First Thursdays - international updates on ODS on the 1st Thursday of every month

1 June 2017


1)  On 2 May 2017 in Middle East Eye David Hearst wrote a great analysis of last month’s Hamas document wherein he embraces ODS. Hearst, Ali Abunimah, Omar Barghouti, the PFLP, and Hamas and Tajamoa more or less explicitly, support ODS. Let us hope for a broad, organised front.


2)  On 3 May 2017 Dena Takruri interviewed Bernie Sanders on Al Jazeera TV: “Do you support BDS?” Our hero Sanders: “No, I don’t.” Takruri: “Hopes for a two-state solution are almost dead. Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza increasingly support the one-state solution, with equal rights for Israelis and Palestinians alike, and equal citizenship. Is that something you support?” “No, I don’t. If that happens then that would be the end of the state of Israel, and I support Israel’s right to exist.” So Sanders and the British Labour Party see eye to eye. US Congressmen Justin Amash, whose father is Palestinian, and Keith Ellison, a Moslem who is critical of Israel, might do better on these questions.


3)  On 5 May 2017 Gideon Levy quoted Marwan Barghouti in 2002 quoting a friend: “You Israelis have a present but no future, and we Palestinians have a future but no present. Give us the present and you will have a future.” Probably true, and certainly in line with the ODS vision. Unfortunately, Barghouti joins the PA, Sanders, Corbyn, Tzipi Livni, Ari Shavit, Jonathan Freedland and, most likely, Trump, Jared Kushner and Jeremy Greenblatt in supporting the two-state solution.


4)  In May Shibley Telhami and Stella Rouse of the University of Maryland Critical Issues Poll published their poll of 2,138 US-American “panelists” in April 2017: 37% for two states, 31% for one democratic state, 9% for one undemocratic state, 15% for the status quo, 9% who “refused”. Removing the two-state option from the poll got: 63% ODS, 10% OUndemocraticS, 27% status quo. 1/3 of US voters for ODS!


5)  On 10 May 2017 the Palestine Chronicle reported that the Dublin and Sligo city councils will fly the Palestinian flag this Nakba Day. The Dublin statement said this was “a gesture of our solidarity with the people of Palestine living under occupation in the West Bank and Gaza, with the Palestinian citizens of Israel denied basic democratic rights, and with the over seven million displaced Palestinians denied the right of return to their homeland.” All 3 groups of Palestinians! Another solidarity action also explicitly mentioning ALL Palestinians and embracing with no ifs and buts the Right of Return was an Open Letter to US NFL footballers persuading them to cancel their visit to Israel. Are you listening, PSC?


6)  Back on 12 April Al-Shabaka writers Nadia Hijab and Ingrid Jaradat Gassner argued that we should not talk about solutions at all, but about rights, using approaches emphasising Israel apartheid and BDS, and we should by no means erase the Green Line. This deserves an exact critical reading for anyone who believes democracy in historic Palestine needs a motivating vision captured in a single idea, as was done by anti-slavery, women’s suffrage, the ANC and… Zionism. 


 7)  Alas, we come to ODS’s rival, the Two States, One Homeland “initiative”. While its positions are are somewhat vague, the idea seems to be two Green-Line states with exclusive citizenships but free movement, employment and residence, but no Right of Return.  Their site is here.



4 May 2017


1)  Hamas's new A Document of General Principles and Policies is very close to ODS: Hamas aims for 1) official reunification of Palestine, 2) return and restitution for the externally and internally displaced, and 3) an end to the "Zionist entity" (the Jewish state in Palestine). §20 says that the "establishment of a... Palestinian state" bordered by the 1949 armistice lines is "a formula of national consensus". Most of the press is inaccurately calling this an acceptance of the two-state solution, just as it inaccurately says this Document replaces the 1988 Hamas Charter. (ODS is however not religious and our Munich Declaration takes no position on the tactic of armed resistance.)


2)  The Reut Group and the Anti-Defamation League wrote a January 2017 update to the Reut Institute's 2010 report on how to combat the denial of Israel's right to exist. The new report's title, 'The assault on Israel's legitimacy: The frustrating 20X question: Why is it still growing?', refers to the fact that although Israel is spending 20 times as much on the PR battle against us than in 2010, "results remain elusive". BDS and ODS are demonised, and §39 correctly says that BDS entails ODS. Reut/ADL's main tactic is to "drive a wedge" between "hardcore de-legitimizers" of BDS and ODS and those who don't object to Zionism in principle but merely to Israeli policies.


