Final declaration of the International Seminar on Palestine
Declaration by the organizations which promoted the International Seminar in Solidarity with the Palestinian People
By decision of the UN General Assembly, 2014 is the International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. Also by decision of the UN General Assembly, every year, on November 29, there is an International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. The date was chosen in 1977, because on that very same day, in 1947, the UN General Assembly adopted Resolution 181 on the Partition of Palestine, declaring the creation of two States on the historical territory of Palestine. The State of Israel was created the following year, with a unilateral declaration and a planned campaign of violence and terror which brought about a true ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian population. But the promised State of Palestine is, still today, 67 years later, awaiting its materialization.
These have been 67 years of broken promises. Sixty-seven years of barbaric wars, such as the brutal slaughter which Israel unleashed against the population of Gaza in the Summer of this International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, a population which lives under a tight siege, imposed with the complicity of the United States of America and the European Union, and which is denied even the right to flee the Israeli bombings. These have been 67 years of successive expansion of the occupation of Palestinian lands by the Israeli State, whether through war, through illegal settlements on occupied territories, through the shameful Wall of Apartheid in the West Bank. These have been 67 years of violence, death, prisons and torture, of confiscation of land, of destructions of homes, villages, trees and croplands. Sixty-seven years of policies of segregation and discrimination, of theft and plunder of the Palestinian population which has citizenship of the State of Israel. Sixty-seven years of cleansing and destruction of the memory and identity of the Palestinian people, in its diversity of cultural and religious forms. Sixty-seven years of colonization and exploitation of natural resources, in particular water, at the service of the old Zionist ambition of domination and occupation of the entire territory of Palestine. Sixty-seven years in which Israel has discriminated against Palestinian working men and women, namely in their wages, social protection and working conditions, thus depriving them of the most basic labour and social rights and preventing them from living and working with the dignity to which they are entitled. Sixty-seven years of exile and of life in the refugee camps, for millions of Palestinians. Sixty-seven years of impunity of the Israeli occupier and aggressor. And also, 67 years of constant threats to peace in the region, with an aggressive and expansionist policy that was heightened in 1967 with the continuing occupation of Syrian territory in the Golan Heights and of Lebanese territory.
But these have also been 67 years of struggle by the Palestinian people. In these two-thirds of a century, the Palestinian people have resorted to all forms of struggle, from peaceful resistance to the armed struggle, to dialogue and negotiations, in order to see their right to self-determination and independence, their right to a sovereign and viable Palestinian Homeland, in the territory of Palestine, with capital in Jerusalem and with the right of return of the many millions of Palestinians who live in exile throughout the world, as promised by UN resolutions. They even accepted to make important concessions, such as the recognition of the State of Israel within the 1967 borders, as stated in Resolution 242 of the UN Security Council, which meant conceding more Palestinian territory than was envisaged in the original partition plan. But not even then was the promise of a Palestinian State fulfilled. The Palestinian people's resistance has been a heroic and exemplary resistance, but also a dramatic one, having to confront a ruthless and powerful repressive apparatus, which is based on the support and complicity of Western powers, first and foremost, the United States of America. Resistance is, not just the right of any people that are oppressed, trampled upon and humiliated, but a right that is recognized by international law and also by the Constitution of the Portuguese Republic which, in point 3 of its Article 7, expressly states «Portugal recognises peoples’ rights to self-determination and independence and to development, as well
as the right of insurrection against all forms of oppression». This Resistance achieved its greatest successes when it was capable of ensuring the unity of the entire Palestinian people around common and uniting demands.
The violation and disrespect of the numerous UN resolutions on the Palestinian issue, and the non-abidance of all the agreements that were signed throughout the years - even of those in which the Palestinian side made numerous and substantial concessions - are a betrayal against the Palestinian people. It is intolerable to continue with this never-ending farce of eternal "negotiations", where what has been agreed upon is not respected, and with always new and heightened demands, which only seek to perpetuate by other means the occupation and usurpation.
It is up to the Palestinian people to define its goals at each moment, as well as the most adequate forms of struggle to achieve them. It is up to the other peoples of the world to be in active solidarity with the struggle for the inalienable rights of the martyr Palestinian people. A solidarity that does not forget the struggle by many Israelis for peace and for a just solution, having to confront the Zionist policies of the authorities in Israel. A solidarity which was clearly expressed, in Portugal, throughout many decades, with prominence for the big «World Conference in Solidarity with the Arab people and their Central Cause: Palestine» , held in Lisbon 35 years ago, by the initiative of CPPC, from November 2 to 6, 1979, and which brought to Portugal the great leader of the Palestinian people, Yasser Arafat - contributing, in the aftermath of the April 25th Revolution in Portugal, to break down the barriers which ostracized the PLO in Western Europe. Yasser Arafat died, ten years ago this month, for reasons that were never officially clarified, but which are inseparable from the ferocious persecution which the Zionist leaders waged against him, in particular during the final months of his life, when he was the Chairman of the Palestinian Authority, freely elected by the overwhelming majority of his people.
Today, the solidarity with the Palestinian people's struggle in Portugal implies:
• increasingly informing the Portuguese people about the dramatic reality in Palestine and mobilizing an active solidarity, in particular denouncing the crimes, the wars and the violations of rights that are perpetrated by Israel against the Palestinian people;
• demanding the international condemnation of the leaders of the Israeli State, for their crimes against the Palestinian people, namely those committed during the military offensive carried out against the Palestinian population in the Gaza Strip;
• fighting for the liberation of all Palestinian political prisoners held in Israeli jails, among which Marwan Barghouti and Ahmad Sa'adat;
• denouncing all forms of collaboration by the Portuguese State or companies with the Israeli occupation and its crimes, promoting actions of boycott and demanding the disavowal and termination of complicit agreements - such as the Association Agreement between the European Union and Israel;
• demanding that Portuguese governments fulfill their Constitutional obligations and take a clear stand for the Palestinian people's right «to self-determination and independence and to development», and, in particular, to demand the fulfillment of the numerous UN resolutions regarding the rights of the Palestinian people;
• demanding that Portuguese governments use all mechanisms at their disposal in order to achieve these goals, namely through their presence in the structures of the European Union and of the United Nations, including the UN Human Rights Council;
• demanding that the Portuguese Government and Parliament take a clear stance in favour of the recognition of the State of Palestine, a position that has already been taken by the overwhelming majority of countries in the world - many of which for several decades - and which has recently been voted by various Parliaments of European countries.
The organizations that promoted the Seminar in Solidarity with the Palestinian People, held in Almada on November 29, 2014, pledge, before the Portuguese people, their commitment to continue the long and honourable history of solidarity of the Portuguese people with the people of Palestine.
Long live the heroic struggle of the people of Palestine!
Palestine will win!
Almada, November 29, 2014
CGTP-IN - General Confederation of Portuguese Workers - Intersindical Nacional
CPPC - Portuguese Council for Peace and Cooperation
MPPM - Movement for the Rights of the Palestinian People and for Peace in the Middle East
Quinta, 29 Janeiro, 2015 - 21:00