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Palestine Statement for the US Social Forum 2007 Peoples Movement Assembly

2007 marks the fortieth year of Israeli military occupation and fifty-nine years of dispossession and continuing ethnic cleansing. The Israeli state controls, by the use of force and the implementation of insidiously racist laws, the lives of the indigenous people of Palestine. Israeli apartheid policies effectively make Palestinians second-class citizens in a Jewish state, occupied subjects in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, resident aliens in Jerusalem, and refugees exiled from their homes since 1948.

Palestinians worldwide, irrespective of their status, struggle for their self-determination and freedom. Their struggle against an institutionalized racist regime that deems them inferior and threatening, both as a security threat as well as a demographic one, reflects the continuing struggles of indigenous peoples, immigrants, prisoners, poor communities, communities of color and dislocated people in the United States. The current and historic imperialist agenda of the U.S. and its allies has worked to keep these struggles divided while we recognize them as closely interlinked.

The U.S. government and its allies have escalated the implementation of a long-term agenda of securing control of the Middle East/West Asia for its economic, military and political interests by transforming the region into what it terms the new Middle East. The heart of this agenda is the provision of unequivocal support for Israel. Rather than support the democratic Palestinian elections in 2006, Western governments imposed unconscionable sanctions on the Palestinian government in opposition to the free choice of the Palestinian people. In doing so, the international community compounded the suffering, poverty, and malnutrition caused by the Israeli occupation rather than contributing to its alleviation. The U.S. and the E.U., in collusion with Israel and neighboring states, worked underhandedly in the months that followed to sabotage the Palestinian unity government and to exacerbate factional tensions. The U.S. encouraged the war on, and destabilization of, Lebanon in the summer of 2006, and is presently supporting the shelling of defenseless Palestinian refugees living in the Nahr-El-Bared refugee camp.

In turn, official diplomacy has failed in enforcing countless UN resolutions and relevant principles of international law aimed at ending Israels occupation, colonization, displacement and dispossession of the Palestinian people. Although the International Court of Justice issued an advisory opinion deeming the Israeli Apartheid Wall illegal in July 2005 and although the UN General Assembly reaffirms UN resolutions in support of Palestinian determination annually, Israel continues to act with impunity. As a result, Palestinian rights and national interests have been displaced from the international diplomatic agenda. We respond by affirming that in the face of governments failure to hold a belligerent state up to the standards of international law, peoples grassroots power must intervene to ensure respect for human rights and self-determination.

We believe that such power lies within a divestment campaign from Israel akin to the divestment campaign from apartheid South Africa in the 1980s. This is a campaign in support of working class people and communities of color in the U.S. since American military investment that is required to maintain the U.S. occupation of Iraq and the Israeli occupation of Palestine corresponds with a divestment from education and health care, and a decrease in employment opportunities.

Key to our struggle against U.S. imperialism is the building of solidarity between Palestine activists in the U.S. and domestic struggles that oppose war, dispossession, and attacks on marginalized and oppressed communities at home and abroad. We condemn the walls, barriers and prisons built to divide and destroy communities in the U.S. as well as in Palestine. We affirm that the call for Boycotts, Divestments, and Sanctions (BDS) is part of a larger struggle against militarization, colonialism, and global systems of racism.

Echoing the demands included in the Palestinian Civil Society call for BDS in July 2005 and reaffirmed in the joint statement of Palestinian civil society to the World Social Forum in January 2007, and inspired by the struggle against apartheid in South Africa, we resolve to support a comprehensive BDS campaign against Israel until it complies with its obligations under international law by:

1. Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the wall;
2. Ending its system of racial discrimination and recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel, including their right to full equality;
3. Recognizing the right of Palestinian refugees, including Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), to return to their homes and properties, as stipulated in UN General Assembly resolution 194.

We bring our solidarity to domestic and other global struggles for liberation and request your participation in the following Call to Action:

We call on our friends and allies to endorse the call for BDS issued by Palestinian civil society.

We call on our friends and allies to support the Global Day of Action against the Apartheid Wall in November 2007.

We call on our friends and allies to support and participate in the Fourth International Israeli Apartheid Week in February 2008.

We call on our friends and allies to prepare for mass commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba (Catastrophe) in May 2008 and throughout that year.

We call on our friends and allies to support the first grassroots Popular Palestinian National Conference Claiming our Voice, Asserting our Narrative organized for and by Palestinians in North America to be held in Chicago, Illinois, on August 8, 2008.

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Ava ProctorBy:
Justice, rights and public orderIn:
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US Social Forum BDS Institute participant or interested activists

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