Upcoming conference: “A just peace for Palestine” India, 22-23Sep10 September 13, 2010

Global BDS Movement

At the India International Centre Auditorium, New Delhi, India, September 22nd – 23rd, 2010

Israel’s attack on the Freedom Flotilla on 31 May 2010, in light of its deadly siege on Gaza, was an urgent call to the international community to force Israel to comply with its obligations under international law. Israel’s latest atrocities must be seen in the context of decades of Israeli impunity, and ongoing Israeli policies of the Judaization of Jerusalem, the ethnic cleaning in the Naqab (Negev), the continued construction of settlements and the Wall. The international community’s response to the attacks through storms of protests and boycott, divestment and sanctions initiatives has sent a strong message. In light of Israel’s complete disregard of humanitarian law and international appeals, international civil society must undertake the task of holding Israel accountable for its egregious acts of violence and violations of law.

Israel’s Flotilla Massacre has been met with international sanctions including Nicaragua’s suspension of diplomatic relations with Israel; South Africa and Turkey recalling their respective ambassadors from Tel Aviv, as well as a unanimous call in the Turkish parliament to “revise the political, military and economic relations with Israel” and to “seek justice against Israel through national and international legal authorities.” Further, Norway’s minister of education and head of the Socialist Left party, Kristin Halvorsen, reconfirmed Norway’s arms ban on Israel and called all other states to “follow the Norwegian position which excludes trading arms with Israel.”

Whereas the unconditional support given to Israel over the decades by the international community to protect it from being held accountable, or indeed criticized, is showing cracks, the US government has refused to condemn Israel’s lethal attack on the Freedom Flotilla. Instead, the US renewed its support for Israel’s policies through President Obama’s pledge to give $30 billion in military aid to Israel over the next 10 years. The Indian government, which had a tradition of support for the Palestinian people’s rights, issued a statement of condemnation of Israel’s ‘indiscriminate use of force,’ but being Israel’s biggest military buyer, it has taken no decision to review its arms trade with Israel.

What can people of conscience, those believing in peace and justice, do about this burning issue? How can we stand in solidarity with the people of Palestine? Can the people of India stand together to pressure our government to act in line with the principles on which we founded our own independence from colonialism? How can we as people – and movements from across Asia – work together and join hands with solidarity action worldwide to hold Israel accountable for its violations of Palestinians’ rights?

In cooperation with the Palestinian Boycott Divestments Sanctions National Committee (BNC), a group of Indian activists and intellectuals initiated a conference on the issue of Palestine, in New Delhi, on September 22nd-23rd. The conference seeks to mobilize all those involved in people’s movements for a just and equitable world across India and the region to collectively work and build a solidarity campaign for the liberation of Palestinian lands from Israeli occupation, self-determination and equality for all Palestinians and the right of return of Palestinian refugees.

India, and the region, has historically played a key role in garnering international support for Palestine, the South African anti-apartheid struggle and other anti-colonial struggles. We believe that countries representing the non-aligned movement, with their proud de-colonisation history, should once again play a key role in the struggle for justice and against Israel’s occupation, colonization, and apartheid policies.

The Conference aims to mobilize activists in people’s movements around Palestinian rights, develop an effective strategy for solidarity with Palestine, connect to policy makers and activists in the region, to inform the people about the current situation in Palestine, and to build and strengthen campaigns targeting companies and institutions that are complicit in Israel’s occupation, colonization and apartheid policies.

Participating in the conference will be a number of prominent activists including Father Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann , former President of the 63rd session of the United Nations General Assembly, Mustafa Barghouti , Member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, and Chairman of the Palestinian National Initiative and Candidate for the Presidency of Palestinian Authority in 2005, Richard Falk , Professor Emeritus of International Law at Princeton University and United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the Occupied Palestine Territories, Jamal Zahalka , Knesset Member , Ilan Pappe , Professor of History at the University of Exeter UK and former Chair of the Emil Touma Institute for Palestinian and Israeli Studies in Haifa, Walden Bello , Member, Philippines’ House of Representatives and Chair of Akbayan, Lisa Taraki , Professor of Sociology at Birzeit University and founding member of the Palestinian Campaign for Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI), Jamal Juma’a , coordinator of the Stop the Wall Campaign, and member of the BNC Steering Committee.

Many other distinguished participants from occupied Palestine, and other Asian countries will be attending the conference, in addition to activists from the region.

We call upon all activists and people of conscience committed to building a united and broad-based campaign for the freedom of Palestine to be part of the deliberations of this important conference.

In solidarity,

Organizing Committee Kamal Mitra Chenoy, Meena Menon, Seema Mustafa, Prabir Purkayastha, Mohan Rao

Programme Committee

Aijaz Ahmed, Subhashini Ali, Hind Awwad, Walden Bello, Uma Chakravarthy, Farida Khan, B.R. Muthu Kumar, Saeed Mirza, Manoranjan Mohanty, Prabhat Patnaik, S.P.Shukla, Lisa Taraki, Farooq Tariq, Achin Vanaik, Hanin Zoabi

Contact details:c/o Centre for Policy Analysis, E-1, 2nd Floor, Green Park Extension, New Delhi – 110016, Ph: – + 91 -11-26525916. E-mail:- cpa.cpadel@gmail.com

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