation, the campaign and what people in the United States can do to support a secular, equal, democratic state in Palestine.
Awad Abdelfattah is a political writer and the former general secretary of the Balad party. He is the coordinator of the Haifa-based One Democratic State Campaign, established in late 2017.
Margaret Flowers (MF): You’re listening to Clearing the FOG, speaking truth to expose the Forces Of Greed with Margaret Flowers
Kevin Zeese (KZ): And Kevin Zeese.
MF: Clearing the fog is a project of PopularResistance.org. You can subscribe to us on iTunes, SoundCloud, Mixcloud, Stitcher and Google Play. You can also find us at popular resistance dot-org, and while you’re there check out the store where you’ll find Clearing the FOR gear like t-shirts, bumper stickers, tote bags and water bottles.
So today we interviewed Awad Abdelfattah. He is a co-founder of the campaign for one Democratic state in Palestine.
KZ: We met a wide when we were in Palestine last November. We were very impressed with his long history of activism and the work he’s doing on one Democratic State and we really came to see how boycott divestment and sanction really leads to one Democratic state. That should be the goal of the campaign.
MF: Right and he talks about the the BDS Campaign which is not something that he started but was started by hundreds of Palestinian groups. And he’s encouraging them to have a conversation about making that the goal of the BDS campaign. But his work is really bringing all the different sectors together in Palestine as well as Israeli Jews and trying to get people to unite around a common vision for one Democratic State. And this is definitely the time for that. We talked a lot about this “deal of the century” that Trump has put forward with Benjamin Netanyahu and how that has really created such terrible conditions. I mean this has been going on since 1948 and before. But the conditions now are so severe that it’s the time for everyone in the world to unite and push for one Democratic secular State.
KZ: It’s also that the Trump actions including this most recent deal of the century, so-called, have really exposed the truth, that the two-state solution is not a possibility. That’s been obvious to many people for a long time, but this has cemented that. Making Jerusalem the capital has added to that as well and it’s also exposed the reality of Israel as a apartheid colonial state.
MF: That’s right. So stick around for that interview with Awad Abdelfattah. But before we get to that, why don’t we talk about some things that are in the news. Just quickly related to the interview with Awad the United National Anti-war Coalition Conference is coming up in New York City at the People’s Forum, February 21 to 23. And on the Saturday Night February 22nd will be showing a movie by Abby Martin and Mike Prisner called, Gaza fights for Freedom. They’ll be a discussion as well afterwards with the producers of the movie and it talks about the great March of return that has been going on every Friday in Gaza and continues to this day.
KZ: Fantastic movie. Incredible video shot from people in Gaza showing the reality of life in Gaza and that amazing protest. It’s really a must-see movie.
MF: Also as long as we’re talking about events, the Sanctions Killed Days of Action is coming up March 13-15. You can check out SanctionsKill.org and this is a campaign that’s educating people about the fact that these economic measures that the United States imposes on people in other countries are just as deadly as warfare. Finally on March 19th is the Iraq war anniversary, the 17th anniversary, and there are actions being organized across the country for that. People can check out popularresistance.org event calendar to get information about all of these events. So this week we wrote our newsletter about the new u.s. Space Force which we talked about last week with Bruce Gagnon. That’s on popularresistance.org, and we posted an article about this new, low-yield nuclear weapon that the United States has deployed.
KZ: Well first on this space force, what really struck me about that was the relationship between profit and capitalism with militarism, and it’s not that’s not surprising. But the privatization of space has been moving at the same time that we were moving toward militarization of space. These things go hand-in-hand on earth as well. We often see US wars as tied to capitalist exploitation of natural resources and workers around the world. Well, there’s tremendous wealth in space. People are going to get so wealthy…
MF: From mining minerals…
KZ: From mining minerals on asteroids, on the moon. It’s amazing what the potentials are, but it’s so important that this become a commons for the earth, not something the u.s. controls. The goal of US military has been to control that, and that’s that’s going to be real damaging to the world. It’s going to keep the wealth divide and it’s a last-ditch effort by the United States to continue domination. And that’s failing on earth as Russia creates weapons stronger than many US weapons. The Chinese economy is challenging the US economy. So space is the frontier to try to keep that domination going.
MF: But, we don’t think that domination is a good idea because as you said it’s very exploitative. And we talked about in the newsletter how ridiculously expensive this is going to be and it’s going to be paid for by cutting our social safety net even more. So this is something that should be of concern to everyone but also of concern is this low-yield nuclear weapon because this is actually meant to be used
KZ: This is what the US has been working on really since the Obama era and it’s been continued in the Trump era. It is to remake our nuclear weapons arsenal so the weapons can be used. Of course the reality is they can’t be used. Low-yield weapons are dangerous, are catastrophic and that’s one reason why the atomic energy scientists now got the clock down to 100 seconds.
MF: That’s the Doomsday Clock
KZ: The Doomsday Clock down to a hundred seconds. We’re on hair-trigger alert. And now the u.s. is putting out these low-yield weapons that they say can be used in war. That is a disastrous plan and it’s one more example of the u.s. escalating arms conflict, escalating weapons making. We’re going to see a nuclear arms race, an outer space arms. It’s going to dwarf any arms race we’ve seen throughout the history of the planet.
