Historic Palestinian Anti-Apartheid Call
The PLO, the BDS movement and Palestinian civil society and human rights organizations issue a historic call to intensify global pressure to dismantle Israel's regime of settler-colonialism and apartheid.
The First Anti-Apartheid Palestinian National Conference Call Towards a Global Front to Dismantle Israel’s Regime of Settler-Colonialism and Apartheid
We, the participants in the first Palestinian National Conference against Israel’s regime of settler-colonialism and apartheid, starting with the Anti-Apartheid Department of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), the sole legitimate representative of our people, in partnership with the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement, the Palestinian NGO Network, the Palestinian Ministry of Justice and the Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council (PHROC), and with the participation of legal experts, journalists, political activists, academics and supporters of our cause, gathered in this conference to escalate our coordinated and strategic struggle to expose and dismantle Israel’s system of settler colonialism, apartheid and military occupation oppressing our Palestinian people as a whole, in the homeland and in the diaspora, since the 1948 Nakba.
This call forms the foundation and political, human rights, diplomatic, media and alliance basis for building a global front to end apartheid and settler colonialism: to work with all who advocate for universal human rights and Palestinian rights to build this Arab and international front:
The rights of the Palestinian people in accordance with international law, particularly the UN Charter, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (especially the first common article between them), as well as the relevant UN resolutions, are indivisible and constitute the cornerstone of our legitimate liberation struggle.
In this declaration and call, we affirm the following political, human rights, diplomatic and alliance issues:
a. The participants in the conference and the signatories to this call confirm what Palestinian and international human rights organizations, as well as UN Special Rapporteurs have stated regarding the applicability of the crime against humanity of apartheid, as defined in international law, to the system and policies imposed by Israel on the entire Palestinian people since Israel’s establishment in 1948.
b. The international community, especially the UN, bear legal responsibility to enforce Israel’s compliance with international law by taking all necessary measures, including lawful sanctions pursuant to Chapter VII of the UN Charter, to end Israel’s military occupation, including the settlements and wall (in accordance with relevant UN resolutions, especially Resolution 2334), and to dismantle its settler-colonial regime, of which apartheid is a tool and manifestation.
c. The dismantling of Israel’s regime of settler-colonialism and apartheid is an indispensable condition for the Palestinian people to exercise its full legitimate and inalienable rights as stipulated in international law. Foremost among these rights are: the right to self-determination of the entire Indigenous Palestinian people on its national territory; the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their original homes and lands and to receive reparations (as stipulated in UNGA Resolution 194); the right to establish an independent, sovereign Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital; the national rights as well as the right to comprehensive equality of our people in the 1948 areas (including recognition of their Arab-Palestinian national identity); and the right to sovereignty over our natural resources.
d. The Israeli apartheid system is a tool of the Zionist settler-colonial project in Palestine, which established the State of Israel on the ruins of the Palestinian homeland and displaced most of the Indigenous Arab-Palestinian people during the Nakba of 1948, which started soon after the unjust partition decision of 1947. This project’s plans were implemented through the ethnic cleansing of the Arab-Palestinian people to consolidate Israel’s settler-colonial control over the largest possible area of our homeland.
Since the Nakba, the foundations of Israeli apartheid were operationalized through laws, policies, and practices, especially those aimed at denying Palestinian refugees and displaced persons their right of return to their homes, lands, and properties, thereby entrenching their dispossession, fragmentation, and domination. These laws, most notably the 2018 Nation-State of the Jewish People Basic Law, have aimed at obliterating Palestinian rights and undermining the Palestinian identity. After 74 years, Israel’s gradual ethnic cleansing of Palestinians continues, through the continuous "Judaization" operations in the Galilee and the Negev, and settlement operations and annexation of Palestinian lands in the West Bank, especially in Jerusalem and the Jordan Valley, which confirms that the Nakba continues.
