For the past year, Stop the Wall and the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (both Grassroots International partners) have been working diligently with their Palestinian and Brazilian allies to fulfill the call issued in 2011 at the World Social Forum in Dakar. Then, participants expressed a desire to hold a thematic World Social Forum to explore ongoing social injustice in the occupied Palestinian territories; and to formulate an international response from the peoples of the world since states have either been unwilling or unable to provide pathways toward a just peace.
The World Social Forum-Free Palestine (WSF-Free Palestine) will take place in Porto Alegre, Brazil this November 28 – December 1. It will be an opportunity for activists around the world to meet with their Palestinian counterparts and formulate strategies to end the Israeli occupation that has resulted in massive dislocation of Palestinian people, land and water grabs, and undermined Palestinians’ right to self-determination. As with other World Social Forums, there will be open space for participants to create workshop sessions and influence the agenda. The Palestinian organizing committee will coordinate a number of workshops to provide guidance and framing to ensure a Palestinian voice at the event.
During a national conference call sponsored by the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation with U.S. solidarity groups, Stop the Wall Coordinator Jamal Juma’ described WSF-Free Palestine as “’…the most important event in the international arena for Palestine. The goal is to coordinate efforts, create networks between solidarity movements around the world, and formulate an effective and efficient plan that can achieve with Palestinians on the ground real change…. [T]his is a struggle for the humanity of the Palestinian people.”
Juma’ also stressed the importance of having a strong U.S. delegation to the WSF-Free Palestine. He argued that U.S. social movement involvement in the WSF-Free Palestine and the international solidarity movement can’t be understated because official U.S. government support allows the situation on the ground to continue. “Americans who are against the occupation need to come together and be heard. It’s important for American solidarity movements to unite and be a demonstrative effect for similar movements around the world,” he said.
Graphic courtesy of WFP-Free Palestine.