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What is the stand of the ODS Initiative regarding means of liberation such as armed resistance or BDS?

Although the Declaration of Human Rights, the International Bill of Human Rights, the United Nations recognize the right to resist occupation and racist régimes, one’s recognition of the human right, and duty, to resist oppression and fight for freedom does not depend on the decisions of international bodies. It is also common sense that victims’ use of force, be it individual or organized, can only be viewed and understood in the context of prior systemic violence. The Palestinians’ right to resist the Israeli occupation and domination is thus inalienable.

The same applies to non-military resistance, such as the international boycott, divest and sanctions efforts made against Israel, awareness campaigns, non-violent resistance, and other means.

The “One Democratic State” Initiative further emphasizes that all of the abovementioned efforts are only means that can only attain their full potential when they are attached to a clear end. This end can only be forcing the transition from a sectarian state to a democratic state. The Initiative stands in disagreement with the following approaches:

  • Limiting the resistance to retaliative actions: Choosing to initiate confrontations solely as a reaction to Israel’s crimes weakens awareness of the legitimate right to resist Israel as an apartheid, occupying, settler-colonial state.
  • Focusing on Israeli crimes or Palestinian rights outside the context of an alternative socio-political project: Much like limiting the resistance to retaliative actions, it may amount to normalization with Israel’s essence as a settler-state and the danger of its politicizing of identity, which can only result in crimes and the denial of rights.
  • Adopting identitarian ends, such as replacing the “state for Jews” with a “state for Arabs” or a “state for Muslims”: Such political endeavors fail to break free with the politicizing of identity, reinforce the Zionist and national-colonial narrative that states are exclusive to social constructs rather than apparatuses to manage societies’ actual interests, and perpetuate the hundreds-years-old cycle of violence.

The alternative to the Jewish state can only a democratic, secular state for all of its citizens. This political vision is the antithesis to Zionism and must accompany, even guide, the liberation struggle.

Relevant Readings

One Civil State in All of Palestine — Citizens in a State
Beyond Sterile Negotiations: Looking for a Leadership with a Strategy — Noura Erakat

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