Palestine Solidarity Group, Islamic Association for Palestine, Palestine Aid Society, Al-Awda Magazine, Al-Shoruq Newspaper, Al-Awda Chicago, and the Palestine Community Centre of British Columbia invite all Palestinians in Exile and the Diaspora to attach their names as signatories to the following statement by January 26th, 2005, at 12 A.M. Jerusalem Time. The statement will then be presented for publication in Palestinian, Arab, and other media outlets.
We, the Palestinians in exile and in the Diaspora, being an integral part of the Palestinian people as a whole, send you our greetings and express our solidarity with all the steadfast Palestinians living under the Israeli occupation. We send this appeal to the newly elected leadership of the Palestinian Authority—to let them hear our voices that were ignored by the unfair election laws that neglected the rights of two-thirds of the Palestinian People to participate and vote in these elections.
We reaffirm the unity of all Palestinians within the occupied territories and the Diaspora. The struggle has been one and the pain has been one.
We also affirm our people’s right of return and compensation along with the right to resist the Zionist colonial occupation. Resistance to military occupation is a fundamental right enshrined by various conventions and international laws. At the time when our people continue to show unmatched resistance and struggle for one of the most just causes in the world today, there is a continued effort orchestrated internationally, regionally, and locally to de-legitimize this internationally recognized right. We send this appeal to affirm that this deliberate effort to de-legitimize and distort the resistance, and to blame it for the state of chaos in occupied Palestine, will only benefit the occupier and its allies—whose short- and long-term goals have always been to de-legitimize Palestinian resistance and brand it as terrorism. Therefore, defending the resistance and its legitimacy as a right enshrined by international law is a national as well as humanitarian duty. However, partaking in attacks and distortions of the resistance is equivalent to committing the crime of breaching the international laws that legitimize such resistance and grant the victim the right of self-defense.
We also affirm that the Rights of Return and Compensation for Palestinian refugees and their descendants, as established in international law, are inalienable rights, and the prerequisite for full Palestinian self-determination, freedom, and liberty. The Right of Return is the dream of two-thirds of the Palestinian people, and we strongly reject all initiatives, agreements, and understandings, whether formal or informal, that compromise this right or attempt to liquidate it under the pretext of a "just solution to the refugee problem."
Based on the above, and in adherence to the basic political program of the Palestinian National Movement, we, the undersigned, urge the president and leadership of the Palestinian Authority, to officially and publicly uphold the following:
1) Support of the Palestinian resistance as part of a commitment to the various international treaties and conventions that enshrine the rights of the occupied to resist the occupier.
2) A commitment, with words and deeds, to the Palestinian National Program as agreed upon by consecutive Palestinian National Councils, calling for the Right of Return and Compensation, the Right of Self-Determination, and an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.
3) That the primary objective of all Palestinian institutions inside Palestine is to defend the people of the occupied territories against the aggressive campaign by the occupier to expropriate their land; therefore, there can be no negotiations until Israel ceases all settlement construction, without exception, in accordance with international law, and ceases its campaign of violence and terror against the Palestinian people.
4) That the decision of the International Court of Justice regarding the Israeli Apartheid Wall is an important victory in the hands of the Palestinian people. The Palestinian Authority must make it a priority to build popular and diplomatic international pressure on Israel to unconditionally implement this judgment, as ordered by the Court.
5) The understanding that a sovereign Palestine is at the core of the Palestinian national demands. Therefore, the Palestinian Authority must reject any settlement based on the logic of accepting a "state" with no real sovereignty on some "piece" of Palestinian land.
6) Democratic reforms within the institutions of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) that take into consideration that pluralism among the Palestinian people is a political reality. The talk of national unity is not enough; this has to be translated into an inclusive national dialogue to form a unified national leadership capable of leading the resistance and the negotiations.
7) That the issue of all prisoners, Palestinian and Arab, in Israeli prisons should be at the forefront of any negotiations. Any solution that does not free all prisoners, regardless of their ideological or political affiliation, is not acceptable. We also urge the new leadership to release all prisoners in Palestinian prisons, as ordered by the Palestinian courts.
8) The protection of the Palestinian narrative from distortion. Unfortunately, at a time when our people continue to show unmatched resilience and steadfastness, the official Palestinian line has come to adopt the Israeli version of the Arab-Zionist struggle.
9) An assessment of current and previous phases of the struggle, to learn from our mistakes; hence, there must be no secret negotiation tracks, and any negotiated solution will have to be agreed upon by a referendum in which all Palestinians take part, whether they are inside Palestine, in exile, or in the Diaspora.
At the end of this appeal, we would again like to salute all Palestinians living steadfastly under occupation, send our best wishes to the wounded and the prisoners, and offer our prayers to all the martyrs and their families.
For the Arabic text of the Petition, please check the following link http://www.bangpound.org/petition_ar.html
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