Reference Document of the World Social Forum Free Palestine

World Social Forum Free Palestine
 November 2012 - Porto Alegre - Brazil
 Reference Document

 (Approved by the Palestinian National Committee for the WSF)
 The Palestinian people extend their gratitude and appreciation to the World Social Forum and all social movements participating in the special forum on Palestine, which will be held at the end of this year. We particularly thank Brazil, its government and its institutions, for hosting this forum, which we regard as a crucial and extraordinary landmark in a process that will widen support for our people’s struggle to exercise our inalienable rights: the right of return, self-determination, and an independent state with Jerusalem as its capital.

 Despite the passage of more than six decades since the Nakba, the systematic ethnic cleansing of a majority of the Palestinian people in 1948, the Palestinian cause is still a global issue inspiring people of conscience and social movements around the world. Effective solidarity with the Palestinian people and its inalienable rights -- especially the right of return of refugees to their homes and the right to self-determination -- is today stronger than ever, reinforcing the struggle of the Palestinian people, under the leadership of the Palestine Liberation Organization, for freedom and justice, in accordance with international law and universal principles of human rights, both pillars of the World Social Forum.

 For the Palestinian people to exercise its inalienable right to self-determination (including refugees’ return), effective pressure needs to be applied on Israel to fully comply with international law through:
 ·      Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands occupied in 1967 and the dismantling of the apartheid wall
 ·      Ending its apartheid regime (conforming to the UN definition of the crime of apartheid) and the recognition of the fundamental right of Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality
 ·      Recognizing the rights of the Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties from which they were displaced, as stipulated in UN Resolution 194 and other relevant UN resolutions
 The organization of the World Social Forum Free Palestine is an expression of the unity of international social movements -- fighting against imperialism, neo-liberalism and racial discrimination in all its forms -- in considering the just struggle for the Palestinian rights an integral part of the international struggle to develop political, social and economic alternatives that enhance justice, equality and sovereignty of the peoples on the basis of social-economic justice, human dignity and democracy.

