On the day when Palestine has been accepted by the United Nations as a non-member state, it seems to me fitting to post a declaration that was made by Swiss Jews and Palestinians, back in 1997. Their dream of peace has just been advanced by this move and we may benefit from hearing what they called for back in the days when doing so was very, very unpopular.
The Jewish–Palestinian Declaration
We, Palestinian and Jewish families of the region of Basel and our relatives and friends who support us in this matter,
unified in our concern and commitment for an understanding and a lasting and just peace between our people, aware of the fact that this peace can only be based on the principle of two independent states and on the recognition of acknowledged principles of international law, convinced that people in Palestine and in Israel need the support of Jews and Palestinians all over the world, in an endeavour to get as many Jews and Palestinians as possible, where ever they live, to commit themselves to principles according to which they are prepared to think and act, commit ourselves to the principles that
- Jews and Palestinians each have an equivalent claim to their own national homesteads, that is two neighbouring, sovereign states, Israel and Palestine, in secure frontiers and support one another in attaining this objective,
- Jews and Palestinians, wherever else in the world they are staying, have the right to live in peace and freedom as human beings with equal rights against whom there will be no discrimination;
- nobody will lose her or his homeland, because somebody else seeks his homeland there, that the independence of neither of the people be impaired by the immigration of the other, and for those who lost their land and/or homeland in the course of a conflict that appropriate and just solutions should be found that involve restitution of the land or the entire compensation of the former owner,
- the relationships between Palestinians and Jews be based on the principles of complete equality, respect and considerateness conveying an image of man in which human dignity is incontestable,
- we reject violence as a means of conflict-resolution between people and that we mutually try to discern the motives of violence and prevent it in its origins;
- we reject as a form of violence the unilateral creation of facts that endanger the peace process and the already declared principles, namely the take-over of land and the shifting of the demographic situation in Arab living- and farming areas; it is most important that political, economic and social conditions be created in which the Arab citizens of the state of Israel are free of any discrimination and that they can consider themselves as having equal rights, as being of equal value and receiving equal treatment, the Jewish settlements on the Westbank and in Gaza were built adverse to international law and are an obstacle on the path to an understanding and to a permanent peace, that they therefore should be evacuated step by step and that the inhabitants be entirely compensated, a solution has to be found, that is appropriate to the holy site and its history, for an undivided Jerusalem as two capitals of two sovereign states, we suggest a regular intensive dialogue between Palestinians and Jews all over the world striving mutually to get to know the history and fate of the other, tending to mutualities and differences and to finding ways of overcoming our present helplessness; we consider an active cultural and economic exchange amongst Jews and Palestinians and adequate educational programs to be a suitable and important means of enhancing this dialogue.
We appeal to all friends of the peace-process in the Near East and to every Jew and every Palestinian, whether man or woman, all over the world to join us in our discussion and in the manifestation of these principles by signing the declaration and sending it to us by mail or by fax or by joining us by e-mail and we invite you to let us have your feedback.
The first signatories of this declaration are: Edward and Aïda Badeen, Basel, Switzer-land • Peter and Sonja Dreyfus, Biel-Benken, Switzerland • Sabine Dreyfus, Binningen, Switzerland • Joseph and Thérèse Kalak, Muttenz, Switzerland • Peter Liatowitsch and Hannah Strøm Liatowitsch, Basel, Swit-zerland • Gehad Mazarweh and Susanne Schwarz Mazarweh, Germany • Billy Meyer, Basel, Switzerland • Berta Rasumowsky, Zürich, Switzerland
Basle, September 13, 1997