Berlin Declaration: Issued by the Fourth Conference of the Union of Palestinian Communities and Organizations – Europe

Berlin Declaration
Issued by the Fourth Conference of the Union of Palestinian Communities and Organizations – Europe

The conference was attended by representatives from Italy, Germany, Greece, Belgium, the Netherlands, Sweden, Cyprus, Austria, Denmark, Norway and Turkey, as well as a number of guests and friends in attendance at the event. The following statement was issued under the slogan, “With participation and unity we protect our national rights and our just cause.” It was also agreed that the conference would be named “Freedom and Dignity” in honor of the hunger strike and the struggle of the Palestinian prisoners’ movement. The name of the Union was adopted as the Union of Palestinian Communities and Organizations – Europe, to replace the previous name, the Union of Palestinian Communities, Institutions, Organizations and Figures in the Diaspora in Europe, which was adopted at its founding conference in Barcelona in May 2007.

The Conference elected the new leadership body, the General Secretariat, consisting of 13 members, which in turn elected Dr. Fawzi Ismail as the president of the Union and coordinator of its work until the Fifth Conference.

Text of the Berlin Declaration:

The fourth conference of the Union of Palestinian Communities and Organizations in Europe took place amid the 69th anniversary of the Nakba, marking the displacement and uprooting of our people from their homeland and soil. It comes at a time when the Palestinian prisoners’ movement is waging a distinguished and heroic battle in the occupation prisons, the national battle of freedom and dignity to confront the occupation and its racist laws.

We declare our position that the right of our people to return to their lands, homes and homeland is a sacred and unshakable national right and constant, no matter how long the time that passes. We reaffirm our principled stand with the struggle of the prisoners’ movement, the vanguard of our people and their courageous resistance. We dedicate the work of our conference to our Palestinian people everywhere and to all of the prisoners in the jails of the Zionist enemy, led by the great national leader Comrade Ahmad Sa’adat, the struggling brother Karim Younes, the longest-held Palestinian prisoner, and the struggling brother Marwan Barghouthi, and all of the struggling leaders of the Palestinian prisoners’ movement as it marks its 34th day of this historic hunger strike. We also call upon our Palestinian people, our Arab nation and all of the friends of our people in Europe to organize the largest campaign of solidarity with the prisoners’ movement until the achievement of freedom and victory.

Sisters and brothers, members of Palestinian communities and organizations in Europe…

The just cause of our Palestinian people is exposed to dubious initiatives and projects aimed at liquidating the rights of our people and pushing the masses of the Palestinian people and the Arab nation into the circles of despair, defeat, division and destructive internal wars. At the same time, the Zionist enemy is being empowered to dominate and consolidate the occupation of Palestinian and Arab lands and to ensure its qualitative superiority and control over the wealth of the region and its peoples, while we are witnessing an Arab and Palestinian relationships with all of the official projects being engineered in the decision-making circles in the capitals of the United States, Europe and elsewhere.

Therefore, our Palestinian, Arab and international responsibility requires a state of vigilance, awareness and action to protect the Palestinian cause from the danger of liquidation through so-called “peace” processes. This requires serious struggle to achieve the unity of our people in the homeland and in diaspora, the unity of people, land, cause and rights. This unity is the strength of our internal front which has always been a barrier in the face of all attempts to liquidate the cause and the rights of our struggling Palestinian people.

To the masses of our people in Europe…

The Palestinian reality is no longer tolerable, nor is the complicity of silence or the continuation of this political and mass catastrophe. Our national responsibility requires us to take our position in Europe and calls upon us to work toward the following objectives:

* The unity of Palestinian institutions in Europe under one national Palestinian umbrella. This is a collective task, and achieving this unity will be a constant priority on our Union’s agenda in the next phase. Through this declaration, we are launching a comprehensive national initiative, through which we call for opening dialogue with various Palestinian factions and forces in order to work together to protect and preserve our national project. The interests of our Palestinian people require the Palestinian communities and popular organizations in Europe to present a visible model of unity of action and joint work.

* The struggle to preserve and protect the right of return of Palestinian refugees is the core of the Palestinian national cause and the bridge for the exercise of the right of self-determination and the establishment of a democratic Palestine over the entire land of Palestine. The right of return is a natural right, individual and collective, and no international or local entity has any right or legitimacy to undermine, dismiss or discharge its national, legal and humanitarian content. The right of return is a legitimate right guaranteed by international law and conventions.