 The "World Social Forum Free Palestine" is a global public space and distinguished gathering for international civil society that aims to:
 a.    Highlight, strengthen and deepen the global movement in solidarity with the Palestinian people's rights
 b.    Develop mechanisms for effective global action in support of the struggle of the Palestinian people to exercise its inalienable rights, foremost among them the right of return and self-determination, and to enforce international law and human rights.
 c.    Provide an open space for debate, dialogue, developing strategies and planning for effective and sustainable campaigns in solidarity with the Palestinian people, and to hold the Israeli occupation accountable, illegitimate, and subject to sanctions.
 After 65 years of the hegemonic powers’ partition of Palestine and their complicity in the systematic ethnic cleansing that the Palestinians were subjected to since November 1947, Brazil hosts this year a new kind of global forums aimed at strengthening the peoples’ struggle for rights and justice where most governments have failed to protect either.
 The world social forum meets in Brazil in light of stormy changes in the Arab region, in what has become known as “the Arab Spring,” where people struggle for social justice, democracy and freedoms. In this context, the forces of Western hegemony, especially the United States, have striven to abort or contain the Arab popular revolutions in order to keep the area under their domination. This intervention, which sometimes takes a military form, poses serious challenges to the Arab revolutions in their quest to maintain their emancipatory and democratic identity and path towards achieving their declared goals. It is certain that the fall of the dictatorial regimes, which were the hotbeds of Arab complicity with the US-Israeli agenda, has had a major impact on undermining Israel’s impunity and in reviving the centrality of the Palestinian cause in the Arab world, thus promoting the cause globally, given the strategic importance of the Arab region.
 In light of these changes and the positions and issues adopted by the First National Meeting of Solidarity with the Palestinian people in Brazil, the Palestinian National Committee of the WSF calls on all organizations, movements and networks to join this historic forum as an expression of solidarity with the rights of the Palestinian people and with our struggle to develop mechanisms to hold Israel accountable for its crimes and violations of international law. We also call on the WSF and social movements around the world to intensify their grassroots struggles and their pressure to affect real changes in official policies through:
 1)        Defending the right of the Palestinian people to resist Israel’s occupation and apartheid in order to realize the right of return and exercise self-determination, including the establishment of an independent, sovereign national state, in accordance with UN resolutions.
 2)        Strengthening and expanding involvement in the global, Palestinian-led campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel as one of the most important forms of solidarity with our people and their rights; BDS encompasses boycotts of and divestments from Israeli and international companies that are complicit in Israeli violations of international law, as well as academic and cultural boycotts of Israeli institutions that are partners in occupation and apartheid.
 3)        Holding world states, collectively and individually, responsible for the international protection of Palestinian refugees in their respective territories, until they can exercise their UN-sanctioned right to return to their homes of origin, and compelling Israel to recognize the right of return and reparations for refugees, to enable its enforcement, and to stop its policy of ongoing ethnic cleansing against Palestinians on both sides of the "Green Line"
 4)        Defending the rights of our people in occupied Jerusalem and countering what a UN official termed "a strategy of Judaisation" which is manifested in land expropriation, systematic expulsion of Palestinians from their neighborhoods, violation of freedom of worship, relentless attacks on Christian and Islamic holy sites, and distortion of history, among other crimes
 5)        Intensifying the struggle to lift the Israeli siege -- in all its forms -- imposed on our people in the occupied Gaza Strip and considering solidarity with Gaza a high priority; this calls for determined campaigns of solidarity with our people in Gaza and for holding Israel legally accountable before international tribunals
 6)        Upholding the inalienable rights of Palestinians with Israeli citizenship as part of the indigenous people of Palestine, with sovereignty over their land, and supporting their struggle to end Israeli apartheid with all its racist laws and regulations, realize their national and civic rights, whether individual or collective, and counter Israel’s systematic policies of ethnic cleansing, land expropriation, house demolitions, especially in the Naqab (Negev), and racial discrimination in education, health and infrastructure projects
 7)        Supporting and strengthening the struggle for the release of Palestinian prisoners  and detainees who are languishing in Israeli prisons for their involvement in the Palestinian national liberation struggle and recognizing their status as prisoners of war and freedom fighters. In this context, we emphasize the need to secure the immediate and unconditional release, as a matter of top priority, of sick, elderly, child and women prisoners as well as administrative detainees, and the release of 27 parliamentarians who were kidnapped by the occupation authorities in clear violation of international law, as well as banning and criminalizing the policy of solitary confinement and administrative detention.
 8)        Pressuring world governments to fulfill their legal obligations, as stipulated in the decision of the International Court of Justice against Israel’s wall that is illegally built on occupied Palestinian territory, by applying pressure, in turn, on the Israeli government to dismantle the "wall of shame," which is expected to reach about 800 km in length, and which has inflicted grave injustice and a new wave of ethnic cleansing on the Palestinian people, and urging them to reject and condemn the US administration’s use of its Veto at the UNSC against stopping the Israeli colonization of the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
 9)        Upholding the right of the Palestinian people to sovereignty over its natural resources (especially land and water) and to food sovereignty, to ensure the return to peasants, workers, fishermen and Bedouin communities of the lands and rights that Israel has deprived them of
 10)    Making the WSF Free Palestine a platform for building BDS strategies against Israel and in particular for ending free trade agreements between Israel and other countries or groups of countries (such as the European Union, Mercosur, etc.), given Israel’s violations of international law and its regime of oppression against the Palestinian people which constitutes occupation, colonization and apartheid. FTAs allow Israel to normalize its oppression and to export products of its colonies that are illegally built on Arab and Palestinian territories in Gaza, the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and the Golan Heights
 11)    Campaigning for a comprehensive military embargo on Israel, including the cessation of contracts for the purchase of weapons, equipment, and military services of all kinds (especially aircraft and unmanned vehicles and security systems) which Israel exports and depends on their revenues to sustain its occupation and oppression of our people; moreover, military trade with Israel feeds the US military industry which profits from killing thousands and oppressing millions of people around the world
 12)    In parallel with pressure to bring about Israel's compliance with international law, supporting and promoting cooperation for the implementation of realistic economic, social, cultural and athletic development projects for the Palestinians, and providing financial and material support to improve living and work conditions and therefore enhance the steadfastness of the Palestinians in the face of Israeli attempts to uproot them
 13)    Recognizing and supporting the struggle of anti-Zionist Jews everywhere, particularly those who stand on principle with the Palestinian people against Israel’s occupation and apartheid, by supporting their progressive and democratic political and social forces that are subjected to repression due to their anti-colonial stance and advocacy and defense of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people
 14)    Supporting Palestinian popular resistance against the Israeli occupation and oppression as a leading form of resistance that can contribute to changing the balance of local and international power to the benefit of our people, and promoting visits by international solidarity groups to occupied Palestine.
 15)    Activating the role of the media in exposing Israel’s colonial and racist policies and practices and launching effective public information campaigns for this purpose

 The application of the aforementioned political, legal and ethical principles would effectively contribute to ending Israel’s impunity and enhancing its accountability for all the crimes it has committed against our people. This, in turn, would provide the Palestinian people with the highest forms of tangible, effective and sustainable support so as to achieve all our internationally-recognized rights, especially the right of return, self-determination, independence and national sovereignty.

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