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"We Cannot Celebrate" - call for endorsements PDF Print E-mail
Mar 23, 2008 at 04:06 PM
To those concerned with justice and peace for the people of Palestine and Israel,

In June 2002, many of you endorsed CanPalNet’s public statement calling for an end to Israel’s occupation of Palestinian lands conquered in 1967. That full-page statement with signatories from across Canada was published in the Georgia Straight in Vancouver and the Now newspaper in Toronto.

Regrettably, the human and political situation in Palestine-Israel has deteriorated significantly since 2002. It is against the background of this crisis that supporters of Israeli state policies and practices are organizing a “celebration” of the 60th anniversary of the founding of the country. George Bush and Nicolas Sarkozy are among the international leaders who will visit Israel in May 2008 to mark the event. In the U.S., George Bush SR. and Bill Clinton have been enlisted to serve as the honourary co-chairs of the national committee for Israel-60. There will be tremendous hoopla and hype around this event and we expect that Canadian politicians and other prominent public figures will be invited to join these “celebrations” as a similar campaign is mounted in this country.

Considering the prevailing tragic circumstances, we hope you share our view that this is not the time nor the occasion for “celebration”.

As a reflection of our concerns, we plan to publish the following “We cannot celebrate” statement, in full-page format, in The Georgia Straight in early May. If enough funds are collected, we would also place the ad in the Toronto Now. In addition, we plan to distribute the statement to other media as a news item and to include it in our public call to politicians and others to refuse to participate in this celebration.

We believe this statement is appropriate for the times and invite you to add your voice by endorsing it. (Signers’ names will appear with or without a “description” for identification purposes only. Please indicate your preference.)??

As was the case in June 2002, this is a grass-roots effort, so any financial contribution you can make toward the cost of publication (approximately $4,000) will be greatly appreciated. Contributions from those who wish to help us defray the costs of the ad without having their name listed on the ad will be greatly appreciated as well.

Please reply by e-mail to: wecannotcelebrate@canpalnet.ca

Contributions can be sent to:

123 North Sea Avenue
Burnaby, BC Canada
V5B 1K4

Thank you for your support.


Around the world, plans are being made to mount major celebrations of the 60th anniversary of the founding of the state of Israel. But this year also marks 60 years since 750,000 Palestinians were brutally expelled from their homeland in what they refer to as the Nakba or “catastrophe”. Given this history, and the deepening conflict in the region today, we believe there is no grounds for celebration.

We cannot celebrate
while Israel starves and bombs the people of Gaza.

We cannot celebrate
while Israel extends its apartheid wall.

We cannot celebrate
while Israel builds Jewish only settlements and roads on stolen Palestinian lands.

We cannot celebrate
while Israel continues to violate United Nations Resolution 194, refusing to let Palestinians return to their homes.

We cannot celebrate
while Israel continues to promote wars and expand its nuclear arsenal.

We cannot celebrate
while the policies of Israel’s leaders fuel a conflict in which innocent lives on both sides are lost.

We can and will continue our efforts to end these injustices, upholding international law, human rights and United Nations resolutions. This is the only road map to peace.

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Toward the Establishment of a Palestinian Civil Society Defragmentation Strategy

Final Statement of the Palestinian Civil Society Conference,
Cyprus, 16–18 October 2007

As part of the effort by the Palestinian civil society organizations to overcome the state of forced Palestinian fragmentation and consolidate the national role of the Palestinian NGOs in all their places of residence, a conference titled "Toward the Establishment of a Palestinian Civil Society Defragmentation Strategy" was held in Agros, Cyprus, between 16 and 18 October 2007 at the initiative of Ittijah-The Union of Arab Community Based Associations. Forty-four participants representing a broad sector of Palestinian civil society networks, coalitions, and associations in Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and Kuwait, in addition to a number of international partner organizations supporting Palestinian rights, attended the conference. The Israeli occupation authorities banned the travel of a delegation representing civil society organizations in Gaza.

The conference discussed a number of issues, notably: The Palestinian situation and Palestinian, regional, and international developments, including the Annapolis conference; the collective Palestinian strategy against the forced fragmentation; the endeavors to rebuild terms of reference and assert the constant Palestinian principles; the strategy of collective Palestinian advocacy; Palestinian media strategies; and local and international coordination on the Palestinian question.

The participants in the conference set bases that would help strengthen the overall Palestinian struggle for liberation in all its contexts: the occupation, the displacement and uprooting, and the assault on Palestinian existence in the 1948 areas.

A draft of a collective organizational structure and an action plan were also devised, and a follow-up committee to implement this plan and lead the agreed process was set up.

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