From March 24th to 27th 2005, the third Cairo Conference took place under the title: âWith the resistance in Palestine and Iraq against Globalization, Imperialism and Zionismâ. The gathering this year was marked by the changing atmosphere in Egypt, in which President Mubarak is under attack from an increasingly popular opposition movement. Up to 1000 participants were drawn from Egypt, the Arab world, together with global movements. In total over 30 countries were represented. Advocates of the resistance movements, and civil society in Palestine and Iraq, were invited and called to give their contributions.
The Egyptian organizing committee, represented by left-wing and Islamic groups, put together a programme of plenaries, workshops and cultural events to facilitate analysis, exchange experiences of struggle, and to explore action and coordination on national, regional and global levels.
The discussion was based on a clear understanding of the intimate link between the occupation in Iraq and Israeli occupation, colonization and ethnic cleansing in Palestine. Both were perceived as key moments within an imperialist project to dominate the Arab world. Zionism was considered as the main instrument of implementation for this project.
Arab delegates highlighted the necessity to struggle against internal tyranny, in order to fight effectively against foreign supremacy and the Israeli-US âGreater Middle Eastâ project. The Egyptian experiences of growing street protests against the US and Zionist projects and crimes, often held in the face of severe internal repression, revealed important examples of this strategy. Furthermore, workers struggles against the QUIZ (Qualified Industrial Zones) are growing at a similar pace.
The QUIZ agreement allows Egyptian textile companies to maintain access to the US market by importing Israeli raw material or equipment, forming part of the overall attempt to break the (relative) Israeli isolation in the Arab world. This comes at the very time at which global movements are uniting to stop international support for Apartheid Israel. In response, popular campaigns have been launched on this issue. Blacklists featuring the companies participating in this agreement have been circulated, and legal cases are about to be deployed to declare the agreement anti-constitutional.
The three days of exchange and discussion among Arab and global movements has provided the opportunity for the Movement against Israeli Apartheid to grow, and develop strategies and tactics of resistance. The workshop âIsolating Israeli Apartheid: Analysis and Actionâ, organized by the Movement against Israeli Apartheid, discussed Zionist apartheid practices and ideology, forming the impetus for the road ahead in the final strategy meeting of the conference. Actions are being coordinated around the upcoming G8 protests in Scotland this spring, and effective implementation of sports and cultural boycotts as actions that can give immediate visibility to the call all to isolate Israeli apartheid. Together with sanctions and other forms of economic and political isolation, these measures highlight the paths of global solidarity with the Palestinian struggle, which can only come to an end with the defeat of Zionism, the ending of the Occupation, and the destruction of the Apartheid Wall. (For more information, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org.)