* Strengthening the steadfastness of our people in our occupied homeland throughout the land of historic Palestine and especially in the Palestinian refugee camps, standing with the Palestinian popular classes in the camps of Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and inside occupied Palestine, based on our firm conviction that the oppressed classes are paying the greatest price in blood and sacrifice to achieve freedom and liberation. It is our responsibility to support our national agricultural, health, educational, youth, student, women’s and other institutions.

* We call upon our people in Europe to build their institutions, unions and united organizations. Building effective organizations in Europe will confront the Zionist movement and engage in serious and genuine struggle on the one hand and strengthen the unity and ability of the Palestinian communities to organize themselves and their various social sectors on the other hand.

This requires work to:

– Confront the Zionist movement in Europe and work to transfer and translate the Palestinian narrative to every city, capital, university, union and political institution, including the European Parliament and the parliaments of every European country. The exposure of the plans of the Zionist movement, which continues to be the main incubator of the Zionist occupation in our occupied Palestine, requires, in addition to our internal Palestinian unity, establishing a clear Palestinian discourse based on historical facts, rights, and the principle of our people’s adherence to their rights.

– Develop the international boycott of the occupation as a constant and ongoing priority on the agenda of our Union. The growing international movement to boycott the occupying entity and its institutions is a fundamental pillar of our future agenda. We urge the youth and students of Palestine in Europe to meet and unite in order to develop and expand the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement on the road to isolation of the Zionist entity in order to dismantle it and expose its true, ugly racist face to European and international public opinion.

To our people everywhere, our Palestinian communities:

We affirm through the Berlin Declaration the following political positions:

First: We call for confrontation and rejection of the policy and approach of exclusion and exclusivity adopted by the Palestinian official leadership in Ramallah and its policy of hegemony and monopoly over decision-making in Palestinian institutions, foremost of which is the Palestinian Liberation Organization, which has become an empty institution plagued by corruption and nepotism. We call upon all to confront the
policies of the dominant leadership in the PLO through popular democratic organization to restore the organization as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people and on the basis of rebuilding all of its institutions and the Palestinian National Council on a national and democratic basis that ensures the participation of all segments, categories and forces of our struggling people.

Second: A complete political and practical rupture with all of the results of the Oslo Accords and with the institutions and policies that resulted from these ominous agreements. The formation of the Palestinian Authority undermined the role of the Palestine Liberation Organization. It confiscated the Palestinian national decision and contributed to deepening division, fragmentation and unprecedented political crisis in the history of our people. The Palestinian Authority, established in 1994 as an arm of the PLO and according to the Oslo Accords, is concerned solely with the issues of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and does not represent the Palestinian people; the PLO remains the sole legitimate representative. Any political, economic and legal agreements and treaties agreed to under this framework are illegitimate, lack popular and national legitimacy and place no obligations upon our people.

Third: The path of resistance must be a strategic and practical choice that guarantees the implementation of our national and human rights. The experiences of struggling peoples under colonialism and occupation have confirmed that the path of cultural, political and militant resistance is the only serious and real way through which the goals of the people can be achieved. Resistance remains a legitimate right of peoples seeking to realize the principles of freedom, justice, equality and liberation and a human right guaranteed by international law.

Finally, we call for the year 2017 to be regarded as a year of national advancement and confrontation of colonialism, occupation, racism and Balfour’s notorious declaration. We therefore call upon all to work for the new century of our national liberation struggle with greater commitment to our national rights, which do not fall or lessen over time.

We affirm our stand by the brotherly people of Syria and their full natural, human and political rights and call for an internal national dialogue that protects the Syrian homeland from partition, fragmentation and projects of foreign aggression. Our stand with Syria, the people, the nation and its institutions, is our stand with the Arab nation, with Palestine and its cause, and with the Palestinian and Arab resistance confronting the forces of colonization and occupation.

Our people in diaspora and exile…our people in Europe…

Occupation, colonization, wars and political and sectarian conflicts have produced increasing economic and social catastrophes and continued migration at larger and larger levels of many peoples in the region, foremost among them our Palestinian refugees in Syria, Lebanon, Gaza and elsewhere, which calls upon all of us to shoulder our responsibility toward the refugees and newcomers from the sons and daughters of our people to the European continent, to embrace them and provide them with care and support as a national duty to strengthen their steadfastness and enable them to participate in popular action.

Glory to the martyrs of our people and our nation
Freedom for the prisoners in Israeli jails
Speedy recovery to the wounded
Victory and freedom for our struggling people

Saturday, 20 May 2017
Berlin, Germany