Palestine to Latin America: United against repression and for justice
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Palestine to Latin America: United against repression and for justice

A letter from Palestine to the participants at the World Social Forum of the Americas and also the Assembly of Social Movements was read on Sunday morning by Nalu Faria, member of the World March of Women, and received the applause from representatives and organizations from around the continent.

The letter was written by organizations in occupied Palestine, who were unable to reach Asuncion, Paraguay, but contributed in this form at the proceedings of the Social Forum of the Americas. They called for Latin American solidarity against the participation of former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, who had been appointed vice-president of the UN Panel to investigate Israeli attacks against the Gaza Flotilla.

“Massacres, enforced disappearances, forced displacement and other grave international crimes have been documented by the United Nations in Colombia under Uribe’s presidency”, the statement said.

The organizations called upon the organizations participating at the Forum in Asuncion not only to denounce the UN Committee, but to instead develop their own forms of struggle against Israeli apartheid and to join the movement for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel until it respects international law.

This is not the first time that organizations from occupied Palestine find ways of breaking the siege and travel prohibitions imposed by the occupation and participate from a distance at the World Social Forum events.

In January, the leader of the organization Stop the Wall, Jamal Juma, was invited to speak at the seminar “10 Years of the WSF” in Porto Alegre (Brazil), but could not be present because he was arrested by Israel and released after much international pressure only on the eve of the event. Via internet, Juma’ was present on a video screen that broadcasted his message from Palestine to the WSF.

In May, in Mexico City, participants gathered for the Thematic Social Forum and the meeting of the WSF International Council, and met with activists from Palestine through the Mexico Expanded Programme, also with the use of audiovisual and Internet resources.

The World Education Forum in Palestine, scheduled to take place October 28-31, will be an important moment for breaking distances and the silence imposed on Palestine by the occupation. It will be held simultaneously in Ramallah, Haifa, Gaza, Jerusalem and also in Beirut, Lebanon. Organizations from around the world are called to participate in the events in Palestine and Lebanon or to connect events organized locally in their countries with the WEF via the WEF Expanded possibilities.

Occupied Palestine, August 14, 2010

Dear comrades gathered at the Social Movement Assembly,

Unfortunately, none of us were able to be with you at the Americas Social Forum. However, as the organizing committee of the World Social Forum in Palestine we wish to express our solidarity with the struggles of the people in Latin America for social and political justice. We are inspired by your struggles and hope this Forum has given a new impetus to your movements.

We hope that in your calls, plans and deliberations you strengthen once again the solidarity with Palestine based on the Palestinian united call for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) of Israel. BDS is the way people, organizations and governments can hold Israel accountable for its crimes due to the international community’s inability to do so.

The United Nations has shown once again that it is powerless to fulfil its mandate to maintain peace in the world. Only two weeks ago, the Secretary General Ban Ki Moon appointed a Panel of Inquiry into the assault of the Gaza Flotilla and the killing of nine activists in international waters by the Israeli navy in order to sideline other international attempts to establish truth and justice. The vice-chair of this Panel is nobody but the former president of Colombia, Alvaro Uribe.

The appointment of Alvaro Uribe to lead a probe into Israel’s human rights abuses is grotesque. Colombia has just experienced eight of the most terrible years of her sad story under his presidency. At least 2,000 civilians have been murdered by government troops. Massacres, enforced disappearances, forced displacement and other grave international crimes have been documented by the United Nations in Colombia under Uribe’s presidency. In addition, Uribe has waged a vicious attack against human rights defenders and others who have sought to bring accountability to his government for its involvement in human rights violations. Uribe and armed forces have learned many of these techniques directly from their Israeli counterparts. Colombia employs former Israeli intelligence experts as mercenaries to fight against its people and is one of the largest recipients of Israeli arms. In 2007, the American Jewish Committee presented Uribe with its “Light unto the Nations” Award.

The United Nations’ appointment of the ex-president of Colombia – the ‘Israel of Latin America’, the US stronghold in the region – to hold Israel accountable for its crimes, further erodes its credibility: it undermines the struggles in Palestine as well as in Colombia.

We call on the social movements gathered in the Social Movements Assembly of the IV Americas Social Forum:
• to denounce the formation of this Panel of Inquiry and in particular the appointments Alvaro Uribe
• to struggle together with us for an end to Israeli crimes and apartheid policies
• to build a movement for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) to stop Israel’s the economic, military and political encroachment in Latin America, a regime which has historically sided with and aided dictatorships, military coups and crimes against the people in the region.

Palestinian organizing committee of the World Social Forum in Palestine