MF: Let’s talk about some whistleblowers who have exposed this US war machine, profiteering as well as other things. Chelsea Manning continues in jail in Alexandria, Virginia for refusing to testify in a grand jury investigation of Julian Assange. It’s now been more than nine months and she’s facing more than $240,000 in fines.
KZ: And she continues to do amazing work. I mean she stood up and was a whistleblower on the Iraq war, on the Afghanistan war, on Guantanamo, on the US state department being controlled by corporations, on so many other violations of law. And then as a translator. She’s been an amazing translator and now she’s in the criminal justice field standing up against secret grand juries, how they’re used by prosecutors and not really serving justice but serving prosecutorial abuse. Chelsea Manning is just one step after another standing up for what’s best and in the public interest. She really deserves our support
MF: So this new website is ReleaseChelsea.org. It has all kinds of resources and ways that people can support Chelsea and take action to raise awareness and demand that she be released. The point is made that what they’re doing right now violates international law. They are trying to coerce her to testify she’s made it very clear that she will not testify. And so now it becomes a punitive thing, which is not legal.
KZ: And that’s not legal under us law either. Once it becomes punitive, once becomes clear that she will not testify, she is supposed to be released. I think it’s been pretty clear from the first day, but now nine months later, it’s eminently clear. It’s time for Chelsea Manning released. It’s time for those fines be revoked.
MF: And Julian Assange is extradition trial is coming up February 24th. There’s going to be a global day of action for in support of Julian. The US has made it clear in the British courts agreed that if he’s extradited to the United States no constitutional rights for Julian.
KZ: Well, that’s an absurdity. I mean, it’s very clear that the Bill of Rights applies to all people. These are inalienable human rights. These are not citizens rights. And so this abuse by the Trump Administration, the US government, saying that we’re not going to allow Julian Assange’s lawyers to talk to the media… We’re not going to allow Julian Assange to talk to the media… That’s just not constitutional. In fact this is going to be one more reason why Assange should not be extradited to the United States. Being denied these basic inalienable rights. It just shows that he should not be allowed to come to United States to stand a show trial.
MF: The Supreme Court has ruled that non-citizens in the United States still should have those constitutional rights respected.
KZ: That came up in the Guantanamo cases, where Habeas corpus, a constitutional right, was granted to those prisoners in Guantanamo. The u.s. tried to deny that right. The Supreme Court said, “No. The Constitution applies to all people. It’s a human right. Not a citizen’s right.”
MF: Let’s talk about what’s going on right now in Unistotia(?) territory in Alberta region of Canada. There’s a tribe there that has been fighting the coastal link gas pipeline that would go across their territory. They’ve been fighting it for years now and the courts in Canada put forward an injunction to prevent them from trying to block construction of that pipeline. Now. there’s a big standoff going on with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. The tribe is defying that injunction and protests across the country, shutting things down and occupying public spaces and support of the Unistotin.
KZ: And this is unceded territory. They consider themselves an independent nation from Canada, and courts have recognized that so it’s a lot of inconsistencies in these court decisions and consistencies in these policies. Justin Trudeau has said he wants to respect indigenous rights, but then he goes ahead and disrespects indigenous rights. They are standing up and people across Canada standing up. People United States should support their efforts.
MF: That’s right. And there’s a Unistotin solidarity website and Facebook page so you can check that out as well as articles on popular resistance about that. So you can find ways to support them. There’s even a toolkit that we posted on the popular resistance.org website if people want to find out what more they can do. And you know in this is all just part of the reality that we need to get off fossil fuels, and another sign that it’s time to get off is that fossil fuels aren’t doing so well anymore. Goldman Sachs downgraded Exxon to sell.
KZ: That’s right. To sell because it’s not meeting its profit margins. And so and this is gonna be a problem for all fossil fuel economy. Two things are happening. One thing is that climate change, the crisis, is taking root. Policies are taking root that are going to make it more difficult to use fossil fuels. And the second thing happening is that clean energy alternatives are becoming less expensive. And therefore the economic reality is that fossil fuels will not be as competitive as they used to be, and so these are going to become stranded assets. Investors would be very smart to start getting out of the fossil fuel investment racket because it’s not going to last much longer.
MF: Well it’s pretty amazing that a major corporation like Exxon would be doing poorly and that writing is on the wall and organizations are starting to divest from these fossil fuels. A recent one is Georgetown University. Thanks to student activism there, the university has announced that it will divest from fossil fuels.
KZ: It’s also interesting to see, I just saw last week, that sun oil is now investing in EV infrastructure.
MF: So explain what EV is.
KZ: Electric vehicle infrastructure. They recognize that the future or at least part of the future—I’m sure they’re trying to figure it out themselves… It looks pretty obvious to those of us who follow this that the future is electric cars and there’s gonna be some major transitions in the early part of this decade toward electric vehicles. And BP and Sun oil are both getting into the business of providing infrastructure for EV cars.
