Politicians, intellectuals, organizations, unions and associations from Brazil and abroad are going to debate the Israeli occupation and the creation of a Palestinian state during the World Social Forum Free Palestine (WSF), to take place from November 28 to December 1st, in Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul.
Expectations are for the population to contribute to the debate of the Palestinian cause, at a moment of turmoil in the region.
“We greatly hope that the forum should head towards justice in the Middle East and in international law. This will be an event in which the civil society will provide its contribution to the Palestinian cause,” stated Ibrahim Alzeben, ambassador of Palestine to Brazil.
The event should take place right after Gaza Strip, controlled by Islamic group Hamas, suffered several attacks by Israeli armed forces, resulting in over 160 dead Palestinians.
In the other Palestinian territory, the West Bank, control is in the hands of political party Fatah, led by the president of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA), Mahmoud Abbas. During the Forum, Abbas will be in New York, in the United States, where, on the 29th, he will call for Palestine being granted the condition of “observer state” in the General Assembly of the United Nations (UN).
Thus, he will send to Porto Alegre a representative, Nabil Shaath, Foreign Relations Commissioner at Fatah. According to Emir Mourad, secretary general of the Arab Palestinian Federation of Brazil (Fepal), one of the organizers of the event, in his participation, Shaath “should discuss the international solidarity with the people of Palestine, the right to return [of refugees] and the self-determination, which is establishment of the Palestinian state.”
Representing the Brazilian government, according to forum’s secretariat, the participation of Gilberto Carvalho, head minister of the General Secretariat of the Presidency of the Republic, and of Maria do Rosário Nunes, head minister of the Human Rights Secretariat, has been confirmed.
The first conference of the forum should take place on the 29th, under theme “Human Rights, International Law and prosecution of war criminals”.
On the 30th, there will be two conferences, “Strategies of struggle and solidarity – boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel as an example” and ” For a world without walls, siege, racist discrimination and patriarchy”. On December 1st, the last conferences will be “Palestinian Popular Resistance and the support of social movements” and “Self-determination and right of return”.
In the sidelines of the conference, there will be activities like seminars, presentations and the release of books promoted by Brazilian and Palestinian associations and by 40 countries in South America, the Middle East, the Americas, Africa and Asia. In all, there will be over 120 different activities promoted by the groups participating.
Ever since the establishment of the state of Israel, in 1947, the Palestinians have been calling for the establishment of the State of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital, as well as the right to return of Palestinian refugees who were pushed out of their homes during the formation of the Jewish state and of the Six Day War, in 1967.
Currently, the Palestinians do not have their own state and live in the so-called occupied territories, in Gaza Strip and the West Bank.
Brazil supports the creation of a Palestinian State in the scope of the UN. In December 2010, the government of Brazil recognized the state of Palestine, according to the frontiers established in 1967. In October this year, president Dilma Rousseff restated support during the Summit of South American-Arab Countries (Aspa), in Lima, Peru.
The World Social Forum Free Palestine has generated controversy and pressure from the Jewish community. Through note in which he comments on the recent conflict between Palestinians and Israelis, the Consul General of Israel in São Paulo, Ilan Sztulman, referred to the event as an “attack” that encourages “resistance” and “terrorism.”