Fourth International Al-Awda Convention
San Francisco, CA, USA
July 14-16, 2006
To all Palestinians living in Al Shataat (exile), to our comrades, friends, peace and justice activists,
Al-Awda, The Palestine Right to Return Coalition, and the General Union of Palestinian Students at San Francisco State University are proud to announce that the Fourth International Al-Awda Convention in San Francisco, like its predecessors in Toronto, New York and Los Angeles, will be a strategic planning conference focused on adapting to shifting realities while rising to meet the challenges of our era. We intend to build on the ongoing work and involvement of our people living in exile (shataat) in our advocacy for our collective and individual rights to return to our homes and towns of origin. We will focus on two main themes:
1) Political and material isolation of the racist state of Israel,
2) Political and material support for Palestinian refugees.
Fifty-eight years have passed since the great catastrophe (al-Nakba) that resulted in the imposition in Palestine of ‘Israel’, one of the most exclusionary-racist states in modern history, and the displacement of the largest and longest-suffering refugee population in modern times. Despite the passage of time, the resilience of our people succeeded in internationalizing our struggle and accumulating a number of important victories. With continued proper and expanded coordination and participation, perseverance will lead to a qualitative shift in public understanding and political balance of power in our favor.
As Palestinians, we are tasked to link the narratives of our parents and grandparents who grew up in the coastal towns of Yafa, Akka or Haifa, or were driven out of Lifta, Ramle, Deir Yassin or Lyd carrying their house keys close to their hearts, to the generation that witnessed unspeakable atrocities under the tin roofs of Shatila, Bus, Jenin, Jabalia and Dheishah, to our generation and our struggles. We are tasked with materializing return to our homeland and dismantling the racist-exclusionary character of the state imposed in our land by its foreign occupiers. Despite the continued expansion of this catastrophe beyond Palestine, we stand at a critical turning point in history afforded to us by the unshakeable perseverance and resilience of our people. That we now represent a “demographic threat” to Zionists in our native homeland, is an urgent window of opportunity for our struggle, and must therefore be amplified by our unique position to rally solidarity among other struggles for justice worldwide in demand for the unequivocal implementation of our right to return. Only through implementation of our return and the dissolution of colonial institutionalized racism directed against the Arab people of Palestine and elsewhere will peace be achieved.
To that end, the Fourth International Al-Awda Convention, scheduled for July 14-16, 2006 in San Francisco, will focus on extending and developing new strategic directions with Palestinian community members and grassroots activists living in exile. It will evaluate the current status of the right-to-return movement, the objective realities pressuring this movement, as well as the Palestine liberation and solidarity movements as a whole. The convention will also evaluate successes and setbacks and conduct workshops to extend and develop new strategic vision and direction as needed. The convention will be a working, highly interactive meeting, resulting in organizational mechanisms for the implementation of resolutions and action plans.
The convention format:
- Political assessment and identification of priorities in light of the escalating situation
- Assessment of Zionist and US imperialist plans
- Assessment of the status of the PLO, The Palestinian Authority, and the return campaign, with emphasis on the unitary identity of the Palestinian people
- Assessment of the solidarity movement with respect to advocacy for the Palestinian Right to Return
- Develop and extend plans for outreach to the Palestinian community and the adoption of the Right to Return campaigns as a central form of organizing in all related activism including but not limited to the media, congress, prisoner and cultural awareness campaigns
- Develop a “Divestment from ‘Israel’ campaign” focused on the implementation of the Right to Return
- Develop and extend the Palestinian Refugee Aid and Support programs
- Milestones in recruitment, divestment, refugee support, related Right to Return activism, and organizational infrastructure over the next year
- Next conference