INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE OF CIVIL SOCIETY
IN SUPPORT OF MIDDLE EAST PEACE
UNESCO Headquarters, Paris
12 and 13 July 2005
PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST:
MOBILIZING TO END THE ISRAELI OCCUPATION
International Coordinating Network on Palestine
2005 PLAN OF ACTION
We meet again, civil society organizations committed to ending the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories and to achieving the still unrealized rights, including the right of self-determination, of the Palestinian people. We anchor our work in human rights, international law, the United Nations Charter and resolutions, and a commitment to internationalism and the belief that the UN remains central to ending the occupation. We believe that these tools provide the only roadmap that can provide the basis for a comprehensive, just and lasting peace.
This week marks the first anniversary of the landmark Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice which determined the illegality of Israel's annexationist Apartheid Wall, the settlements and occupation, and the consequences of that illegality. We are joining our colleagues around the world in this week of special events to commemorate the significance of that ruling and to rededicate ourselves to the work of enforcing it and bringing down the Wall.
But events on the ground in the occupied territories continue to deteriorate. Despite the clarity of the ICJ Opinion, and the overwhelming support for the General Assembly resolutions affirming that Opinion, expansion of the Wall continues. The Wall has become the symbol of the continuing crisis of Israeli settlements – ALL of which stand in violation of international law and specific United Nations resolutions – being built, expanded and transformed into armed centers of anti-Palestinian violence. Occupation on the ground means land confiscation, house demolitions, escalating violence at checkpoints and on roads, closures, curfews, a renewed Israeli policy of assassination, and other violations of the 4th Geneva Conventions. Plans for new settlement projects in the Jordan Valley and especially in Jerusalem show the duplicity of Israel's claimed commitments to a two-state solution, as Israel's settlement-based seizure of land continues and a viable Palestinian state as part of a two-state solution grows less and less attainable. There is a danger that the current de facto apartheid conditions on the ground could be transformed into a normalized reality.
We are especially concerned about the consequences of Israel's planned "disengagement" from Gaza, which will alter the form but not the essence of occupation and control. Certainly as the Occupying Power, Israel bears a unilateral obligation to completely end its occupation of all the Palestinian territories. It is clear, however, that the "disengagement" from Gaza is not designed to end the occupation, but is a ploy to legitimize Israel's annexation of wide swathes of territory in the West Bank as a quid-pro-quo backed by the United States in the letter from President George W. Bush to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in April 2004. It will have the effect of establishing even greater Israeli domination over Gaza's economy and society.
The urgency of implementing international humanitarian law – that prohibits settlements, house demolitions, and violence against an occupied population – and requiring the creation of an independent, viable, contiguous and sovereign Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital, remain our vital concerns. The need to pressure our governments to enforce the decision of the ICJ regarding the illegality of the Wall remains. The need for developing new strategies to provide international protection for Palestinians living under the brutality of Israel's military occupation has never been greater.
Our work of building an international challenge to Israel's occupation is strengthened and empowered by our support from, and our participation in the broad global movement against occupation and for justice throughout the Middle East.
Our work to end the occupation of Palestine remains our solemn commitment. We will work with solidarity campaigns, with civil society organizations, with parliaments, with governments and with the United Nations itself, especially the General Assembly Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and the Division for Palestinian Rights, to build a movement strong enough to end the Israeli occupation.
We note that our constituent organizations are working on a wide range of issues including implementation of the ICJ Advisory Opinion on the illegality of the Apartheid Wall and settlements, campaigning for international protection for Palestinians living under occupation, mobilizing support for the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes, strengthening the United Nations' capacity to defend Palestinian rights, campaigning for the release of all Palestinian prisoners held by Israel, and commemorating the annual International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People on November 29th. We support all of these important campaigns.
A CALL TO ACTION
We recognize that, as an international network, our strength lies in our ability to work collectively in unified campaigns and actions. To that end, we urge international, national and regional social movements, organizations and coalitions to support the unified call of Palestinian civil society for a global campaign of Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions [BDS] to pressure Israel to end the occupation and fully comply with international law and all relevant UN resolutions. We have identified the coming year to mobilize for and inaugurate this BDS campaign. We call on our partner organizations to intensify all our activities, focusing on the BDS Campaign so that together, we will End the Occupation.