MF: Car manufacturers are switching to making EV cars. So yes, that is one part of the solution and sadly it’s about a century too late. There was a strong electric vehicle movement in the early 20th century that the oil and gas industry was able to quash. If they hadn’t done that, we might not be facing the situation that we’re facing with the climate crisis. There’s a new report out that shows that if things continue on the path that they are we can expect at least a six foot sea level rise by the end of this Century. That means in the United States displacing 13 Million people who currently live in coastal areas that will be flooded.
KZ: Images of this future which we have on popularresistance.org in an article show the entire coastal region of the United States, East Coast, West Coast, Gulf, Florida… all flooded deeply into the country, much more people realize. It’s going to cause a mass migration from the coastal areas into the inner part of the country. It’s going to cause disruption and you combine with that the heat changes and the fires and the droughts, it’s going to be very difficult century when it comes to the climate crisis.
MF: You just have to look at Australia now that they’ve gotten over those tragic fires that they had. They’re experiencing torrential rains and because of the devastation to the land with trees being burned they’re saying massive floods and mudslides.
KZ: We’ve seen that same kind of thing in California. After fires, the rains come and the mudslides follow, and this is just an ongoing catastrophic event because we have not faced up this climate crisis. We’ve had multiple generations where policymakers have known that climate crisis was real. They’ve ignored it. They’ve kept the profits going and now we’re going to start paying the price for it.
MF: Well, talking about catastrophic events, last week was President Trump’s State of the Union Address. In it he made of course a number of false claims and one of the things that he said is he went after the national improved medicare-for-all movement and said, “oh if we have medicare for all it’s going to include all those immigrants and that’s going to bankrupt the system.” Well, Adam Gaffney, the current president of Physicians for a National Health Program put an article in in these times refuting what Trump said.
KZ: And really what his reputation was is basic Public Health reality, that if you cover everybody, that reduces the risk of disease spreading, especially like we’re going through right now, with the the virus and China. If everybody’s covered, Public Health experts say that reduces the risk of those kind of virus is spreading. In addition, we’ve all known for a long time immigrants are contributing to paying for the US healthcare system, and they use less health care then people in the United States use.
MF: Right. There’s a few studies that have been published in health Affairs. One from 2009 which showed that immigrants contributed $33 billion into the Medicare system that year but only used 19 billion of that. A study that looked at private health insurance found the same thing, that immigrants tend to pay more into the system than they draw out. Right now immigrants are subsidizing our healthcare system.
KZ: Trump is being blinded by his racism and his prejudice. He’s not looking at facts. His advisors are and they’re not giving him the facts. The reality is a public health care system needs to cover everyone in order to be effective public health.
MF: Right. Another event, which was very sad and pathetic at the State of the Union… and this actually goes to pretty much everybody in Congress… applauded when President Trump recognized Juan Guido, the pro coup leader from Venezuela, who the US has been trying to put into power for more than a year now and failing. The only place he’s president is here in the United States.
KZ: It’s really embarrassing that you’d have a standing ovation—a bipartisan standing ovation—with Nancy Pelosi barely containing herself. She wanted to jump up so quickly for a failed regime change coup. That just says something so bad about u.s. foreign policy. Now Ro Khanna didn’t stand. So give hKhanna credit. Bernie Sanders was not there so he can’t say he stood. And I imagine some other Senators who were campaigning were not there as well.
MF: Though Bernie Sanders has called president Maduro a vicious tyrant, which is a complete falsehood.
KZ: Complete falsehood. Now his foreign policy advisor criticized the Democrats for participating in that standing ovation. Sanders didn’t say anything cause I don’t know where he stands on it, but you’re right. He did call President Maduro a vicious tyrant. Totally false. He said he was not democratically elected. Totally false. I mean Sanders has been so misinformed on Venezuela it’s been very disappointing.
MF: That’s really disappointing to see so many members of Congress supporting this illegal intervention in Venezuela, the regime change efforts the threats of military aggression, the economic measures that are being used against Venezuela that are contributing to the deaths of tens of thousands. And now here we are, you know, and the United States is taking this absurd step of trying a coup in Venezuela, failing, and then starting to hand over assets from Venezuela that belong to the government of Venezuela to this pro-coup leader. And that was why we were in the embassy last Spring, in the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington DC, to try to protect the Vienna convention, push the United States to accept a “protecting power agreement” with Venezuela, which Venezuela was asking for and now we’re going to trial and in the courtroom Guido is “President.”
KZ: It’s a bizarre courtroom situation because of US Court decisions, the president decides who is the the recognized leader of a foreign country. So in that courtroom jurors will be told that Juan Guido is President, and we will not be able to tell the truth. We will not be able to say, “President Maduro is the president.” It’s just an absurdity, and it’s a really sad state of affairs. But the reality of it is, it’s a bipartisan act of imperialism. Venezuela is incredibly wealthy, not just an oil but in gold and diamonds and silver and gas and minerals that are essential for electronics and weapons\, as well as freshwater. And Venezuela has thumbed its nose United States, broken from us Empire and reclaimed its independence and sovereignty. And that’s what this is all about. And that’s why we were in the embassy, trying to prevent a violation of international law and the violation of the sovereignty of Venezuelan territory in the United States.
