Subject: Concluding statement of The Welcome to Palestine Campaign April 2012
(and below that some links to relevant issues)
The concluding conference for the Welcome to Palestine campaign was small because most of our friends were denied the opportunity to visit us. Most have been denied their right to board airplanes and to come visit this tormented land and others still languished in Israeli prison after being kidnapped at an Israeli airport.
While waiting to gather, activists watched a segment of the film "Road map to Apartheid". Then the conference opened with a moment of silence in honor of all those who lost their lives in the struggle for freedom. We then mentioned our International friends who are on hunger strike in Israeli jails in solidarity with thousands of Palestinian prisoners who went on hunger strike starting Wednesday April 17. International prisoners decided to go on hunger strike in solidarity. May 1 was declared a day of strikes and solidarity with political prisoners. We showed a PowerPoint presentation depicting the origins and evolution of the WTP Campaign from December 2010 (70 people) to July 2011 (700 people answered the call) and details of the latest campaign (1500 people answered the call).
We described the current campaign including the call from two dozen Palestinian groups, how hundreds from around the world answered the call, how the Israeli government reacted hysterically and made several mistakes and several attempts to defame us, infiltrate us, harass us etc, the collusion of some airlines and European governments with the policies of apartheid and occupation, images and video of events from airports around the world, what happened at the local airport (peaceful individuals trying to show a welcoming smile met with brutality while right wing fanatics allowed to continue). We showed slides of the peaceful activities done by those 22 individuals who did manage to get through because they were not asked their destination or because they came in different circumstances. They helped prepare a school interior, spent time talking to refugee children, visited the apartheid wall, and witnessed the ethnic cleansing in Jerusalem. They made lifelong friends.
We remembered martyred international peace activists who came to Palestine: Rachel Corrie, Vittorio Arrigoni, Tom Hurndall and others.
Our moderator then introduced Daniel, a French citizen whose story made it to Haaretz before he actually came here. He arrived early morning hours of April 16 without his comrades, who were denied boarding or were deported or still treated as criminals in Givon jail. This young man, paralyzed and in a wheelchair has a master's degree and is a smart and determined person. He told of how he knew of the injustice here against the native people but did not realize how bad it is until he saw it with his own eyes in places like Hebron, Jerusalem, and the Jordan valley.
We proceeded with workshops that dealt with issues like media strategies (keeping the focus etc), social networking, role of Israeli activists in the struggle, how to improve participation, the Kairos document, legal proceedings locally and abroad, and more. We also discussed possible options for future plans. Discussions continued in a nearby café.
Throughout this work, we reminded ourselves that the ultimate goal is not only freedom of movement and the right to visitation (even prisoners are entitled to receive visitors) but freedom in all its forms for Palestine. Activists are committed to pursue future campaigns and more discussions are planned in the next two weeks leading to more concrete programs. As always in activist work, most of the work is done by few dedicated individuals but as a famous activist once said "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.” Those committed citizens, Palestinians and internationals will continue.
Palestinians throughout historic Palestine and in exile believe in and work for peace based on justice and trust that with the help of the international community we will achieve this and restore the values and principles that we share as human beings. We believe in global popular resistance as a method to achieve implementation of International Law and Human Rights especially where governments fail to act. We believe that every single one of us is a change maker, and nobody has the right to deny access to suffering populations.
The Welcome to Palestine campaign thanks its participating groups, thanks its local and international volunteers, thanks the visitors who booked tickets and all who mobilized in many countries to make this campaign a success. We will continue to work for freedom for Palestinians which will invariably mean freedom for Israelis. Come join us. To volunteer, please email email@example.com
Welcome to Palestine 2012 Campaign websites
Welcome to Israel: Where protesting racism is dangerous by Mya Guarnieri
Internationals accompanying gaza Fisherman under attack
04/the-siege-in-the-sea- accompanying-gazas-fishermen- under-attack-by-the-israeli- navy/
"60 Minutes" was attacked by Israel for doing a story about us Palestinian Christians even before they aired the story. This shows how much they are paranoid of any truths/exposure. The story actually had lots of errors in it as for example when Bob Simon claimed the wall was about security and that it cut down suicide bombings (blatant lies). http://www.cbsnews.com/
Action: Tell your story of being locked up and prevented from entering Palestine or exiting it by the fascist apartheid regime in National Geographic