Palestine Action Days launched at the WSF in Nairobi
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Palestine Action Days launched at the WSF in Nairobi

A large Palestinian delegation of over 20 representatives, both from within our homeland and the diaspora participated in this year’s WSF. The delegation succeeded in bringing their message to the organizations and movements gathered there, joining them in the struggle for global justice.

At the opening ceremony, Laila Khaled represented Palestine, giving a powerful testimony about our struggle for liberation and return.

Within the WSF premises, which were arranged at the international sports stadium outside Nairobi, the Palestinian delegation was present with a stall to spread information and to serve as a meeting place.

A series of seminars on the call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions were organized jointly and have served to promote the call, exchange experiences, and to discuss common strategies for intervention in the WSF.

There was strong Palestinian participation in the Anti-War movement assembly as well. Calls for global action have been endorsed both for June 9/10 2007 – to mark the 40th anniversary of the extension of Israeli occupation in the Palestinian West Bank, Gaza Strip and the Syrian Golan Heights – and around May 15th 2008, the 60th anniversary of the Nakba.

For more information about the global action days on June 9/10, “The World Says No to Israeli Occupation”, the statement issued by the ICNP (International Coordination Network on Palestine).

The Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign has further organized and participated in a series of workshops that have aimed to connect the Palestinian struggle with various global justice movements.

A workshop on Israel and its diamond and arms trades have highlighted the connection between the dispossession and exploitation of African communities – the real owners of the diamonds – at the hands of Israeli and transnational companies. The arms trade fuels continuous wars in the region and the profits Israel gains from the dirty deals serve to sustain occupation and apartheid. General discussions followed the presentation and a series of activists offered to work together to gather the necessary information and to create links with African Human Rights activists and trade unionists to launch a powerful campaign. This will not only strengthen Palestinian activism in Africa, but also drastically increase the overall impact of the global BDS movement (the diamond trade for Israel accounts for some 30% of its overall trade balance).

Other meetings and seminars have been held in conjunction with the Malcolm X grassroots movement and have helped to further strengthen the relationship between the black struggle against racism and for land and liberation in the US with the Palestinian struggle.

Another series of seminars were developed to discuss the denial of food sovereignty with movements and farmers coalitions from all over the world. In the West Bank and Gaza, the Occupation has created a variety of mechanisms that serve to actively destroy the Palestinian economy, isolating Palestine and making any sort of sovereignty impossible. As such, economic and food sovereignty is inextricably tied to the liberation of Palestine.

The WSF coming to Nairobi allowed the Campaign to create fundamental relationships with African movements and organizers. Despite Israel’s attempts to bolster its image in Africa, its efforts are undermined by its historical support for violence, discrimination and instability: support that continues today. South Africans, many of whom spent their lives struggling against apartheid and its legacy, have been at the forefront of a solidarity discourse with Palestine, promoting BDS strategies as a way of securing justice. However, widespread and concrete support for joint struggles with movements throughout the African continent still needs to be forged.

Beyond the opportunities for networking, awareness raising and strategizing offered for the Palestinian delegation, it appears that the WSF in its 7th session is clearly at a crossroads. Next year the WSF will participate in a series of actions and visibility events all over the globe. However, it is important that the movements and organizations that make up the WSF decide whether it should remain a space of discussion or move forward towards actively supporting and shaping the core struggles of the new century.

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