Palestine Solidarity Campaign Report

Report from Palestine Solidarity Campaign conference (David Rosenberg International Solidarity Officer)

 

I was very pleased to attend this conference on behalf of Islington NUT. Unfortunately I got my papers in 48 hours late (there was an early cut-off point) so I had to attend as an observer rather than as a speaking/voting delegate.

 

By coincidence the conference clashed with the huge women’s march against Trump. But on a day when women were making big statements across the world, three women made powerful speeches here at the conference.  Elected Palestinian MK Haneen Zoabi, threatened with expulsion from the Knesset (Israeli Parliament); former NUT leader Christine Blower, who talked about the importance of teacher delegations to Palestine  as these enabled teachers here to bring the authentic voices of Palestinian children and teachers into their own classrooms; and school student Leanne Mohammed whose progress in a school-speaking competition was affected by hostility form Zionist sources the other year. At this conference she got a standing ovation for her passionate speech.

 

It would be good to know when the next teacher delegations to Palestine are and try to get a group of Islington teachers on one.

 

Haneen Zaobi focused her comments on the situation of Palestinians within the Israeli Green Line (the pre-1967 border. Palestinian make up more than 18% of the population with the Green Line and face an increasingly harsh rage of restrictions and discriminatory practices. In the days before the conference Bedouins had been shot in attempts by the Israeli authorities to demolish their homes and expel them to other areas.

Haneen made a very powerful point that cut through the sterile two states/one state argument saying that "One state or two states is not a question of values and justice" - the key issues, she insisted, were Palestinian self-determination and equality, which could eventually be achieved through one state or a two state arrangement, providing that they were two democratic states, not where one of them enshrined ethnic privilege, as Israel currently does.

 

Her thoughtful intervention probably influenced voting on a resolution that fell that would have committed the movement purely to pursuing a single state solution and would have made it difficult to include everyone already within the movement, as well as potential allies who believe in justice for the Palestinians, but think there may still be a viable two state solution. The position adopted keeps options open while focusing on the key issues of equality and self-determination

 

Describing many aspects of the increasing repression/apartheid within pre-67 Israel, Haneen referred to 86 discriminatory laws, and 590 communities in Israel within which Palestinians are effectively prevented from living. She also described the shift to the right within the Israeli elite in recent times, that meant they were now acting more harshly against Israelis critical of the government and showing support for Palestinians.

 

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