Call for Support
The One Democratic State Group -Gaza
"The One Democratic State Group is committed to the struggle for Palestinian rights. These rights will never be realized outside the framework of a unitary state with equality for all its citizens. For too long this aim has been a vision. It is time to make it happen, and the ODSG is at the forefront of that effort. They deserve our full support."~ Ghada Karmi
In this time of despair and ever-growing violence that threatens to destroy the Palestinian people, it is most refreshing to hear about a humanist and genuine initiative to find a just solution for the Palestine question. It is most amazing that it grew on the killing fields of Gaza, which bore the brunt of the Israeli criminal policies. It carries with it a hope that despite the various Nakbas the Palestinian people have gone through, there is still a valid possibility for Jews and Palestinians to share the land on the basis of equal and human rights. This is the only way forward and it is in particular the people of Gaza who can show us the way forward.~ Ilan Pape
"At a moment when ever more people are recognizing the futility at again attempting to partition Palestine/Israel, and the failure of the 'two-state solution,' there is an urgent need for a new vision to bring about decolonization, equality and justice. The One Democratic State Group is at the forefront of thinking, advocacy and action to bring about such a new vision from within Palestine. Their important and courageous work inspires real hope and deserves all our support."~ Ali Abunimah
Please circulate widely
The ODSG, One Democratic State Group, is a Palestinian non-violent popular resistance group based in Gaza. We are Palestinian activists, from various backgrounds, who have come together to further peace with justice in the Middle East. We believe that the One State Solution is the only viable option that guarantees comprehensive peace in the Middle East. We believe that justice and peace can be achieved in the context of a single Democratic State that would include and benefit equally all current residents of historic Palestine--after the return of Palestinian refugees--irrespective of race, ethnicity or religion. We pledge to work actively towards this end.
We are also active in the Palestine-initiated campaign of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel. These measures, similar to those applied to South Africa during the apartheid era, are necessary to bring an end to Israel's genocidal policies towards Palestinians both within Israel and throughout the Occupied Territories. We believe that these non-violent measures should be maintained until Apartheid Israel recognizes the Palestinian people's inalienable right to self-determination and the establishment of a democratic state on Mandatory Palestine; a state for all of its citizens.
As we are not an NGO, all our funding comes from our own pockets. As our movement is now rapidly growing it is becoming more difficult to financially sustain our projects and hire greatly needed staff. Due to lack of funds we have been forced to freeze some of our projects.
Our current projects include the following:
1. Organizing for the Gaza Freedom March (31 December 2009). We are represented on the March Steering Committee.
2. Collecting video testimonies of refugees who survived the 1948 Nakba for an oral history project that will be posted at Palestine Remembered.
3. Working on the "Right to Read" Campaign in partnership with the Free Gaza Movement. Challenging the siege by shipping books by sea for Gaza university students.
4. Producing a documentary, Forbidden Dreams, and copying thousands of a Palestinian- South African CD, Amandla Intifada.
5. The promotion of the one state solution and the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israeli Apartheid by:
Ÿ Networking to strengthen connections among people and groups in Gaza and with solidarity activists around the world.
Ÿ Running BDS workshops across the Gaza Strip.
Ÿ Organizing video conferences with activists, intellectuals and students based in the Arab World, Canada, Europe, South Africa, and the US.
Ÿ Conducting media advocacy and writing articles in Arabic and English.
In order to keep ODSG productively running, we are in need of your generous support and donations. We invite you to visit our website, http://www.odsg. org/co/ and join us in our work to in an act of people to people solidarity, and anti-apartheid activism for peace with justice.
You can make a donation via paypal through our website. If you are in the United States and would like to make a tax-deductible donation, contact us at http://odsg. org/co/index. php/contact- us.html
onedemocraticstateg roup@gmail. com
Through your help we will be able to make our vision a reality and thereby ensure that our children and grandchildren may live together in more just and equal world.