MF: This is one time when I’ll be in the courtroom that if I testify I’m going to have to say, “your honor, I’ll try very hard not to tell the whole truth because if I tell the whole truth, I might be found in contempt of court.” That’s how absurd this is going to
KZ: It will be very hard to testify in this case because there’s so many land mines as a result of the judge’s decision all we can and cannot say.
MF: Right. Check out DefendEmbassyProtectors.org if you want to learn more about that trial. Let’s talk about some positive outcomes though. In Tucson, Arizona US District Court judge, Rosemary Marquez, reversed a conviction against some volunteers with a group called, No More Deaths, who were bringing or leaving basic supplies in an area that’s known as the trail of death. It’s the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife refuge, which is a huge space that has very few roads and very few sources of freshwater, and many migrants who try to cross there die on the way.
KZ: So this group organizes efforts to put out water and food for migrants, so they can survive when they come into United States, and this judge reversed the conviction, a fantastic decision.
MF: Well they were charged with interfering with border patrol functions. And what’s interesting is the judge said, “well interfering with the government’s interest of ‘deterrence by death’ was just morally reprehensible. Another court decision in Brazil, Glenn Greenwald fortunately is continuing to be saved by the courts. They’ve been going after him, the Brazilian government because of this leak of hacks of phone call logs of chat messages that revealed how a judge was working with prosecutors to go after people like the former president Lula da Silva, who was running for president. Glenn Greenwald was the journalist who published those chat logs, and the Brazilian government was trying to indict him. The judge says no, you can’t do that.
KZ: And it’s interesting. The judge did it on procedural grounds and Greenwald says he’s pleased with the decision, but it’s not good enough. His lawyers are going to push for more. He wants an all-out victory so that core values of press freedom can be protected. He doesn’t want a procedural victory. He wants a substantive victory because he wants press freedom protected. He’s going to continue to report on these chat logs while he’s facing this threat of prosecution.
MF: That’s a very brave thing to do and he’s absolutely right. Journalism needs to be protected, especially in these days when truth tellers are being targeted.
KZ: And Liars are in power.
MF: Right. Let’s go to one last story. Ellen Brown. We had her on a few weeks ago talking about public Banks. She has an article in Truth Dig about Mexico and how the president of Mexico is actually moving very quickly to build 2700 public Banks. He’s calling it “The Bank of the Poor.” 2700 branches. His goal is 13,000 branches around the country. It will be a larger network of public banks in Mexico than they have private Banks.
KZ: It’ll be an amazing transformation, a real taking it to the big finance institutions. Right now there are thousands of communities that don’t have banks in Mexico. People have to go hours to get banking done. So even if the government provides benefits people can’t acquire them very easily because they have to go two to three hours to get to a bank. He’s trying to change that. So it’s a fantastic move. It’s one that I hope that the United States copies in the future because we need to challenge the power of Wall Street. And we’re seeing some cracks in that dyke that kept being broken open. And so we hope to see more States so like California recently did, more states and cities put in place a public banking system.
MF: That just shows you how if there’s the will you can do it quickly. So that’s all the news stories that we have right now. Why don’t we take a short musical break and we’ll be right back with our interview with Awad Abdelfattah.
[musical break] MF: You’re listening to clearing the fog speaking truth to expose the forces of greed with Margaret Flowers.
KZ: And Kevin Zeese.
MF: And now we turn to our guests Awad Abdelfattah. Awad is the former Secretary General of the National Assembly Democratic Party in Palestine, and he is a co-founder of the One Democratic State. Awad thank you for taking time to join us.
AF: Thank you.
KZ: There have been a lot of developments recently in Palestine with Trump’s so-called deal of the century with Israel. This follows on his recognition of Jerusalem and other actions. Can you give us what your thoughts are on the Trump “Deal of the Century?”
AF: The deal of the century is an imperialist project in fact, and it means that this deal is consecrating the reality that has prevailed for decades in Palestine, which is an apartheid colonial reality. And of course, this has not come all of a sudden. It has been there for the last three years since Trump came to office. And Palestinians were well aware of what was coming. Unfortunately they have not prepared for this hostile and aggressive project. We strongly condemn that and in fact the project has been condemned widely by Palestinians, and we are now in front of a reality as I said, that has been shaped for decades by the Israeli State. And we will have to relate to it as a colonial apartheid regime existing in Palestine. And we will have to think of the strategies that can combat this colonial project.
KZ: One of the things that seems to be happening in the reaction to this is Israel is talking about annexing West Bank territories. Is that what you see happening? Is that is that the next step, almost no matter what the Palestinians do, is to put this so-called deal, which is what seems like a the “con of the century.” They seem like they’re going to use this as an excuse to take take more land. Is that accurate?
