Palestine unites us: Towards the first Palestinian Popular Conference in the US

Palestinians demonstrate in the West Bank city of Nablus against the Israeli shelling of Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip during which at least 20 people were killed, November 8, 2006. (MaanImages/Rami Swidan)

Towards the first Popular Palestinian National Conference in the US:
Declaration of the Cleveland Preparatory Meeting
November 11-12, 2006

We, activists and organizers from the Palestinian community in the US holding diverse organizational affiliations, geographical and political backgrounds, met in Cleveland, Ohio Nov 10-12, 2006 in follow up to the initial meeting held in Detroit on June 23, 2006.

We express grave concerns about a) the recent escalation of massacres and other war crimes committed in Beit Hannoun and other areas of occupied Palestine, b) the plight of Palestinian refugees in Iraq as well as the suffering of all people in Iraq under US/British occupation, c) the recent atrocities committed by Israel in Lebanon, and d) the US government veto of yet another UN Security Council that attempted to hold Israel accountable for persistent severe Human Rights violations, war crimes, and crimes against humanity.

In these historic times, we reiterate our commitments to affirm our Palestinian narrative and assert our rights to: — Self-determination and equality for all Palestinians — Return of the Palestinian refugees to their original homes, lands, properties and villages (a natural right supported by international law and UN Resolution 194) — End of Zionist occupation and colonization of Palestine, including Jerusalem.

After a weekend of intense deliberation, brainstorming, and strategizing we decided and committed to:

1) Convening and building a popular Palestinian national conference in Chicago in Summer 2008 in order to empower our community, unify our voice, and affirm the right of Palestinians in the Shatat (exile) to participate fully in shaping our joint destiny. We established various committees to carry on the functions needed for this.

2) Holding a larger preparatory meeting in 2007 that would further empower and build support among all our community members and organizations.

3) Continuing to exchange and expand projects, ideas, and campaigns done by the many local and national organizations and build upon them by providing fora for communication and positive collaboration.

We call on fellow Palestinians in the US to join us in empowering our community (individuals and organizations) and building for the Palestine National conference reflecting the will of ALL Palestinians in America. We believe strongly that our community can and must rise to the challenges facing us, as they do in Palestine.

Preparatory Committee
US Popular Palestinian National Conference
Cleveland, Ohio

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