World Social Forum (WSF) is an annual “opened-space” meeting of civil society organizations that has for purpose to find solutions to multiple global and particular social issues. The goal of the social forum is to take action towards a more democratic and fair world. WSF brings together and links organizations and movements of civil societies from all over the world in order to find, build and develop alternatives to a neo-liberal future, colonialism, and racism through struggles for social, political and economic alternatives to promote justice, equality, and the sovereignty of peoples.
An ordinary WSF conference covers several social issues, but this time civil organizations are coming together in order to develop an action plan towards one main issue - the liberation of Palestine. This event is an actual expression of the human instinct towards justice and freedom in Palestine. WSF Free Palestine is “a process of global mobilizing, networking and strategizing and planning of joint action” . This four day event will take place in Porto Allegro, Brazil from November 28 to December 1 2012, supported by 147 organizations worldwide. The meeting will promote and create an effective action plan to establish peace and justice in Palestine. The event is composed of five core conferences as well as workshops, seminars and other related self-organized events. Five large conferences will cover the main themes of the forum: Self-determination and right of return; Human Rights, International Law and prosecution of war criminals; Strategies of struggle and solidarity; For a world without walls, siege, racist discrimination and patriarchy; Palestinian Popular Resistance and the support of social movements.
The Palestinian-Israeli issue is a conflict over the territory, where religion plays an important role in defining the identities of participating parties. Palestinians and Israeli are not treated equally, and depending on where Palestinians live, they face different challenges. Those who live in Israel seek rights that are equal to Jewish citizens of the state, whereas Palestinians living in the West Bank or Gaza regions are waiting for an end to Israeli military domination of every aspect of their daily lives. Those considered Palestinian refugees seek the right to return to their homes or at least receive compensation and support for resettlement, just like other refugee populations in the rest of the world. Moreover, Israel still applies twenty laws privileging Jews over Arabs . A vivid example is the 1950 Law of Return which grants automatic citizenship rights to Jews from anywhere in the world once requested, while denying that same right to Palestinians.
In Israel the Arab areas are discriminated against in terms of government programs such as development, education and public safety programs. An extensive study of Human Rights Watch found out that "Government-run Arab schools are a world apart from government-run Jewish schools. In virtually every respect, Palestinian Arab children get an education inferior to that of Jewish children, and their relatively poor performance in school reflects this."
Hundreds of Palestinian villages inhabited by more than 70,000 Palestinians in Israel are not recognized by the Israeli government and receive no services such as water, electricity, and sanitation from the government. Meanwhile, hundreds of new Jewish towns have been established on lands, expropriated or otherwise confiscated from Palestinian landlords, and those territories have been filled with Israel infrastructures that isolate the Palestinian communities. Palestinians are surrounded by Israel civil settlements and separation barriers, which destroy local communities, interfere with the rights of Palestinians to work, receive an education, receive medical care, and participate in extended family life. Israel military use regulations allowing them such illegal measures such as imprisonment without trial or charges, deportation, home demolition, additionally they practice torture and collective punishment. Moreover, they interfere in Palestine economy and manipulate it to the benefit of Israel.
How can we make this WSF Free Palestine a success?
WSF Free Palestine mobilization will be aiming to provide an open space for discussion and debate aiming to take effective and sustainable action in solidarity with Palestinian people, strengthen and develop strategies towards peace and justice in the region; determine, implement and promote the rights of Palestinian people and their sovereignty. The main goal of the event is to develop and take effective actions to ensure Palestinian self-determination, fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel, to fulfill human rights and International Law, put an end to Israeli occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and ensure the protection of rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties.
The success of the WSF Free Palestine depends on each concerned civil organization, movement, union and group around the world that stands in solidarity with Palestine and struggle for global justice and their efforts put into the process of the WSF Free Palestine.
A successful action plan will be based on the International Law and UN resolutions. It should be started with the creation of a truly independent, sovereign, and democratic State of Palestine and recognition of Palestinian people’s rights, and an end to Israel’s occupation where all Israeli troops should be withdrawn. Each state should be responsible for maintaining the safety and security of its own citizens along with avoiding any cross-border attacks on civilians in each other’s territory. Jerusalem would be an open city, with two separate capitals within it.