AF:Yeah, no doubt that. I mean, what is taking place in effect is that the Israeli government, led by the Likud and Benjamin Netanyahu particularly, have been exercising the colonization over the last 70 years in all of Palestine. And with the advent of Benjamin Netanyahu to office, he decided to go ahead with legitimizing or getting legitimate international cover for this project. The United States or Trump only gave the cover. But in fact that the annexation, the colonization, the settlements, the division, the separation, have been there and they just wanted international support. They wanted support of a superpower which is the United States, which has been an ally for the state of Israel for long time. And the Palestinians have been fighting the occupation, have been fighting the Zionist project since 1948 and even before. So what is dangerous now is that a superpower is giving full support, is legalizing, the control of Palestine, is legalizing the theft of Palestine and how their lands, their resources. They are going to get more and more with impunity. So this is the most dangerous thing in this deal, so that they would weaken the ability of the Palestinians to resist it. And the fragmentation that has been pursued by the state of Israel against the Palestinians tended to weaken their resistance and to make them unable to achieve their rights. So I mean the annexation is going to happen, I think. Maybe it doesn’t add any new things because Palestine from the river to the sea has been controlled by the state of Israel. And there is one state reality, which is Israel and is an apartheid colonial regime. And the Palestinians will have now to reunite and fight Israel, not as a normal state, but as a colonial regime, as an illegitimate regime. Because when you disregard the International Community, when they disregard United Nations resolutions, what does that mean? That means that Israel is a rogue state that has to be treated as such, and the Palestinians in general have to relate to a new reality… not to continue to adhere to the illusion of the two-state solution because it is gone, and Israel has killed this option. And it was has never been ready or willing really to relate to to the two solution seriously. It has been used as the cover to complete the colonization of Palestine, and Israel feels that it has already completed [this], and just wanted the cover of a superpower, which it has gotten through Trump’s plan.
MF: Right and for our listeners… because in the United States there’s so much misinformation and a very one-sided story that’s told about the state of Israel. This deal of the century would basically give Palestinians four areas, if I understand correctly, Gaza and three areas in the West Bank, and basically Palestinians are being told you either take this deal or we’re going to start taking that property. But really you’ve talked about and written about, that this deal of the century has had many components to it starting with cutting funds to the United Nations relief and works agency for Palestinian refugees, moving or declaring that Jerusalem is the capital, the Jewish nation state law. All of this has served to further create greater apartheid for Palestinians. Can you talk a little bit about some of the impacts of these changes over these recent years.
AF: Yeah. I mean, no doubt that the reality in Palestine has been changed fundamentally by the state of Israel, and the impact of this policy is that we are today nothing left for any Palestinian and Palestinian identity in any part of Palestine. So I would like to go back to 1948 because the apartheid regime was established at the time. But the word and the ruling elites in the West continue to praise Israel as the only democracy in the Middle East. I mean in the 50s and the 60s while there were hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who were languishing under a system, under a tight system of control and oppression. I mean the Palestinians who hold Israeli citizenship, and I am one of the descendants of the survivors of the ethnic cleansing that was carried out in 1948. We remained inside the green line and a military system was imposed on us. Even the Israeli citizenship that was imposed in Palestine inside the green line was only as the condition set by the United Nations to recognize Israel, and Israel would not even have granted citizenship to the remaining Palestinians if they were the majority. Israel had to carry out ethnic cleansing in order to get a Jewish majority. So we Palestinians inside the green line where the victims of the Jewishness of the state and the Democracy of the state. The Zionist movement or the new leaders of the Jewish State wanted to have a democratic state in order to be part of the Western countries and to get more of support. So as I said, we were not only victim of the Jewishness of the state, but also the Democracy of the Jewish States. They couldn’t have established a state Jewish Democratic State without getting rid of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who were still inside the border, the 1948 border. So they had to impose or to pursue strategies of domination and control, including the theft of the lands. So we were robbed of most of our lands. 75% of our land were taken over. And after 20 years from the establishment of the state of Israel ,or since the establishment of the state of Israel—I mean until late 60s Palestinians were robbed of 75% of their land it. So this is an apartheid, and we were under the military regime. Our communities were separated from each other and the Palestinians in general were separated from the Jewish population. And if we add discriminatory laws that were passed in 1950 and 1953, like the absentees law, and the land property law, that says any Palestinian person who left in 1948 has no right to go back. Although there was a United Nations resolution 194 which states that all refugees have the right to go back to their country, When a country separates half of its population because they are not Jews and denies them the right to go back to their country that is apartheid. So the apartheid was established in 1948. At the same time, the South African apartheid was declared legal. So we have been hidden. So nobody paid attention to that. Nobody wanted to. So this happened and after 1967 people thought that Israel is becoming an occupier state, but there was an apartheid