Closing Statement of the First Convening of the Popular Assembly of Palestinians in North America

Chicago May 6, 2018

Palestinian activists, workers, academics, students and professionals from across the United States convened in Chicago on May 6, 2018 to launch a popular, independent, unaffiliated, grassroots initiative aimed at asserting their political agency and reclaiming the right to be represented in the Palestinian national liberation movement. The initiative—the Popular Assembly of Palestinian in North America (“the Assembly”)—echoes and hopes to work with similar initiatives and efforts taking place in Europe, Istanbul and Latin America to reunite the Palestinian national body and to protect and promote the Palestinian collective and individual demand for freedom, equality and return.

This initiative includes Palestinians of all backgrounds, religions and ideologies, committed to remaining a popular formation dedicated to avoiding any factional or sectarian domination so as to remain welcoming of all Palestinians.

Although scattered across the world, Palestinians outside of Palestine remain an inseparable component of the Palestinian nation and thus must have a participatory role in shaping political decisions affecting our collective fate. Yet, like our compatriots in 1948 Palestine and other parts of the world, we remain disenfranchised from existing political processes and mechanisms. Our compatriots in 1967 Palestine have also been disenfranchised and divided by calculated Zionist violence, military laws and policies aimed at physically and politically fragmenting our nation.

Proceeding from the universally recognized premise that participation in the electoral, political, and decision-making process is an essential articulation of one’s national identity, and key to the protection and advancement of human rights, the Assembly echoes the call for the political participation by Palestinians globally in decisions taken in their name or in the name of Palestine and the Palestinian people.  Indeed, it will be a source of great strength for our people, our elected representatives, and our struggle.

To that end and joining the global movement to reinvigorate the Palestinian national body, the Assembly committed to working to reintegrate and strengthen popular Palestinian participation by building, strengthening and democratizing Palestinian institutions, including the Palestinian National Council (the “PNC”), and to working to rebuild social cohesion with Palestinians globally.

The Assembly also affirmed that it shall be guided by the principles of universal human rights, including, but not limited to, the inalienable Right to Return to our lands and homes.  It is only by the implementation of basic human rights and dignities for the Palestinian people that our region can achieve lasting stability, security and peace. To this end, the Assembly holds that the dismantlement of all racist, colonial, violent and oppressive systems in Palestine, the rejection of undemocratic and exclusionary “agreements”— including the Oslo accords—concluded under the duress of occupation, and the rejection of unilateral plans which forfeit our Inalienable Rights, are in accordance with international law and central to the stability of the region torn by death and destruction for a century.

The Assembly committed to work toward the realization of the above through research, outreach, organizing and advocacy. The Assembly elected an interim preparatory committee of nine individuals tasked with organizing a broader convening as part of its effort to better integrate Palestinian communities, individuals and institutions in meaningful processes of representation, and to facilitate increased coordination of work dedicated to the liberation of Palestine. The next open convening is set to take place on December 8, 2018.

In pursuit of practical and political unity, the Assembly calls upon Palestinians in the U.S. and across the world to join ongoing effort to be democratically represented and to reclaim their rightful place in the struggle for Palestinian liberation and human rights and to reject attempts to divide the Palestinian national body.

The Assembly committed to developing frameworks and mechanisms to promote and facilitate the practice of unity in disagreement, and further calls on Palestinians, especially in the U.S. to elevate their work for Palestinian liberation above ideological, sectarian or regional difference..

The Assembly welcomes and calls upon the participation of all Palestinians who share this vision of meaningful representation, who seek to re-center Palestinian return and liberation, and who wish to strengthen our movement and the collective Palestinian voice in determining our national future.

Finally, the Assembly salutes the steadfastness and resistance of our people in the face  of calculated Zionist violence and depravity. We salute our political prisoners; our people struggling in the refugee camps; our people in the 1948 territories who live under apartheid; our people exiled abroad, uprooted and disinherited; our people in the 1967 territories living under a cruel military occupation—and in particular our people in Gaza living in a large open air concentration camp, who continue, despite illegal and deadly Israeli blockade and constant bombardment, to rise up en masse for their fundamental right to right to return to their original homes and lands as manifested in The Great March of Return.

We are a proud and ancient people who, in spite of overwhelming injustice, insist on life, liberation and dignity. The current effort is a continuation of this spirit of rooted connection to our homeland and to each other.



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