Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Join World Social Forum Free Palestine in November 2012 in Porto Alegre

E mail for more information:

Occupied Palestine is part of every free heartbeat in this world and her cause continues to inspire solidarity across the globe. The World Social Forum Free Palestine is an expression of the human instinct to unite for justice and freedom and an echo of the World Social Forum’s opposition to neo-liberal hegemony, colonialism, and racism through struggles for social, political and economic alternatives to promote justice, equality, and the sovereignty of peoples.

The WSF Free Palestine will be a global encounter of broad-based popular and civil society mobilizations from around the world. It aims to:

1. Show the strength of solidarity with the calls of the Palestinian people and the diversity of initiatives and actions aimed at promoting justice and peace in the region.

2. Create effective actions to ensure Palestinian self-determination, the creation of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital, and the fulfillment of human rights and international law, by:

a) Ending Israeli occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall;

b) Ensuring the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and

c) Implementing, protecting, and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.

3. Be a space for discussion, exchange of ideas, strategizing, and planning in order to improve the structure of solidarity.

Exactly sixty-five years after Brazil presided over the UN General Assembly session that agreed upon the partition of Palestine, Brazil will host a different type of global forum: an historic opportunity for people from all over the world to stand up where governments have failed. The world’s people will come together to discuss new visions and effective actions to contribute to justice and peace in the region.

We call on all organizations, movements, networks, and unions across the globe to join the WSF Free Palestine in November 2012 in Porto Alegre. We ask you to join the International Committee for the WSF Free Palestine, we will establish as soon as possible. Participation in this forum will structurally strengthen solidarity with Palestine, promote action to implement Palestinian’s legitimate rights, and hold Israel and its allies accountable to international law.

Together we can raise global solidarity with Palestine to a new level.

Palestinian Preparatory Committee for the WSF Free Palestine 2012

Secretariat members:

· PNGO – Palestinian NGO Network

· Stop the Wall – Palestinian grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign,

· OPGAI – Occupied Palestinian Golan Heights Advocacy Initiative

· Alternatives represented by:

Alternative Information Center,

Teacher Creativity Center

· Ittijah

· General Union of Palestinian women

Coordination office:

PNGO – Palestinian NGO Network

Tel: +970 2 2975320/1

Fax: +970 2 2950704

E mail:


Gaza economy crushed by Israeli export restrictions

(photo: flickr/J McDowell)

Since June 2007, not a single product from the Gaza Strip has been allowed to be sold in Israel or the West Bank – once Gaza’s traditional markets. These restrictions have paralyzed the manufacturing sector in the Gaza Strip and led to high unemployment rates.

Two days ago one truckload of furniture from six factories left the Gaza Strip for a furniture expo in Jordan taking place on January 24-26th. The truck made its way via Israel and the West Bank after first undergoing rigorous security checks.

Gisha welcomes the security establishment’s decision to allow Gaza furniture makers to develop new markets for their products in Jordan. The shipment of the furniture to Jordan proves that the marketing of these and other kinds of products can also take place in both the West Bank and Israel itself – Gaza’s traditional markets.

Since 2007, there has been a blanket ban on marketing goods from Gaza to the West Bank and Israel, which has led to the near paralysis of Gaza's manufacturing sector. Israel and the West Bank were once the destination for 85% of the goods sold outside of the Strip before the ban was imposed. Some 83% of Gaza’s factories have been either shut down or are operating at 50% capacity or lower. The unemployment rate stands at 28%, as opposed to 15.5% in 2000.

The security establishment has explained that the ban on the marketing of Gaza's goods in the West Bank and Israel is part of the "separation policy" – a term that does not appear in official government or cabinet decisions, and a policy whose components have never been described and whose political and security rationale has not been explained.

Despite the trickle of goods which are permitted to reach Europe, and now also Jordan, the potential for real economic benefit remains blocked to manufacturers in Gaza. For example, Muhammad Yihya Najar, the owner of a furniture factory in Gaza, won a bid to supply desks and tables to schools in the West Bank. His request to transfer the items was rejected. more