from the very beginning, because Israel never related to its non Jewish citizens who remain there as equal. Israel related to them as strangers, as fifth columns, as the security risk. And in fact, they continue to entertain the idea of getting rid of them, but they could not because Israel was already recognized by the United Nations and became a legitimate state by the International Community. So they could not do that. And very few at the time conceived of Israel as such, because they thought that only the occupation paradigm of 1967 is enough to understand Israel. No if you want to understand understand Israel and to Define Israel, we should go back to 1948. And the way it treated its Palestinian citizens. So this is very important to mention to those who thought that Israel was normal State until 1967. Israel has been always an abnormal State. And now what is happening now is only an extension of the nature of the state of Israel. So what even happened in 1967, or with occupation of 1967, is an extension of the apartheid colonial regime existing inside Palestine since 1948. Israel was given the opportunity to live peacefully with an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, but it refused. It’s occupation expanded as part of the dynamics of the expansions of the Zionist project. It is a pre-emptive decision. It is already planned that the Zionists have always thought that Palestine should be their own. They were ready to even reach ——- who signed Oslo with Yasser Arafat, who never believe an independent Palestinian state. In his speech in the —-, a few months after — said that we don’t accept an independent Palestinian state. We want to give them less than a state and little bit more than an autonomy. So this is the fact that should be known, that the Israeli government, even those who signed Oslo, which wanted to reach a compromise with the Palestinians, never we’re willing to Grant the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip a sovereign independent state. So it’s like that the Likud is more extreme than the Labour party, but very few are aware that the Labour party is the party which laid the ground for the apartheid regime. Labour party or the Peaceniks. They used to say that we don’t want the Palestinians here in Israel. Us here. Them there. So they believed in separation. And I always myself believed that the two state solution is a racist idea, separations idea, and we never believed in division. We never believe in separation. We thought that Palestine should be one unit and that Palestinians and Israelis should live together peacefully, including the refugees, because the refugees already are residents in Palestine or citizens, or were supposed to be citizens of the state in Palestine. So they are denied the right to go back to Palestine. So the Trump plan in fact despite, of course, it is very bad plan, but it provides the opportunity for Palestinians to reunite, and it provides the opportunity for the anti-zionist Israelis and Jews around the world to support one Democratic State in all of Palestine where all can live together peacefully in an egalitarian State. This is good only to end the bloodshed and bring real peace. This takes time. No doubt. And just we want to think of the strategies. How can we achieve decolonization and build a democratic regime instead of the existing apartheid colonial one.
KZ: So it’s interesting. It seems like what’s happening is that the false covers is becoming obvious to people now that in fact Israel is an apartheid state. That’s still denied by many but it’s becoming impossible to deny. It’s becoming obvious now that the two-state so-called solution was really just always a false promise never intended. And so now we rip away those facades and see Israel for what it is and what its intent has always been. That really kind of propels what you’re starting to talk about here… The idea of one Democratic state where all religions are respected and have rights under a constitution, where everyone in the area of Palestine or Israel has the right to vote. One person one vote. Minority rights are respected. So in many ways even those these are disastrous decisions… Jerusalem and obvious apartheid, and the ending of the two-state solution… these are the opportunity now. So talk about the one Democrat State campaign that you’ve been helping to develop and this most recent version the last couple years. Where is it and what kind of activities going on around it?
AF:The legality in Palestine is very dark, but there are spots of light no doubt that because Palestinians never ceased to resist in different forms. Not only militarily. I mean cultural resistance, intellectual resistance, popular resistance. And so Palestinians are rejecting this disastrous plan and have rejected all plans that targeted their legitimate rights. So I mean our campaign is one of these initiatives to resist, to continue to resist the reality. But what is the new is that really we are trying along other people aren’t other groups to introduced a new vision, a new humanitarian and democratic and moral vision for both peoples in Palestine. So we started in 2018 in fact the campaign, and we have been there for two years at least. But this doesn’t mean that we are the first ones to start a campaign for advocate for one Democratic State. There have been many groups and individuals before who have been trying to launch a campaign. But most of them have failed. They could not go ahead with that for different reasons, objective and subjective. And I myself used to be active since late 70s when I was still as a university student in a small movement called —— to use a public team the children of the country, the sons of the country. We call this movement a radical movement which advocated for one Democratic State and all of Palestine. We were in fact impacted by the Palestinian national charter which originally in fact advocated for one Democratic State. And so we were active inside the university mainly, and in some Palestinian townships. We were persecuted. We were harassed and most of us were imprisoned. So I mean although we are in a political Movement. We never used violence. We were political movement with a vision of one Democratic State in all of Palestine. So I was and others were supporting and were active or involved in movement or group to advocate for one Democrat State.We could not, in fact expand. We