Issa Amro currently lives in the West Bank city of Hebron. He is a Palestinian human rights defender and activist. He is the coordinator and co-founder of Youth Against Settlements. He advocates the use of nonviolent resistance and civil disobedience focused on the city of Hebron. In 2010, he was declared “human rights defender of the year in Palestine” by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human and is recognized as a human rights defender by the European Union.
I support any solution based on justice, equality and freedom. We can have one state based on this, with equal rights and a “one person one vote” system. Or we can have two states with full rights for Palestinians in their own state and full control of their borders. If we have a just peace and a just solution, swapping land is not the issue. Recognizing Palestinians as human beings with full rights, that is the issue. Details, like land swaps, will easily fall into place.
All settlements are illegal under international law. According to article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, all settlements beyond the 1967 borders are a war crime. All settlements should be dismantled, but I am not against Jewish people coming to live in Palestine as Palestinian citizens and residents, because I believe in diversity. However, it shouldn’t be done by stealing other people’s land or by the power of occupation. Settlements must be dismantled. They have been placed strategically to steal land and impose apartheid. They must leave.
Security is a mutual concept. If Palestinians don’t have security, it is not possible for Israelis to have security. The occupation is the main source of violence. Ending the occupation and system of apartheid will solve 90% of the violence.
The violence before 1967 can be traced to the Israelis. They had more modern weapons while the Palestinians were largely unarmed. The Haganah and Irgun (Israeli forces) destroyed Palestinian villages and killed the inhabitants. Palestinian violence has been carried out by individuals or small groups with inferior arms. Israeli violence is systematic, institutional and massively funded.
With regards to the fear of the West Bank becoming like Gaza, Israel didn’t leave Gaza. Gaza is under siege. It is not free. Occupation existed before and after Hamas. Whether Palestinians do or don’t want to destroy Israel doesn’t matter because they can’t. Israel has nuclear weapons while Gaza is in the dark ages. Israel is destroying the Palestinians on a daily basis.
I think Jerusalem should not be divided. It should be an international city for all. Jerusalem is bigger to me than Israel or Palestine. It is one of the holiest cities in the world.
Israel should not create provocations at Haram-esh Sharif/the Temple Mount. Jews have the Western Wall to pray at so that should be enough.
Maybe the Temple Mount was there in the past, but now it is a mosque. You shouldn’t change anything from the current situation because it means provocation and increasing the gap between the two sides.
If we are less religious and less aggressive, then Haram-esh Sharif/the Temple Mount will not be an issue. Currently, if we allow Jews to come it will be a complication. We would have to work out when the Jews will pray and when the Muslims will. It happened at the tomb of the patriarchs (in Hebron) where they now close it for Jewish holidays. The situation of the Ibrahmi mosque (at tomb of the patriarchs) will be in the Al Aqsa mosque.
All refugees and their descendants across the world should have the right to return to their lands, homes and countries. Everything must be based on equality and justice and international standards. What is necessary is to have a civil country, rather than a country with a majority of one group of people. In Israel some secular Jewish people are forced not to be secular. Israelis should not worry about being the majority. They should worry about all people having equal rights. We still have displacement. It is not that it ended with the Nakba. Equality, recognition, and justice is all that we want. All over the world Jews have the right to come to Israel, but Palestinians refugees don’t have the right to return to their homes.
The Nakba should be recognized by all Israelis as something very bad that happened in that time. Palestinians should have the right to commemorate the Nakba and Israel should be responsible about it and give back the land that was taken in the Nakba. Also, as Israel recognizes the Nakba of 1948, they must stop the ongoing Nakba happening now in Palestine.
The Nakba was not simply just a war; it was a one sided war. The Palestinians didn’t have an army. They were only simple people who were expelled from their homes. It was nothing more than that.
If Israel takes responsibility, I know we will have a better future. Now it feels like the Israelis say, “No I didn’t attack you, I didn’t displace you, I didn’t destroy your land.” But it is documented that it happened!
Historical Zionism was about taking the land away from the Palestinian people to create a state for Jews. It caused a lot of harm and damage.
Israel has not created a “safe” place for Jews. All people need to be safe from persecution. Creating a world based on justice and equality is what will accomplish that.
To participate in BDS is a right. It is a non-violent tool in the tradition of movements like the struggle to end apartheid in South Africa. BDS must be acknowledged by the international community as a right.
Israel is an apartheid state. I am under military law while settlers are under civil law. Two different laws for two different peoples, that is apartheid. Roads closed to Palestinians and roads divided according to religion. Busses for settlers to reach their settlements that Palestinians are not allowed to use.