Palestine and Israel

A Two State Solution or an Apartheid State: Jerusalem Center for Women on March 8th, 2004

The Jerusalem Center for Women published the following letter on the 5th of March 2004 in Ha'aretz Hebrew daily newspaper, as part of its activities around the 8th of March, International Women's Day. This letter (in English) is part of an on going program of the Jerusalem Link: "the Public Political correspondence".

A Two State Solution or an Apartheid State

The Jerusalem Center for Women (a Palestinian center for women's empowerment and peace-building) views the Israeli government decision to build the "separation wall" on occupied land as a dangerous and irresponsible act against the future of any just and peaceful solution to the conflict. Israelis offer various justifications for this wall, using names such as the "separation wall" or "security wall", while Palestinians are naming it the "Berlin wall" and "apartheid wall" as they describe its final effects. In addressing the concept of ‘security’ we would like to make clear that neither ‘separation’ nor ‘security’ apply to this wall: the "separation wall" is being built around Palestinian populated areas, separating Palestinian areas from each other. It is being built inside the West Bank and not on the Green Line, by confiscating Palestinian lands occupied by Israel in 1967, and by securing and enlarging illegal Jewish settlements. It isolates East Jerusalem from its hinterlands and makes it a city exclusively for one side alone. Jerusalem cannot be monopolized by one side.
Upon completion of the projected wall, the total area that is de facto annexed into Israel will be 45 to 55% of the Occupied West Bank. We view this wall as destructive to any future two-state solution. It confines the Palestinian population into ‘ghettos’, it inspires hatred and anger, and it makes the daily lives of Palestinians full of mounting suffering and humiliation.
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's recent statements about unilateral withdrawal or unilateral plans to dismantle some settlements, while enhancing others, are only a smokescreen for the continuation of Israel's settlement project and wall building on Palestinian occupied lands. There is an adequate arrangement already in place for Israel's dismantling of all of the settlements: the guidelines of international law. Besides, if the wall is still to be pursued, then it should be built on the Green Line, in accordance with international legality.
Security will come with the end of the occupation, not by its enhancement. As long as there is oppression, insecurity, the violation of human rights, inequality, injustice and the daily suffering of the Palestinian people, security will never be achieved for either party.
A just peace is the only way towards security and stability in our region, a peace that is based on the implementation of international law and United Nations resolutions, a peace that ensures human dignity and human rights for all.
We believe that the politics of power and oppression will not pave the way for peace or security; it only fuels the region with more hatred and racism, and ensures that our future generations will continue living inside the confines of this bloody cycle.
Please join us, women and men, in our call to resist the building of the apartheid wall. Join your voice with ours to help in ending the occupation.

No side will be free if the other is not free.

8th of March 2004

Jerusalem Center for Women