Post-September International Solidarity
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Post-September International Solidarity

Many international activists, organizations and movements are faced with doubts regarding the current debate regarding the initiative for membership of a Palestinian state at the UN and ways forward. Stop the Wall gives answers to some of the most asked questions.

Question: It seems that the initiative to ask for recognition of the state of Palestine as a member of the UN has created much debate among Palestinian people and their organizations. There are voices that say Palestinians have lost another occasion to show unity.

Stop the Wall: Yes, there has been a serious debate regarding the initiative to ask membership of the state of Palestine at the United Nations. Different positions have been taken. Each position came as a result of different political, economic or legal analysis or interests. There are many different positions and opinions and the debate hasn't stopped since Abu Mazen announced this step one year ago or in recent weeks when the issue began to receive wider attention. It is clear that this step will have an impact, whether the United Nations will vote in favour of the request or not.

This debate involves all levels and kind of people involved with the Palestinian issue. From the highest political officialdom to the grassroots, everybody is discussing the issue. Locally as well as around the globe, Palestinians and international activists are voicing their opinions.

Many respected figures from all walks of life have compiled analysis pieces to contribute to the debate. Some showed possible positive effects, while others negative, of this initiative in the case that it becomes successful.

I do believe that this debate enriches the whole Palestinian national movement and puts on the table different crucial issues related to the Palestinian movement and our rights. It also helps us in developing a more strategic vision for the day after the initiative, whether it succeeds or fails. I therefore deeply appreciate this debate.

Question: What is the position of Stop the Wall regarding this initiative?

Stop the Wall: Stop The Wall Campaign, and other Palestinian organizations involved in our national movement have raised their concerns. Stop the Wall has clearly argued that it is unable to support the initiative as long as our leadership does not respect the necessity not only to monitor and argue critical issues about the ongoing debate but to actually to respond to the concerns by creating effective transparency and participation.

Arguments such as those from the Palestinian National Committee (BNC) underlined the principles that need to be respected in any diplomatic or political initiative, including the bid for UN membership of the Palestinian state. Others fundamentally reject or fully support the initiative. We all tried to bring to the surface our concerns regarding the initiative to raise awareness, both among the Palestinian leadership and the international community. The international community as well as the solidarity movement should respect these different positions. We, as Palestinians, instead have to move ahead and resolve the problems that have come to surface in this debate to ensure that none of our rights are compromised.

If we want to defend human rights, we have to defend all of them for everybody.

Question: How should the international solidarity movement react to this initiative?

Stop the Wall: At international level, there is much noise around the initiative. On the 22nd of September media as well as the world’s decision makers will focus on Palestine. But this particular debate should not be confused with the broader solidarity movement. As said, there are many positions and debates based on the different visions of Palestinians and their organizations and parties about how a just solution and a democratic national movement should look like. However, this is no reason for the solidarity movement to retreat. Exactly the opposite reaction is needed. Solidarity activists should involve themselves in the public discussion, to sustain the debate.

More importantly, they should look beyond the UN bid towards the day after and the continuity of the solidarity movement and its strategies.

First, it is important to underline the importance of ensuring that, beyond formal recognition, Palestinians see practical steps being done towards the implementation of all of their rights, especially if the outcome of the UN bid is accepted. The Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign is the most important strategic tool at the hands of the people as well as governments, which can be used to enforce, protect, and achieve our rights, including the full right to self-determination and the right of return. The recognition of a Palestinian state by governments around the world is only effective if this is a first step towards a policy that takes more practical action to ensure our rights and to hold Israel accountable for the daily violations of our internationally sanctioned rights. The solidarity movement should pressure and lobby their governments to take up measures of divestment and sanctions. Activists in countries that will vote against the UN bid should not be distracted by this in their campaigns for the implementation of boycotts, divestment, and sanctions.

Second, as we all know, the UN bid cannot and will not alter the situation of fundamental rights. These rights are summarized in the Palestinian call for BDS:

  1. Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands occupied in June 1967 and dismantling the Wall;
  2. Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and
  3. Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN Resolution 194.

It is important that the solidarity movement underlines in clear messages these rights and that none of them can be compromised or negotiated. No solution forced upon the Palestinian people will bring an end to our struggle if these rights are not respected and achieved. Any initiative that does not ensure the achievement of these rights, is set to fail.

The Palestine solidarity movement should take the opportunity of the media hunger for information and positions to promote these two issues. Especially media that do not have correspondents in Palestine or alternative media and new media should be a target of the solidarity movement. The Palestinian initiative to the UN should be explained within this framework of analysis. No UN resolution in itself, in the past or the future, can change any reality on ground. BDS is currently the only effective tool to put pressure on Israel to respect our rights.