e. Zionism, which arose in the context of European imperialist and colonial expansion, is the intellectual and ideological basis of settler-colonialism in Palestine. It is a racist, genocidal ideology that encourages terrorism and fascism, as our people has witnessed for 74 years.
f. The Israeli regime of settler-colonialism, apartheid and military occupation depends for its survival and strength on the complicity of states, corporations and institutions that deal with it as if it were normal. It also depends on normalization with some Arab regimes and institutions, establishing regional security and military alliances under its leadership to enhance its regional hegemony. The Israeli regime of oppression is not only a threat to the Palestinian people and the fraternal Arab peoples. It is also a threat to millions around the world, as it test its doctrines, its repression mechanisms, and its military and security products on Palestinians then exports them to tyrannical and dictatorial regimes worldwide.
Based on the above, the conference:
Calls on governments, parliaments, and political parties, in the Arab world and globally, to contribute to dismantling Israel’s regime of settler-colonialism and apartheid, starting with imposing a comprehensive military and security embargo on it; ending all commercial and financial agreements with it; and banning all products of companies complicit in its occupation, colonization, and apartheid. It also calls on all governments to treat the Israeli occupation’s political, security and military leaders as war criminals by trying them and banning them from entering their countries, and by putting pressure on the International Criminal Court (ICC) to try them as well.
Calls on the peoples of the world and their democratic and progressive forces that uphold peace with justice to strengthen the growing global state of solidarity with the Palestinian people and our just cause by supporting - and actively participating in - the global, Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. Effective solidarity with our people’s liberation struggle begins with working in every arena to end the complicity of governments, companies and institutions with the Israeli apartheid regime.
Calls on all fraternal and friendly states and regional organizations -- particularly the League of Arab States, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the African Union -- to support this call in word and in deed, including by supporting the Palestinian demand in the UN General Assembly to activate its special mechanisms to investigate and dismantle the apartheid regime, including the Special Committee and Center against Apartheid, which contributed to the dismantling of the apartheid regime in South Africa in the past.
Reaffirms its full support for the Palestinian initiatives aimed at referring to the ICC the files of war crimes perpetrated by Israel’s occupation and colonial regime against the Palestinian people. It calls for supporting the Palestinian request for a legal advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice to determine the nature of the Israeli occupation as a racist settler-colonial system.
Calls for the formation of intersectional national, Arab and international alliances with movements for racial, environmental, social and other forms of justices to promote joint struggle and to contribute to:
- Establishing a global front against Israeli apartheid, and prosecuting and holding Israel accountable for its racist crimes against the Palestinian people.
- Preventing the passage of laws that prohibit or suppress freedom of expression related to advocating Palestinian rights or condemning Zionism and Israel’s colonial and racist regime, especially those repressive legislations that target the BDS movement and Palestinian civil society organizations.
Calls on progressive Jewish groups around the world to confront the frenzied attempts by Israel and the Zionist movement worldwide to induce legislation and policies that deliberately conflate the rejection of Zionism and opposition to the Israel’s regime of settler-colonialism and apartheid on the one hand with racism and hatred against Jews on the other. Since its establishment, the PLO has always distinguished between the two and built alliances with the anti-Zionist Jewish forces as an ally in the struggle against colonialism, oppression and racism in all its forms, including anti-Semitism.
Calls for the establishment of an international legal coalition of specialized human rights organizations to prosecute Israel’s occupation and its criminals in international and legal forums, based on international jurisdiction.
Calls for launching both official and popular Palestinian, Arab and international campaigns to designate the racist and fascist parties that make up the government of the settler-colonial and apartheid state of Israel as terrorist organizations and to prohibit dealing with them.
Calls for supporting and intensifying the role of official and popular Palestinian diplomacy in pressuring the UN, states and political parties worldwide to designate Israel as an apartheid state and, accordingly, to impose on it legal, military-security, commercial, financial, academic, cultural and sports sanctions, just as was done against the defunct apartheid regime in South Africa.