3)  The One Undemocratic Staters have become stronger within Likud and in the Jewish Home and Israel Is Our Home parties, and for instance within Ramallah's Jewish-only settlement Beit El. They oppose the two-state solution and want to annex the West Bank to make a clear-cut apartheid state - which, intriguingly, would be easier for us to fight because the world knows how to deal with unhidden apartheid.


4)  Trump and his team in taking the two-state solution down off its pedestal might be also going for One Undemocratic State, but who knows? There are signs this businessman-led team is sick of losing money on Israel and might pressure it towards the two-state solution. This would be a game-changer, also for ODS. At any rate the PA - Abbas and Saeb Erekat - have since February not stopped screaming against abandoning the two-state solution. Funny that it was Erekat who in 2009 said that "the two-state solution is no longer an option" and that Palestinians should "refocus... on the one-state solution where Muslims, Christians and Jews can live as equals".


5)  Several analyses of the Cork Conference: by Haim Bresheeth in BRICUP Newsletter 109, by Andy Simons available at, and by Blake Alcott in the Palestine Chronicle. The messages of most of the speakers are in line with ODS and against Zionism in principle.


6 April 2017


1)  More and more and more one reads that the two-state solution is dead. One reason given is that the fictional Palestinian state made up of the Gaza Strip plus a few Bantustans in the West Bank is too small and fragmented to be 'viable' or 'feasible'. Whereas the point is that it was never desirable. But if the partition option is closed, at least the 'One' in One Democratic State is agreed. Next comes the 'Democratic' part.


2)  The Cork Conference from 31 March - 2 April 2017, which the Zionist lobby twice forbade at the University of Southampton, was a success. Most of the 38 speakers brought evidence that Israel is indeed illegitimate - because it is a European colony, because it is racist, because it is an apartheid state, because its creation went over the heads and hearts of the indigenous who were thus denied their self-determination, etc. Many lawyers spoke on which documents of international law render Israel illegal. Not just its actions, but its essence. And illegitimate states don't have the right to exist, so the territory will be freed for some version of One State - an unpartitioned Palestinian homeland


3)  Ramzy Baroud, editor of the Palestine Chronicle, recently wrote an analysis of the two-state solution, which was never alive, and calls for One Democratic State without any ifs or buts.


4)  In September 2016 about 56% of the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip thought the two-state solution was no longer an option. In early 2017 the percentage had risen to 66%. Warning: reports of these polls by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research consistently claim they are revealing the opinions of 'the Palestinians'. This is rubbish, because the Palestinians in Israel (1.7 million) and in the diaspora (6 million) are not even surveyed!


5)  On 24 March 2017 in Washington D.C. quite a few supporters of ODS spoke at a conference on the Israel lobby, including Ilan Pappe who said living with the idea of a two-state solution 'is like sleeping with a corpse'. Hanan Ashrawi said, 'There is zero time for the two-state solution.'



2 March 2017


1)  Billboards advocating One Democratic State in Palestine have been erected in the West Bank town of Kafr Aqab, between Jerusalem and Ramallah, according to this Ma'an News report. Who is behind it is unknown.


2)  Donald Trump's declared indifference over the two-state/one-state debate is making the world realise the two-state solution is (fortunately) dead and making it ask the question: What kind of single state? Democratic (ODS) or Undemocratic (OUS, the status quo, apartheid)?


3)  Saeb Erekat and the PA are still publicly supporting the two-state solution, even if Erekat's comments on Trump's statement have been reported differently by different news outlets. The Guardian's clueless reporter, Peter Beaumont, has Erekat speaking bluntly against democracy, while Haaretz, probably more accurately, has him both advocating ODS and warning direly of any abandonment of the two-state solution.


4)  The Popular Movement for ODS, founded May 2013 and with its Secretariat in Ramallah and Bethlehem, registered itself in 2016 as a Swiss Association, Handelsregisteramt Number CHE-390.290.948. It held its first General Assembly on 14/15 January, in Istanbul, where it elected a 10-person Board. The only condition for membership is support for the Munich Declaration and being nominated by 2 present members. To join get in touch through the link above or the ODS England contact page.