Muhammad Jaradat

On 9 July, the first anniversary of the ICJ advisory opinion on Israel’s illegal Wall in the OPT, over 170 Palestinian civil society issued their joint Call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel. Endorsing organizations reflect the three integral parts of the Palestinian people: Palestinian refugees, Palestinians under occupation, and Palestinian citizens of Israel.

What do the Palestinian people really want? Foreign visitors and partners of Palestinian NGOs often ask this question. The 'Palestinian Civil Society Call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel' provides the answer. Is the solidarity movement and partners in the northern hemisphere ready to engage?

Visitors and partners of Palestinian NGOs who visit the region say that they often leave with the impression that Palestinian civil society has a multiplicity of agenda. Different and contradictory messages are sent not only by the Palestinian Authority and civil society, but even by civil society organizations themselves.

The 56th anniversary of the Nakba was marked by a substantial increase in quality and quantity of activities, despite hard conditions and insecurity on both sides of the ‘Green Line’. Palestinian communities on both sides of the line are facing systematic Israeli state discrimination and military oppression. As a result of active community organizing, the memorial became the most visible event of this kind ever taking place in the 1967 occupied Palestinian territories.

The siege imposed on Yasir Arafat, Chairman of the PLO and the elected President of the Palestinian Authority (PA) does not aim merely to isolate Arafat; it is a war against the legitimate leadership of the Palestinian people and the Palestinian national movement. It aims to weaken the spirit and morale of the Palestinian people until they kneel and accept a solution imposed by Israel and the United States. Under this imposed solution Palestinians are supposed to act as a bridge for normalization between Zionist Israel and the Arab world.

 Popular Organizing Re-launched in the West Bank:

Towards Right-of-Return Coordination and Refugee Community Participation

The all-out war declared by the Israeli occupation against Palestinian civil society, the loss of freedom of movement, the occupation of Iraq and the take-over of Baghdad – a symbol of Arab heritage and culture – by the US-UK coalition forces have had a devastating affect on the Palestinian public mood and spirit.

The drop of popular morale was heavily felt in the month of April during the annual commemoration of the 1948 Deir Yassin massacre. For the past 55 years, this has been the time of the year when preparations are launched for the annual commemoration of the Palestinian Nakba. Not so in 2003. Talking with activists and refugee community organizations about plans for Nakba memorials was like speaking from a different planet.

When the first news came from Tunis and Tel-Aviv in early September 1993 about the secret talks between the PLO and the Israeli government, the people of Palestine inside and in the exile were torn between enthusiasm and optimism on the one hand, and doubt and skepticism on the other. “Let’s wait and see”, said many then.

The situation of uncertainty did not last long. A week later, the secret Oslo talks were revealed and we learned that the parties had concluded the talks with a Declaration of Principles that was to pave the way for final status negotiations on the fundamental rights of the Palestinian people, i.e. the agreement which became known as the Oslo Agreement or the Declaration of Principles.