From Cape Town, Dr. Mustafa Barghouti calls for South Africa-style one state solution for Palestine, 'if Palestinians choose it'

From Cape Town, Dr. Mustafa Barghouti calls for South Africa-style one state solution for Palestine, 'if Palestinians choose it'
Visiting South Africa, prominent Palestinian voice Dr. Mustafa Barghouti also urges the world to take punitive action against Israel for the genocide in Gaza
4 min read
15 March, 2024
Dr Barghouti (L) came to South Africa to encourage Palestinian organizations to come and work together to raise awareness on the Gaza-Israel war[Joseph Chirume]

Prominent Palestinian physician, activist and former Minister of Information during the Palestinian Unity Government of 2007, Dr. Mustafa Barghouti has called this week for the creation of a Palestinian state moulded along the South African system.

“I personally believe that the best solution is a one democratic state so that people will have equal rights like what we have in South Africa. South Africa is the best model. But it’s up to the Palestinians to decide this matter and this should become a national consensus,” said Dr. Barghouti in Cape Town where he addressed a press briefing with the Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

The human rights campaigner was in South Africa to mobilise support for a united Palestine and an end to the war on Gaza.

He told The New Arab that he advocated for one democratic state where people live together under equal rights. However, he cautioned that the people of Palestine should choose what suits them best.

Accompanied by Professor Usuf Chikte of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Dr Barghouti said that freedom will only be achieved by a total dismantling of the apartheid system imposed by Israel in Palestine.

“I believe that our national goal, and that's the position of my party, should not only be the ending of occupation, the ending of aggression and that of apartheid but also ending the whole settler colonial system. That’s our position,” said Dr. Barghouti.


Gaza genocide: Time for international sanctions on Israel?

Dr. Barghouti, who is the secretary-general and co-founder of the Palestinian National Iniative (PNI) also known as Al-Mubadara, urged the world to take punitive and collective action to force Israel to compensate for the suffering and destruction it has inflicted in Gaza adding that Israel has been emboldened before by destroying Palestinian lands without facing any consequences.

“Yes we believe that the world must force Israel to pay compensation for everything it has destroyed. They have already destroyed Gaza many times before, 2008, 2012, and 2014 but this is the largest destruction. The fact that Israel was not forced to pay reparations then, has encouraged it to repeat its destruction of Gaza," he said.

Dr. Barghouti, whose career includes being a runner-up in the 2005 Presidential elections to Mahmoud Abbas, believes the decision taken by Egypt to close the Rafah border was the right one to prevent Israel from forcing an exodus of Gazans. He said the onus was on Israel to open its borders, at the same time Israel should refrain from bombarding Rafah as it could stand as the worst massacre ever.

“We are talking about 1,4 million people crammed in a space less than 45 square kilometers. Imagine if Israel starts bombarding the area? It’s very dangerous. It is our call to Egypt to keep that strong stance against forcing people out of Gaza. Nobody should allow the use of the argument that Egypt should open borders to allow humanitarian needs. Why can’t Israel open its borders?

“These people are originally Palestinians who were expelled by Israel, so they can go back. Nobody should allow another attack on Rafa, this should be a true disaster,” said Dr. Barghouti.

It's the occupation...

Dr. Barghouti, a medical doctor, is also the founder and president of the Palestinian Medical Relief Society. He accused Israel of diverting world attention by talking of the October 7-8 attack as the reason for its demolition of Gaza. He said Palestinians had had enough of Israel invading their land.

“Our position is clear and it's a general Palestinian position that, we say no to Israel re-occupation of Gaza, no to Israel shrinking of the size of Gaza, no to a buffer zone Israel is trying to create around Gaza and that Israel has no right whatsoever to decide who should govern or rule in Gaza. It’s up to the Palestinian people to decide,” he added.

In order to achieve the above, Dr. Barghouti urged all Palestinian organizations to come together and unite under one framework -- a reformed PLO.

“To achieve that practically, we are calling on the Palestinian Authority, and all Palestinian groups and other organizations to unite. Thats what I proposed in our meeting in Moscow for the parties that we should immediately have a national unity leadership that includes everybody. That means bringing in Hamas and [Palestinian Islamic] Jihad into the PLO thus stopping an effort to take away from Palestinans the right to represent themselves through the PLO which is mainly recognized as the legitimate [representative of Palestinians].”