Our final event of the spring-summer season was a talk by a high-profile speaker: American-Israeli academic, writer and activist Jeff Halper on the evening of 14th May at the United Church.
The theme of the talk was the so-called “One State Solution”, of which, as co-founder of the One Democratic State group, Jeff Halper is a prominent and passionate advocate.
Jeff began by talking about his work with the Israeli Committee Against Home Demolitions (ICADH) which he co-founded. ICADH is a non-violent, direct action group based in Jerusalem and with branches in the US and Europe (including the UK). It seeks to end the occupation and achieve a just peace between Palestinians and Israelis; more specifically, it raises awareness of Israel’s policy of demolishing Palestinian homes, and directly resists this policy, for example by physically blocking bulldozers and helping to rebuild demolished homes. As an example of the human impact of home demolitions and land theft, Jeff shared the poignant story of one family of Palestinian farmers whom he works with, and who have seen most of their land stolen and appropriated for the neighbouring Jewish-only settlement.
Jeff then went on to explire some of the themes in his latest book War Against The People – particularly the manner in which the Occupied Territories are used by Israel to test its latest weapons and security apparatus, which it then sells around the world.
Finally, he talked us through the principles of the One State Solution and how it could be developed in practice. The One State versus Two State debate has been an ongoing one for decades; the Two State solution was adopted as the preferred, official option by the Israeli government, the Palestinian National Authority, as well as by the international community. However, the One State option has gained increasing prominence over the last few years, as the West Bank is increasingly encroached on by illegal Israeli settlements and military zones, and the possibility of a fully-functioning, independent Palestinian state diminishes day by day. Proponents of the One State Solution go as far as to declare Two States “dead and gone” as a solution, a fact which is known by most, though acknowledged by few…and that in fact Israel’s quest to judaize Palestine has in effect been completed, as Palestinian territory all falls under Israeli control and One State is already a reality, albeit not a democratic state, but an apartheid one.
The One Democratic State project comprises Palestinian and Israeli activists, academics, lawyers, etc… who work together towards creating a political settlement which campaigners can work to achieve, and which can guarantee peace, security, democracy, and equal rights (including cultural rights) to all who live in the region.
It is a fascinating and inspiring project, and one very important message from the evening was how important it is for activists to have a goal or aspiration to aim for. Attendance was good, with a very engaged audience which appeared fascinated with Jeff’s vision. We got excellent feedback at the end, and there were generous donations to ICADH.
To find out more about ICADH’s work, you can visit their website:
To find out more about the One Democratic State project, visit:
To find out more about Jeff Halper’s book or buy a copy: