"Convening the International Peace Conference on the Middle East in accordance with United Nations General Assembly resolution 43/176: indications for Israel and the United States of the proclamation of the State of Palestine, the Palestinian peace initiative, and the intifadah"
II. CLOSING STATEMENTS
DECLARATION AND PLAN OF ACTION ADOPTED BY THE NORTH AMERICAN REGIONAL NGO SYMPOSIUM ON THE QUESTION OF PALESTINE
To facilitate this, NACC should draft a questionnaire to be completed by NGO groups in regard to those speakers available both in their own organizations and elsewhere. Data should be included about speakers regarding their area of competence and expertise, their availability (times and location), required fees or honoraria, and biographical information. Organizations can then select appropriate speakers as needed;
(b) NACC appoint a subcommittee to develop a manna] for delegations, to assist organizers to put together effective trips and to enhance delegation members' efforts upon their return by providing:
i) Advice on recruitment and selection of individuals and target groups, and how to promote the tour;
ii) Pre-departure preparation;
iii) Suggested delegation itineraries;
iv) Follow-up upon their return with specific ideas for programmes and communication;
(v) Pitfalls to be avoided.
The Workshop also recommends that NGOs work to set up:
(a) Tours of Israelis and Palestinians selected to mobilize and address the concerns of specific communities; for instance, an Israeli and a Palestinian would address mainstream Jewish audiences and the Palestinian and Arab communities, trade unionists to address trade unions, women organizers to address women's groups, and the like;
(b) Speakers should be prepared to address American audiences, for instance to speak from the heart and draw upon personal experience, to make links with local and international struggles, and to provide concrete things to do, for example, organizing public pressure for the recognition of Palestine and cutting aid to Israel.
The Workshop also recommends that NGOs encourage twinning projects to match United States groups and institutions with groups and institutions in the occupied territory with similar needs and goals. Possible twinning projects for appropriate NGOs include day care centres, teachers, churches, schools, professional groups such as lawyers, doctors, engineers, clergy.
Workshop 6: Electoral initiatives and mobilizing public opinion.
Workshop 6 urges that NGOs North America use and carry out the "Peace far Palestine and Israel in 1989" petition campaign.
We call upon North American NGOs to launch and co-ordinate local ballot and other political initiatives in 1990 concurrently throughout North America, such as twinning cities, calling for a two-State solution, linking United States aid to Israel to Palestinian human and legal rights, and other actions as appropriate to the locale.
We further encourage NGOs to adopt and disseminate the Middle East Peace Campaign, calling for United States recognition of the Palestinian right to a State alongside Israel, materials available from the Middle East Peace Network in New York.
We urge the members of concerned NGOs to become actively involved in the work of political parties of their choice to promote appropriate foreign policy changes towards Israel and Palestine.
We call upon the North American NGO community to support the establishment of an NACC North American office to carry out this programme of action.
In order to facilitate the exchange of information among NGOs, this workshop reiterates the need to publish an NGO Resource hide. We further urge that the NACC Newsletter include a regular section describing the activities of North American NGOs in influencing United States and Canadian Middle East policies.
Workshop 7: Humanitarian and material aid projects.
Those gathered in the Humanitarian and Material Aid Workshop support Palestinian grass-roots organizations and their continuing development of economic and social infrastructures which will become the basis of the future Palestinian state.
We urge co-ordination and co-operation among North American NGO, relevant United Nations agencies such as UNRWA, UNESCO, UNDP and WHO, and indigenous and grass-roots organizations.
Therefore, we strongly recommend the development of and support far the following projects:
(a) Organizing North American unions to establish a fund for unemployed Palestinian workers;
(b) Medical aid programmes to provide specialists in neurology, hematology and others to provide emergency treatment and to train medical workers;
(c) Financial support for women's production projects;
(d) Campaign to send vegetable seeds to Palestinian farmers.
Deeply concerned about the closure of educational institutions in Palestine, we urge NGOs to organize in their communities by issuing news releases concerning the impact of school closures an Palestinian children, lobbying elected and appointed officials and supporting House Hausa of Representative resolution 124.
We urge North American NGOs to lobby their national elected officials to increase funding by the Government for UNRWA and other relevant United Nations humanitarian aid organizations.
We urge North American NGOs to notify their constituencies to inform them about the Israeli Prevention of Terrorism Ordinance and the outlawing of the Palestinian popular committees by the Israeli military authorities and lobby national elected officials to stop such immoral Israeli practices.
Workshop 8: Congressional and Parliamentary strategies: human rights, foreign policy and foreign aid.
Participants in Workshop 8 recommend that:
(a) NACC continue its co-ordinating activities in North America by undertaking monthly conference calls among its members to provide information on the statue of human rights in the West Bank and Gaza and the status of pertinent legislation pending in Washington and Ottawa. Further, NACC should designate a sub-committee to be drawn from its members or other NGOs who may be based in Washington, D.C. or Ottawa to serve as resource organizations regarding Congressional and Parliamentary matters.
(b) NGOs attending the North American Symposium on the Question of Palestine work to develop a long-term national campaign on the question of United States aid to Israel. This campaign should first focus on research and education that clarifies for the public the linkage between foreign aid and the lack of development aid; the linkage between foreign aid and the decrease in funding for social programmes in the United States; and the linkage between foreign aid and the escalating violations of Palestinian human rights in the West Bank and Gaza. Importantly, the 1989 United States State Department report on human rights relating to Israeli practices in the occupied territories provides an opening to call for Congress and the NGO community to provide consistent and effective oversight of United States aid to Israel. Subsequently, based on this research and the linkages, Congress should be lobbied to reduce United States aid to Israel by the amount equal to that used to continue the occupation as a challenge to the legitimacy of Israel's continued receipt of United States foreign aid.
Based on a compelling concern for human rights of the Palestinians, NGOs call for the immediate focus on the issue of reopening schools in the West Bank and Gaza. NGOs should work collectively to educate and influence the public, teachers organizations, and the Congress to support legislation such as the Nielsen bill. NGOs attending the North American Symposium on the Question of Palestine should assume leadership roles in working with Congress.
NGOs should work for open, public Congressional hearings on human rights violations in the West Bank and Gaza. NGOs should lobby for hearings that include representatives from the occupied territory. NGOs of North America should support efforts to broaden the United States-PLO dialogue and to avoid restrictions impeding the convening of the International Peace Conference.
NGOs note with concern the Helms Amendment to the 1990-91 State Department authorization bill that is ambiguous about the future location of the United States Embassy in Israel and emphasize their support for the United States law that prohibits relocating the United States Embassy from Tel Aviv in Israel to Jerusalem.
1989-1990 NORTH AMERICAN CO-ORDINATING COMMITTEE FOR NGOs ON THE QUESTION OF PALESTINE
MESSAGE TO THE SYMPOSIUM FROM H.E. MR. YASSER ARAFAT, CHAIRMAN OF THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE OF THE PALESTINE LIBERATION ORGANIZATION
I am delighted, as you hold your annual symposium on the exercise of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, to address to you, to all as distinguished brothers and friends who are members of the Committee, and to those of our friends who are taking part in the Symposium, particularly the representatives of NGOs in North America, sincere greetings and respects on behalf of myself personally, of the Government and people of Palestine and of the PLO. I also convey to you our profound thanks for and great appreciation of the valuable efforts and activities which your esteemed Committee has undertaken, and is continuing to undertake, far the purpose of enabling our Palestinian people to recover and to exercise its inalienable national rights.
I also take advantage of this opportunity to express my deep gratitude for and extensive recognition of the continuous intensive efforts and endeavours undertaken by the United nations, under the leadership of its Secretary General, our brother and friend Javier Pérez de Cuéllar, to support and back the just struggle being conducted by our people under the direction of the PLO, its sole legitimate representative, with a view to securing its freedom and national independence. Allow me also to salute and to express my deep appreciation of the major constructive role played by NGOs in North America, particularly in explaining and clarifying the just nature of our people's struggle to American public opinion and its effective political forces, in order to help our people to achieve its full national independence an the soil of its homeland.
This year your annual symposium coincides with the beginning of the nineteenth month of our Palestinian people's uprising, which is more firm and resolute than ever. By means of this uprising, our struggling people affirms its determination and resolve to defend its territory and national and human dignity, by declaring that it holds fast to its identity and inalienable national rights in the blessed land of Palestine. Our people also affirms its united national will by maintaining its defiance and heroic bold resistance against the "iron-fist" policy, measures of repression and organized official terrorism and racist practices of detention and torture carried out against it by the Israeli occupation authorities in an endeavour to crush its vigorous popular uprising and erase and eliminate its identity and national rights.
Now, since the Israeli occupation authorities have proved unable to subdue our people's revolution and uprising inside our occupied Palestinian territory by means of military force, the authorities are trying to achieve that same end by means of suspect political proposals and plans, the latest being that put forward by Yitzhak Shamir, the Prime Minister of Israel, calling for the holding of elections for the Palestinian population of the occupied territory.
The intention of this and other plans is simply to circumvent the great achievements and victories won by our people's uprising under the leadership of the PLO, to subdue the uprising and suppress it altogether and then to deceive international public opinion by appearing to take an initiative towards securing peace in the region. However, our struggling people, both inside and outside our occupied territory, has announced its categorical rejection of this spurious plan, which is hostile to its objectives and to its noble national aspirations for freedom and independence. At the same time, our people has declared its strong adherence to and respect for the concept of elections as a democratic process, provided that such elections are held subsequent to the withdrawal of Israeli forces from the occupied Palestinian territory, and under international supervision, as part of a comprehensive may exercise self-determination in complete freedom and without any outside intervention.
Our struggling Palestinian people has frequently affirmed its sincere desire to bring about a just and lasting peace in air region in accordance with the momentous and historic resolutions adopted at the nineteenth extraordinary session of our Palestine National Council, held at Algiers in November 1988. It has further confirmed this desire by means of the Palestinian peace initiative announced in my address on the question of Palestine, delivered to the forty- third session of the United Nations General Assembly at Geneva in December 1988. This initiative is based on the convening of the International Peace Conference on the Middle East, under the auspices of the United Nations, with the participation of the five permanent members of the Security Council and all parties to the conflict, including the PLO, on an equal footing. There can be no doubt that the just peace which we desire cannot be brought about and made to prevail in the Middle East region - which is of such vital importance in the world - unless our people is permitted to recover and to exercise its inalienable national rights, including the right to return and the right to self-determination and the establishment of its own independent State with Jerusalem as its capital.
As you are aware, the Palestinian peace plan which I have mentioned is consistent with international law and with the international position concerning the convening of the International Peace Conference on the Middle East. Furthermore, the PLO is the only party to have presented a complete peace plan, based on logical and reasonable premises and supported by international law and resolutions, including Security Council resolutions, including Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973), and the right of our people to self-determination. We therefore register our profound astonishment that the United States should side with Israel in raising insurmountable obstacles to the efforts undertaken by the Secretary-General of the United Nations, and by the Security Council and the international community, to ensure the convening of the Conference and thus to bring about a comprehensive and just peaceful settlement in our region. In spite of the attitude of the United States, the PLO confirms that it welcomes the current dialogue with the United States Administration and urges the Administration to develop and enhance that dialogue in the interests of making progress towards the achievement of a just peace in the region.
The duty of maintaining international peace and security in the world means that the international community as a whole, the United Nations and all freedom, justice and peace-loving forces and organizations in the world, have a responsibility to exert effective and palpable pressure on the United States Administration with a view to ping it, firstly, to adapt an equitable and unbiased policy towards all parties in the region and, secondly, to allow its attitudes towards our people's cause and national rights to evolve by expanding its concept of our people’s political rights to incorporate the right to self-determination.
The United States of American, as a major Power, bears particular responsibilities for the maintenance of international peace and security in the world. By constantly rejecting the International Peace Conference on the Middle East and placing various obstacles in the way of international efforts to ensure that the Conference is convened, it is helping to prolong the sufferings and agonies of our people under Israeli occupation and also to prolong the conflict in the region, thus threatening international peace and security in the world and the stability of the region.
As it continues its just struggle and glorious popular uprising at this momentous and critical stage of the combat process, our Palestinian people is fully confident that you, as friends of our people and its national cause, will increase your support and backing until such time as Victory is achieved by ending the Israeli occupation of its territory, securing its national Jerusalem as its capital.
In conclusion, I convey to all of you my best regards and hopes for the success of your Symposium.
Members and observers of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People
League of Arab States (observer)
Libyan Arab Jamahiriya (observer)
Sierra Leone (member)
Syrian Arab Republic (observer)
Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic (member)
League of Arab States
National liberation movements
African National Congress
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