Date: 30 Jun 2021
On the first day of the Palestinian Cause Forum
Collectively, affirm the necessity of employing legal tools and uniting ranks to protect the rights of the Palestinians
Occupied Palestine / Gaza: The first day of the Palestinian Cause Forum, which discusses options for protecting Palestinian rights, organized by the International Commission to Support Palestinians’ Rights (ICSPR), and the Palestinian Democratic Forum in Europe, with the participation of an elite group of representatives of civil society organizations, jurists, representatives of political forces, community, youth and feminist leaders, activists in solidarity with the Palestinian people from different countries of the world.
On the first day, participants affirmed the need to work out new approaches for the Palestinians that allow them to take into account regional and international changes by agreeing on a political program and a strategy based on activating popular and diplomatic resistance.
They also recommended that no contradiction be made between the one- or two-state solution, the continuation of the struggle will continue until the right to self-determination is reached, the legal tools are employed, the Palestinian division is ended, the Palestinian ranks are united, and the conditions conducive to the holding of Palestinian elections are created.
The meeting was opened by Dr. Salah Abdel-Ati, head of the International Commission (ICSPR), welcomed the guests, and stressed the importance of this meeting, which deals with regional and international variables of the Palestinian issue, as it comes at a sensitive time for the Palestinian issue.
He indicated that this meeting is the first joint cooperation with the Palestinian Democratic Forum in Europe, with great participation from various countries of the world, in order to emphasize the need to claim Palestinian national rights.
The first session was moderated by Hamdan Al-Dumairi, Head of the Palestinian Community in Belgium and coordinator of the Palestinian Democratic Forum, welcomed the participants of the meeting, where it was held through Zoom.
Alexis Deswaef, Vice President of the International Federation for Human Rights, spoke about the importance of the legal aspect regarding the Palestinian cause, indicating that any problem, especially those related to wars and attacks, is dealt with through the law.
He indicated that if the international system was more just, the Palestinian issue would not have reached this point, the international court should work to end the occupation and restore rights to the vulnerable, explaining that the International Tribunal is the best place for the Palestinian people, as it must prove that it is able to defend the rights of the vulnerable.
Deswaef emphasized the great responsibility of the European Union to activate and respect international law, which will help end the Israeli occupation, annexation and revive many Palestinian issues.
Pierre Galand, President of the Belgian-Palestinian Association and a former member of the Belgian Senate, said: “From the beginning it was clear that Israel was seeking to displace the Palestinian people from their land to take over, indicating that the Israeli practices are more than just apartheid, they are ethnic practices.”
He stated that solidarity is a humanitarian act, and we must all show solidarity with the Palestinian people, noting the importance of boycotting to maximize the behavior of the Palestinian people, and the importance of pushing civil society to boycott Israel.
Gallo clarified that there are several solidarity movements with the Palestinian people, but the Arab world is divided, so we need to know who our enemy is, and strengthen the BDS movement, as there are those who seek to eliminate it, and we must prevent that.
Luisa Morgantini, Former vice president of the European Parliament and an activist in solidarity with Palestine, opened her speech by apologizing to the Palestinian people, saying: “I apologize for the 100 years that have passed, because we are unable to end the Israeli occupation and stop its practices towards the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and the diaspora.”
She indicated that the responsibility is not only the responsibility of the European Union, it is the responsibility of the entire Arab world, noting that one of the European Union’s failures is its inability to stop the occupation practices against the Palestinian people.
Morgantini stated that what is required of the European Union, with the rise of the right, is to put pressure on parliaments to bind Israel to agreements, stop cooperation agreements with it, bring the Palestinian issue back to the fore, the Palestinians must unite, and civil society institutions must also be united, especially during the next election period.
Pierre Stambul, Representative of the French-Jewish Union for Peace, an anti-Zionism organization and a member of the BDS movement, said: “The balance of power is unbalanced. Israel has American support, European complicity, and currently, there is an official Arab alliance in favor of Israel.”
He indicated that European politicians and parliamentarians are aware of what is happening in Palestine in terms of arrests, seizures, killing and building settlements. But their complicit position pushes them to drag the Palestinian cause towards the Oslo agreement.
Stambul stated that there is a dangerous phenomenon, which is the process of describing solidarity movements as anti-Semitism, as we are working to confront and thwart it, indicating that they aim to confront the Zionist entity and state, not the Jews.
