Al-Awda International Convention

Starting Date: 04-16-2004
Ending Date: 04-18-2004

New York, New York 10011
United States
Sustainable Struggle: The Road to Palestine
Al-Awda, The Palestine Right to Return Coalition's 2nd National
Convention, NY, NY
April 16-18, 2004

Speakers include:

Ms. Maha Nassar
Former political prisoner and Chair of the Union of Palestinian Women's
Committees in Gaza and the West Bank

Dr. Karma Nabulsi
PLO representative from 1977 to 1990

Dr. Salman Abu Sitta
Former member of Palestine National Council and General Coordinator for
the Palestinian Right of Return Congress

Featuring Workshops on:

Right of Reutrn and Refugees
Palestine and Self-Determination
Sustainable Struggle: Homeland Security & the Patriot Act
Palestinian Prisoners
Oppression in Activism
Organizing: From Grassroots to Cultural Activism
Coalition Building
Confronting Hegemony: U.S. Imperialism & the War on the Arab Nation Media

January 22, 2003


Al-Awda ("The Return") New York/New Jersey, the local chapter of the
Palestine Right to Return Coalition, announced today that it will be
hosting the coalition's international right of return convention in New
York City on April 16-18, 2004. Al-Awda is a grassroots organization of
Palestinians and their allies dedicated to ensuring fundamental justice
for the Palestinian people through the implementation of Palestinian
refugees' right to return to their homes and homeland.

The convention, held last year in Toronto, Canada, will bring together
hundreds of activists, academics and right of return organizers from
across North America, the Arab Homeland and around the world. These
convention participants will join with local activists and numerous
members of the Palestinian and Arab communities in the New York/New
Jersey area for keynote speeches, workshops and strategy sessions
dedicated to the strengthening of the North American and international
movement for Palestinians' right to return.

In 1948, over 750,000 Palestinians were expelled from their homes and
homelands by force and violence, as Zionist armies attempted to ethnically
cleanse Palestine in order to create an exclusionary Jewish state on
Palestinian land. Many Palestinians had been compelled to leave their
lands during the period prior to 1948, as Zionists sought to expand their
control over Palestinian land through force and threats of physical
force, and many more have been expelled and forced into exile since that
time. The process of expulsion and dispossession continues to this day,
as does the Palestinian struggle for return. These Palestinian refugees,
and their descendants, now numbering over five million, have been denied
the right to return to their homes and lands for over fifty-f ive years,
despite the fact that refugees' right to return to their homes is a
fundamental right also recognized in the Universal Declaration of Human
Rights and the Geneva Conventions. In addition, United Nations Resolution
194, passed in 1948, was to ensure that Palestinian refugees are
permitted to return home. Despite the vast weight of justice and law,
Palestinian refugees have been prohibited from returning to their homes.

Al-Awda's convention, in the words of a document released by the group to
announce the event, is timely because "the fundamental right for
Palestinians to return to their homes . . . is under constant threat."
The recent announcement of the so-called "Geneva Accord," continues
Al-Awda, "sidestepped legal precedents and used deceptive language to
deny millions of refugees their internationally enshrined right of
return." However, Al-Awda states that "in spite of the ongoing efforts to
defeat the Palestinians, activists and people of conscience across the
world refuse to waver in their support for the Palestinian struggle for
liberation, self-determination and return," citing the centrality of the
Palestinian struggle to the anti-war movement, the development of a new
international Right of Return Congress and new organizations and
initiatives in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and the Arab American community.

In this context of struggle for fundamental rights and justice, the
convention will provide opportunities for coalition-building, networking,
mutual education and the development of sustainable strategies for
political action. Al-Awda New York/New Jersey invites those who support
the principles of the convention to endorse the convention, mobilize for
it, and work together to ensure it will be the successful, momentous
occasion it promises to be.

Guiding Principles

1. Palestinian Arabs, within areas occupied in 1948, 1967, and all those in exile, comprise a single, indivisible people. They are indigenous to Palestine and, as such, have the right to live as equals anywhere in historic Palestine.
2. The Palestinian people's right to self-determination and return are inalienable and nonnegotiable. Ending Zionist occupation of Palestine and implementing the right of all Palestinian refugees to return to their original towns and villages everywhere in historic Palestine are prerequisites (or fundamental/essential) to a lasting peace.
3. The Palestinian Right of Return is a national, collective and individual right, which is not subject to any form of negation or compromise. It is rooted in the irreducible, natural entitlement of an individual and a people to their original homes, property, and homeland. It is a fundamental right that transcends generations, place of residence and birth, as well as agreements and treaties. As such, the Right of Return, which is inseparable from the right to self-determination, has been enshrined in international law and codified in more than 135 United Nations resolutions starting with Resolution 194.
4. Zionist apartheid, racism, and settler-colonialism in Palestine, manifested through massacres, occupation, land confiscation, ethnic cleansing and separation, discrimination, and the systemic denial of fundamental human dignity in Palestine is violative of the most basic human standards and all tenets of international law. Thus, the Palestinian resistance is justified by natural principles of liberty and international laws protecting such liberties.
5. The occupation of Palestine is the longest and most suffocating the world has seen in the past century. The Palestinian struggle for liberation has been congruently enduring. Palestine is the last remaining obstacle to colonial and imperial hegemony in the Arab Homeland and the Anglo-American occupation of Iraq has become yet another stepping stone towards the imposition of imperial control and dominance. Hence, Palestinian resistance is part and parcel of the resistance by oppressed peoples worldwide against foreign occupation, colonialism and hegemony. Just as the agenda of the new imperial order, of which Israel is an inextricable part, is global, resistance to it must be global and united so as to be sustainable and successful. In this context, the Palestinian and Iraqi struggles for full self-determination are the embodiment of the global resistance to settler and military occupation.
6. The Palestinians' struggle for freedom and dignity is inseparable from the struggle of Arab and Muslim Americans against discrimination and repression; by people of color against political and social marginalization; by the working class against economic exploitation; and all forms of repression.
Geographical Scope: National

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