could not grow enough. As I said one of the reasons is the continued Israeli persecution. But there are other reason no doubt. So in Oslo, in fact the Oslo agreement, which came in a very bad shape… the Palestinian movement was in very bad shape, and was like a surrender, in fact, by the Palestinian leadership to the Israeli or to the Zionist movement. And so people thought at the time many people thought that peace is coming but myself and my co-founders of the national Democratic party, for which I served many years as it’s secretary general, were very critical of Oslo. We were from the very beginning. We thought that Oslo was a catastrophe, that not like others who thought that Oslo was good and then they changed their mind when they discovered that Israel was using it as a cover for expanding colonization in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Now, from the very beginning we were against Oslo. We never thought that this will bring peace. So now more and more people, even those who in the Palestinian Authority, question the possibility of having a two state solution. And I can hear from them and I was in contact with some of them. They don’t anymore question that. They don’t say that because they think that through supporting the two state solution they get legitimacy from the word as well as financial support from the European countries. So now the situation is more opportune. There is more chances to think seriously about the idea that we should support one Democrat state, but we have to go in-depth into the model of the state. What kind of state means, and what strategies of the organization we should pursue. So this is what we are involved in. I think that this is the only group… this is the first group to be involved in these aspects because groups who… even my group in the 80s never in fact touched these aspects. But now what we are doing in our campaign is that really we are trying to imagine what kind of state we will live in. Bi-national state. One Democratic State, based on individual citizenship or socialist State Federation. And what is with the fate of the refugees? We are trying to imagine the return of the refugees. We talk about Share Society. We talk about what kind of parliament. I mean about the Constitution. So we are involved through workshops in these aspects of the project. But right now after Trump’s plan has been unveiled and Palestinians have woken up to a reality not only as a colonial reality, but also where they have no alternative because Mahmoud Abbas the head of a Palestinian Authority, has pursued a policy of diplomacy. I’m not saying… he never believed in popular resistance, even an armed resistance. He believed only in diplomacy, so he has not prepared himself for an alternative. I mean that they don’t have a strategy of resistance because most Palestinian factions today believe that popular resistance is an effective means of struggle. And that the don’t necessarily mean violent struggle. And we in that campaign believe that nonviolent struggle is unaffected one. This is what the support will getting for. That we use grassroots struggle to build a Grassroots movement inclusive, open to other groups so that we can work together as Palestinians and Israelis. But before that… This is a very important one that I should mention here, is that some Israeli’s think that we have to work more among the Israel’s without first reuniting the Palestinian people. Because it is the Palestinian people who is going to make a difference to make a change real change. So if the Palestinians are not united, or most of the Palestinians are not interested… at least if those who support an alternative are not united, we are not going to affect real change in their Israeli Society because the Israeli Society is becoming more and more fascist extreme, but we have to look for every Israel individual, intellectuals or activists to bring him to work together because this is very important. We have to show the model that you can work together and we can build shirt institutions. But now because the Palestinians are desperate are frustrated have no vision. So we have to help build a vision and now it’s the time to do that. We are raped but we should do now because nothing is left. So now this is the opportunity to start working on reuniting the Palestinians around One Vision. This is not going to be easy but I think that it is it and then before, because a few years ago when I used for example as an activist, or as a leader to talk about the one Democratic State before Palestinian activists in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, they would not accept that. They would dismiss it completely. So now people at least if they don’t accept it, they don’t reject it. They say, yeah, it is a topic that has to be discussed. It has to give enough attention to the idea and start reconsidering our approach to the occupation. And what what is needed now at least because we believe that by changing the balance of forces on the ground, we should go back to the idea of Palestine, that it is one country. The Palestinians have been fragmented into three constituencies. Palestinians inside the green line, Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and the refugees. This was really colonial project which fragmented the Palestinians, dispirited them. But Oslo in fact consecrated that, perpetuated that. So what we are working as Palestinians inside the campaign, is the work in the direction of reuniting the Palestinian people by reuniting the vision, by returning the historical narrative, by redefining the state of Israel, that it is a colonial state. By redefining the Palestinian cause as a National Liberation cause, And redefining the conflict, to reframe a conflict because the conflict has been displayed as one between two symmetrical sides, which it’s not. We are a people colonized struggling against the colonizer. So this is very important. This is the terminology that was used in the 50s and the 60s, but the Palestinian National —- has been eliminated, of course as a result of the two-state solution.
MF: Right. This is absolutely the time for the one-state solution. Can you tell our listeners over the two years that you’ve been waging this campaign, you’ve already been able to bring over a hundred groups together. Can you talk about kind of who some of the groups are that are coming together in this campaign?
