The World Social Forum Free Palestine (WSFFP) took place in Porto Alegre, Brazil, at exactly the moment that Palestine was on the front page of every newspaper around the world. The United Nations had just voted (138-9) to grant Palestinians limited statehood observer status at the United Nations. Meanwhile, people in Gaza had also just survived another brutal Israeli onslaught.
Despite our grief and rage at the latest attack on Gaza, the perseverance of the Palestinian people continues to be an inspiration. As has been true for almost a century, Palestine and the Palestinian people are in the stranglehold of a global negotiation for power and resources. And now, popular movements and uprisings throughout the region threaten the colonial hold of US, Europe,Israel and its collaborators with struggles against repression and mass exploitation of resources, land and people and for basic survival and freedom. In Syria, the death toll has risen to an estimated 40,000-57,000 over the past two-years as people’s fights against repression are suffocated and infiltrated by the interests of these same forces.
Within this context, the collaboration of the Palestinian Authority with aspects of the occupation and occupying forces is increasingly exposed. International Palestinian dissent and opposition is growing in response to the compromise of attempted, limited statehood status in the United Nations, Abbas’ denial of his right to return to his village of origin, and the abuse of Palestinians by the security agencies operated by the Palestinian Authority such as was recently exposed in a report by the Arab Organisation for Human Rights in the UK.
In the words of the Palestinian Youth Movement: “Yesterday Palestine was recognized as a nonmember observer state in the United Nations, some Palestinian voices remind us that this “victory” tastes more like a bitter defeat….It was hailed to be a new step in our people’s long march towards achieving our political ambitions. However, we must pause and consider, what are these ambitions? And how does this step serve our national project?… We reaffirm that the only path that we are concerned with is the path that explicitly heads towards the liberation of our land and the return of our people to Palestine…All Palestine.”
Israel’s occupation and attempted ethnic cleansing of Palestine is part-and-parcel of the struggle for power playing out in the entire region. Israel also plays an enormous role in the export of weapons, technologies, training, and techniques of violence for use by governments and corporations against populations around the world – its expertise having been developed through its occupation of Palestine and parts of Lebanon, Syria and Egypt as well as its repression of and military aggression against the people living there. IJAN is working to use the exposé, Israel’s Worldwide Role in Repression, and related popular tribunals to publicize this information and contribute to our on-going movements for justice and liberation.