He continued, saying, “There are many Arab and Palestinian youth who participate with the Jews in the BDS movement. This reflects the fact that the Zionist entity is one thing and Judaism is another, stressing the need to boycott Israel at the economic level, unions, education, technology and others.”
Jan Fermon, Secretary-General of the International Organization of Democratic Jurists, emphasized that the legal struggle against the Israeli occupation is an important source of strength on the ground, pointing to the importance of continuing to defend the Palestinian cause, with the need to focus on the moral dimension that encourages all peoples to defend their rights. He called for the need to search for ways and tools to support the Palestinian cause, stressing the necessity of using all means and pressures to deal according to right, law and justice.
Fermon clarified that Palestinian institutions have become very active by giving the International Criminal Court reports and evidence to maximize the court’s role in defending the Palestinian cause, which has helped to change the court’s view, stressing the importance of protecting the institutions defending the Palestinian’s rights, because there is a criminalization process for these institutions and for the boycott movement. Therefore, legal professionals are required to conduct campaigns to support these institutions.
Mark Botenga, Member of the European Parliament, stressed the importance of the European Union’s role to the Palestinian cause. Therefore, it is necessary to support the boycott movement, but this depends largely on how the issue is presented.
He indicated that there is an alliance between the poles of power in the European Parliament, but what’s very important and influential is the resistance of the Palestinian people on the ground, because it is the main engine, which will create change in Parliament.
The second session, on the first day of the Palestinian Cause Forum, was moderated by Salah Zaqout, President of the Arab House in Ukraine, welcoming the attendees to the forum.
Dr. Khaled Al-Sufyani, General Coordinator of the Islamic National Conference – Morocco, said that the Palestinian cause suffers from collusion with the aim of liquidating it by the Israeli occupation and its aides, and a number of Arab countries in what is known as normalization.
He mentioned that the American variable and the victory of Joe Biden is not a fundamental variable, since the American administrations are proceeding according to one strategy, stressing the necessity of confronting liquidation and Arab normalization by all means before it becomes popular normalization.
While Dr. Ibrahim Hegazy, Researcher and member of the Scientific Council of the Amman Center for Human Rights Studies: “The Israeli occupation is an isolated case, because the occupation seeks to uproot the Palestinian people from their land and history through apartheid.”
He indicated that the West works short-sightedly, with the aim of obstructing Arab unity for expansionary occupation projects, indicating that the liquidation of the Palestinian issue is one of the episodes of judaizing the Arab region. Therefore, vigilance is required before it is too late, and for the dominant States to re-dismantle and structure the Arab region, making the occupation the first influential state in the region, which requires a unified Arab understanding and strategy.
Hegazy emphasized that the current challenges require strengthening Palestinian national unity, on the basis of a national program and a deep understanding of the challenges.
Dr. Jamal Wakim, Professor of History and International Relations at the Lebanese University, said: “The Palestinian issue is the focus of the Palestinian and international liberation movement, indicating that the slogan of a complete restoration of Palestinian soil from the sea to the river must be emphasized, away from fragmentation.”
He emphasized that Palestinian unity and an end to the Palestinian division is an accomplished slogan to reinforce the Palestinian national decision.
While Dr. Shahrazad Al-Radwani, Professor of sociology at Tunisian universities and a political activist in civil society, said that Abraham’s document between the UAE and the Israeli occupation went beyond the peace agreements between the occupation, Egypt and Jordan, as it violated Palestinian national rights, noting that the Arab League punished Egypt because of the Camp David agreement.
And she continued: “Today, the university no longer has any positive role towards the free normalization of the UAE, noting that the rise of political Islam contributed to the acceleration of the emergence of direct normalization, noting that the new US administration will not change the path of unilateral peace with the Arab countries and the Israeli entity.”
Al-Radwani called for the need to unify the official Palestinian efforts, review the experience, and set the unified action map on the basis of joint national action, taking into account the change of regional forces, and the call to intensify the role of Palestinian civil society in the field of exposing, isolating and boycotting the occupation in various international arenas, and working actively with international courts in terms of activating the path of holding the occupation accountable for its crimes, and the important role that the Arab peoples should play in supporting the Palestinian cause.