The One Democratic State Group
A DRIVE TO SAVE LIFTA petition signed by Ilan Pappe and Yonatan Mendel, Dr David A Wesley, Tzvia Shapira, Dr. Julia Chaitin, Noga Kadman
Dr David A Wesley is a professor at the University of Tel Aviv,
Dr. Julia Chaitin teaches at the Social Work dept., Ben. Gurion University
Noga Kadman studies at the Department of Peace and Development Research at Goteborg University in Sweden
Dr. Tzvia Shapira teaches at Oranim College
Yonatan Mendel is completing a PhD on Israeli security and the Arabic language, at the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies in Cambridge
A DRIVE TO SAVE LIFTA
Lifta, a most picturesque Palestinian village, lies on the slopes of West Jerusalem below the highway linking it to Tel-Aviv. It has been abandoned since the invading Hagana underground forces backed by the Stern Gang drove the last of its Palestinian inhabitants in 1948 during the ethnic cleansing of Palestine.
It was the one single event which changed the nature of the place and the whole region. Although dozens of houses were destroyed, many of them still remain poised on the landscape.
Lifta is considered by many as a rare and fine example of Palestinian rural architecture with narrow streets aligned with the slopes of the mountains around it. Its cubist forms are a wonderful manifestation of the mastery of the Palestinian stone masons who were the indigenous owners and builders of these houses.
Today Lifta is more or less a ghost town suspended in space and remains deserted despite the fact that most of its original Palestinian inhabitants live in the surrounding communities. The Israeli authorities refuse to allow them to return.
Now the Jerusalem Municipality has produced plans to turn Lifta into a luxurious and exclusive Jewish development – reinventing its history in the process.
The Plan, numbered 6036, was designed by two architectural offices: G. Kartas – S. Grueg and S. Ahronson, as part of the “local space planning of Jerusalem”. The plan was submitted on June 28, 2004, and according to its title refers to “The Spring of National”. The plan, submitted to the Jerusalem Municipality Planning Committee in 2004, was approved by a regional committee.
In 2005, objections to the Plan were raised by several groups, including Bimkom (alternative center for Israeli planning) and the representatives of the regional committee of the organization and construction for the Al Quds-Jerusalem area.
• The original Palestinian inhabitants of Lifta, their memories of the village, their exile and longing to return to Lifta are not mentioned, or even considered by the Municipality Master Plan.
• Lifta captures the moment of destruction of Palestinian life in 1948. Its 3,000 original inhabitants fled – mostly to East Jerusalem and to the Ramallah area. However, unlike many of the 530 Palestinian villages and towns conquered and bulldozed during the war of 1947/48, a few of Lifta’s houses remain almost intact, yet deserted and declared ‘officially’ resettled.
• These set of circumstances have placed Lifta in a unique position: its original inhabitants are still around, living in the OPT and the Chicago area with a desire that the injustices done in 1948 be acknowledged and repaired.
• In Israel, renovation projects are frequently used to build a national narrative, ignoring the deep contradictions between planning and human rights that inevitably arise out of such initiatives.
• With Lifta, we have a place where a new national transformation results in the erasure of another’ people’s memory as evidenced in the new Masterplan.
• Lifta is a tangible embodiment of the larger context of events in the region during 1947/48. Lifta can be a vital place for contemplating and understanding the concept of historical continuity.
• Lifta’s heritage is a story of a multicultural society, embracing a strong sense of an ethnically and religiously diverse community of Muslims, Jews and Christians which encapsulated a healthy civil equality amongst its inhabitants and the neighbouring communities. If Lifta were to be rejuvenated with due care to preserving its memory, it could offer a unique opportunity for the start of a new dialogue towards a conciliatory outcome.
This petition aims to save Lifta through the World Monuments Fund , amongst others, and to draw attention to this site which has been threatened by neglect, vandalism and forced occupation by extremist settlers.
||timely and crucial petition!
||Israelis for saving Lifta
||Dr. Julia Chaitin
||There has been too much destruction. Leave this village so that it can serve as a remembrance of the past and as a multi-cultural community for the present and future