Three representatives of the community-based organization New York City Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) proposed a solution to the conflict between Israel and Palestine in a panel discussion called “Revitalizing the One State Solution.”
SJP hosted the event on the Pleasantville campus as part of their Israeli Apartheid Week initiative.
The representatives advocated the idea of a “one-state solution,” which would unify the land occupied by both Israelis and Palestinians and give equal rights to all citizens of the nation.
According to the Chair of the New York City SJP, Nerdeen Kiswani, Israel controls 85 percent of Palestine’s land.
“Israel can go into Palestinian controlled land without backlash from the United Nations,” said Kiswani. “[Israelis] control over eighty percent of the water. They blockade the surrounding roads and control all of the resources.”
The Education Development Officer of NYC SJP, Dan Cione, said that the problem goes beyond control of the land.
“Those who live in Palestinian controlled land are subject to Israeli law,” Cione said. “Palestinians are tortured. People are shot for walking on Jewish roads. They’re not allowed to interact with Israelis so how are they supposed to live with a two state solution?”
The one-state solution proposed by the members is an idea for a “Palestinian National Democratic State” where both Israelis and Palestinians would have equal rights.
Deputy Chair of New York City SJP Leena Widdi said that one state would integrate Israelis into Palestinian society. SJP’s course of action to facilitate the one-state solution is to “organize against” oppression in the United States.
“As SJP, we know we’re living in America and we can’t affect what happens in Palestine,” said Cione and Widdi. “We have to take action against oppression of people in the U.S because they’re linked. We can’t accept a state that prioritizes any religion or culture anywhere in the world.”
They also advocate the boycotting of Israeli goods and call for schools and organizations to stop investing in companies that give financial or military support to Israel.
Director of Multicultural Affairs Cornell Craig said that this was the first time a discussion about a one-state solution occurred on the Pleasantville campus.
“I think on a college campus you have to have these uncomfortable conversations and be introduced to new ideas,” Craig said.
Wissi said the point of the discussion was to “dispel” the belief that a one-state solution is impossible and to prove that it does not deprive Israelis of their rights. She also said she wanted to educate students and encourage them to support organizations to help oppressed people.
Kiswani said that she believes college students often see themselves as separate from the issues, but that students “need to know about these issues” in order to prevent oppressive ideas and promote equality among all religions and races.