United in Struggle against Israeli Colonialism, Occupation and Racism
24-25 October, 2009
Towards the unity of all forces in struggle for boycott, divestment and sanctions for Palestine
Between the 24th and the 25th of October, 2009, the Occupied Palestine and Golan Heights Advocacy Initiative (OPGAI), together with the Alternative Information Center (AIC), organized an international seminar in the city of Bethlehem, Palestine. The seminar gathered Palestinian, international and anti-colonial Israeli activists, researchers, and others interested in promoting justice for the Palestinian people. The seminar placed a special emphasis on the economic interests behind the occupation and the potential impact that the international campaigns for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) can make in promoting justices for the Palestinian people. The seminar aimed to review, develop, and document the Palestinian advocacy mechanisms locally and internationally, to determine the impact of such efforts so far, in addition to raising the level of cooperation and coordination amongst the various related actions and activities.
The conduct of the seminar coincided with the continuing unprecedented state of polarization within the Palestinian people. The severe and disastrous consequences of this internal dispute not only hamper the current political performance of the Palestinian people, but also do away with years of sacrifice, struggle and accomplishments. Now, the Israeli occupation is at a crossroads facing a potentially historic opportunity to continue its politics of separation and expansion on all fronts, marked by the intensification of political assassinations, arrests, restrictions on movement and basic freedoms, takeover of lands, and the construction of settlements. While the process of Judaization and isolation of Jerusalem is accelerating, Israel insists on continuing the settlement and expansion activities in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights, the daily crimes against humanity in the Gaza Strip, and the politics of aggression and discrimination against Palestinian citizens of Israel.
In light of the decision taken by the United Nations Human Rights Council to adopt the Report of the UN Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict (the Goldstone Report), the United in Struggle Seminar joins in the call on Arab, Palestinian and international civil society and official institutions to take appropriate measures to bring officials from the occupying Israeli state to justice.
The participants in the United in Struggle Seminar call for the following:
1. To immediately restore Palestinian national unity.
2. To activate the Palestine Liberation Organization in a democratic and inclusive manner that will permit the participation of all Palestinian forces and factions based on the Cairo Agreement of 2005.
3. To activate and construct Palestinian national frameworks that will reinforce the capacity of the Palestinian people to resist the Israeli occupation and to consolidate progressive Palestinian principals.
4. To continue the efforts on all levels to hold the state of Israel and its leadership accountable for war crimes and crimes against humanity in international courts and milieus.
5. To consolidate and continue the efforts to end the blockade on the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip.
6. To firmly oppose politics and projects of normalization with Israel in the Arab world by activating the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions for Palestine campaign (BDS).
7. To emphasise the 2005 invitation extended by Palestinian civil society to conscientious Israelis to support the call for BDS for the sake of justice and genuine peace.
8. To reinforce a stronger and more efficient position in the Arab states and societies to defend Jerusalem, in addition to boycotting all political, economic and cultural activities complicit with Israeli efforts to Judaize and isolate Jerusalem.