AF: No, in fact, we still we have not groups inside that campaign, but we are in contact with them. And mainly we are contacting individuals. But recently we have started with two groups, one in the West Bank and the other in France outside. But you know, these groups are not in good shape. So we are going to start contacting them. So far we have been in touch with individuals. This is very difficult work, and it needs much time because you have to engage individuals like intellectuals, activists, to convince them how to work together. After years of fragmentations and division, it’s not easy to bring people together. And this is a big challenge for us. But I can say that in the two years we have really done a lot and in relation to the short time that we have been working. And I think we are hopeful that we can soon reunite other smaller groups and individuals. But this really takes times. Of course, the vision that we are working for or the end game that we are working for, you know, it’s going to take it’s not going to happen soon. We are not naive to believe that this would happen in one year or two years or three years. The one Democratic State needs years of struggle, organizing and good strategies of work. So we are determined and willing to work harder and harder to bring people. Otherwise we will Lose the moment. There is a momentum… I believe that the momentum is that frustration with the two-state solution. The disappointment with the United States. The Palestinian elites, who are ruling the Palestinian Authority… or those who are close to the Palestinian Authority. So now it is easier for us to do that. This is not the same in the Israeli Society, but we have hundreds of Israel is who are supporting the idea and we are aspiring to contact them and to work with them and build a one front and coexist together. But as I said, we need first to agree on the terminology, the National Liberation terminology. We also our program entails education for democracy because Palestinians… It’s not easy for a Palestinians living in the West bank and Gaza Strip who view the Israelis as soldiers or killers, to tell them that we can work with Israel. Inside the green line with Palestinians who have been living with Israelis, it’s easier to work with them than Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip because they really can’t understand them. This is one of the challenges that we are facing but some Palestinians would find it difficult to work with Israelis because they think that this is normalization. And this is our work also, our our duty to explain to them that we have many Israelis—I’m not saying thousands but at least there are hundreds of Israel’s, intellectuals and activists, University child—who are ready to involve in the campaign and embrace the political platform that we have produced. So this is the beginning this is going to be hard but we believe that this is the only vision that has to be here and we have to work for
KZ: The the image of uniting Palestinians behind, this bringing Israelis Israeli Jews who see that this is the only path to peace is all tough important goals. I’m glad you’re making progress. What can people the United States be doing? What is the relationship of the boycott divestment and sanctions campaign, BDS movement? How does that relate to this? And is there anything else you think people United States should be doing to try to advance the idea of one Democratic state in Israel.
AF: Sure. I mean what the these groups, the BDS, the Palestinians and non-Palestinians. You know so you are doing a great job there. We are following what they are doing. Even the black lives matter. So of course one of our goals is to reconnect with progressive and leftist forces and individuals who are active around the world in favor of the Palestinian cause. And this is very important because the BDS is has been doing a great job and other groups also who support this openly, the one-state solution. We are trying to reconnect with them and we will start traveling more and more abroad and to coordinate with them. The BDS movement really is the most important organization in the Palestinian arena, and it emerged in a time of gloomy situation, and this really has made measurable strides in exposing Israel’s apartheid. But the problem with the BDS is that it doesn’t introduce a vision for a solution. It is embracing a some solutions, quality for Palestinians inside the green line, ending occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and the return of the refugees. No doubt theoretical these slogans when achieved will lead to the one-state solution. But now I believe it is not enough and we should engage in debate with them to change their vision. In the beginning when they launched their campaign, it was understandable that they have not set a clear vision for the solution, because this really helped unite all Palestinians. Because there are individuals or representatives from different political faction. That was wise to use the three slogans. By the way those slogans were first used by our political party, which we established in 1995, which I served as the Secretary General. The three slogans were drawn from there. And so now but I mean after the fundamental changes that had been taking place we believe that BDS should engage in a debate and reconsider the approach. And start thinking of really uniting around one Democratic State. I’m not saying just as I said before, we don’t believe that one Democratic state is going to happen because what is more important now is how to build a unified strategy, a clear strategy, an effective strategy to reach this goal. Because from now until we achieve the call it will take years and years of a struggle. But we have to build a path. We have to build in this course of hope. We have to tell the Palestinian generation and the Israeli young Generation that we can build the path of light. We have to turn the struggle into a way of life where we can struggle and at the same time we can live our daily life. This is why we believe that nonviolent popular struggle is very important because this also allows the Palestinian inside the green line to engage more effectively in the struggle, if it is nonviolent struggle, like the one used in the Gaza recently by the much of return, like the anti-separation wall struggle in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. But of course this doesn’t mean that we don’t recognize the right of any occupied people to resist violently against occupation. This is the stipulated in the United Nations decisions. So they have the right… every people under occupation have to use every means possible to resist occupation. But we believe that maybe it could be more effective now. We should use to the word Democratic and the humanitarian discourse and vision so that we can capture the imagination of the world and we can capture the imaginations of many Israelis, and can also at the sam etime reunite the Palestinians. So this is the strategy that we have to work and formulate in order to achieve our goal. And without much blood, without much sacrifices. Of course any struggle requires sacrifices, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that only violence can help achieve our goals. We can try that and there were struggles not violent struggle, that really could achieve our goals. And we will see in the future what will happen maybe the next generation will it will decide what kinds or what form of struggle we’ll pursue.
MF: Where can people learn more about the vision that’s coming together are learn more about the one Democratic State campaign. Is there a website?
AF: We are going to launch our website in two or three weeks in three languages, but we will start with Hebrew and English. And we have the political platform that we produced came in three languages.
MF: Do you know what the URL for that website will be?
AF: Yeah. OneStateCampaign.org
KZ: Excellent. We really appreciate the work you’re doing. It’s an incredibly important struggle and people United States now can recognize that BDS leads to ODS. Boycott Divestment and Sanctions leads to One Democratic State. That’s the vision and that’s the tool to get there. And we really wish you well in organizing Palestinians and Israeli Jews to support this brilliant Vision.
AF:Thank you very much.
MF: Well that’s all for today. Let’s go out with a song by Junkyard Empire.