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Wrapping up meeting at UN, civil society groups pledge support for Palestinian rights

Wrapping up meeting at UN, civil society groups pledge support for Palestinian rights

Civil society groups meeting at United Nations Headquarters in New York for a conference in support of Palestinian rights committed themselves today to joining efforts to end the Israeli occupation and provide international protection for the Palestinian people.

In a plan of action adopted at the close of the UN International Conference of Civil Society in Support of the Palestinian People, the groups pledged to work with their governments to ensure that either the Security Council or the General Assembly authorized an “international inter-position and protection force” as a first step towards ending the occupation of Palestinian territory and implementing outstanding UN resolutions on the situation in the Middle East.

They also agreed to educate the public in their countries about the “realities of life under occupation and the daily violations of Palestinian human rights,” and about the actions they can take to uphold international law and to respond, including through boycotts, divestment, and the suspension of aid and trade until occupation is ended.

The groups called on the signatories of the 1949 Geneva Conventions to hold Israel accountable for its actions in the occupied Palestinian territory, “many of which constitute war crimes” under the treaty.

“We will ring the alarm about the consequences of a United States war against Iraq for the region,” the action plan said. “We will work to ensure that the ‘transfer’ – or ethnic cleansing – of Palestinians that has happened twice over the past century never happens again, and that past wrongs are righted in accordance with international law.”

Calling for an international day to “End the Occupation and for Just Peace,” the groups asked the UN to host regional meetings of non-governmental organizations and another international conference next year “to assess progress and commit to further steps in support of just peace.”

The two-day Conference, organized by the UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, was convened to give civil society organizations from around the world an opportunity to exchange views on the current situation in the Middle East and to coordinate their activities while developing action-oriented proposals in support of the Palestinian people.