On 27 February 2018, Jeff Halper (Director of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions – ICAHD) delivered an inspiring lecture, followed by a question/answer session in Edinburgh, hosted by the Scottish Palestinian Forum (http://www.scottishpalestinianforum.org.uk/) and Edinburgh Action 4 Palestine (https://edinburghaction4palestine.org/)
Jeff spoke of an initiative that he and ICAHD (https://icahd.org/) are involved in – a joint Palestinian-Israeli grassroots initiative to formulate a political settlement based on the creation of one democratic state.
Jeff accepted that currently there is resistance to this idea from different groups – Jewish Israeli who want a Jewish state and Palestinian who want their own state. However, he argued that the Matrix of Control which Israel has laid over the Occupied Palestinian Territories has effectively eliminated the two-state solution and has produced a regime of apartheid.
Faced with apartheid and the warehousing of the Palestinians, Jeff believes that the only just solution remaining is a one state democracy … equality under the law for Jew, Arab and other groups; for people of all religions, Muslim, Druze, Jew, Christian – or none.
He acknowledged that much needs to happen to overcome the resistance to a single democratic state and bring about a change in the mindset of people in the different communities. He spoke of the need to listen to, understand and work to alleviate the concerns of these different communities.
He called on international activists to continue their work to render the current system of apartheid untenable by e.g. carrying on with activism, BDS etc.
Jeff concluded by saying that further work is needed to flesh out the details of the initiative e.g. to ensure economic and other inequalities are minimized, but that it was hoped that the initiative will be launched in autumn this year.
Jeff Halper Bio
Jeff Halper is an Israeli anthropologist and Director of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD).
He is the author of An Israeli in Palestine (London: Pluto Press, 2008) on his work against the Occupation and Obstacles to Peace (2005), a manual for activism in Palestine/Israel. His most recent book is War Against the People: Israel, the Palestinians and Global Pacification (Pluto, 2015), which was shortlisted for the Palestine Book Award.
Jeff participated in the first (and successful) attempt of the Free Gaza Movement to break the Israeli siege by sailing into Gaza. He serves on the international support committee of the Bertrand Russell Tribunal on Palestine, and was nominated by the American Friends Service Committee for the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize, together with the Palestinian intellectual and activist Ghassan Andoni.