International recognition of the right to self-determination of the Palestinian people is an important and vital step in the process of internationalization of the Palestinians struggle for independence, freedom and equality. It may possibly strengthen the Palestinians struggle against the occupation and hand over the responsibility for ending the occupation and eliminating racial discrimination to the international community.
Nevertheless, mere declaration of statehood in the West Bank and Gaza Strip is incapable of ending decades of occupation and racial discrimination based on legal mechanisms that match the UN definition of apartheid, to solve the refugee problem or to lead to civil equality between Jews and Palestinians citizens of Israel. These issues can only be resolved in a just agreement to end the occupation while maintaining the basic individual and collective rights of Palestinians, wherever they reside.
The Palestinian people has inalienable rights, including the right of return, right to self-determination and national independence. The right to self-determination is a collective right of all Palestinians, regardless of geographic location. These rights have been previously recognized by the UN as immutable. In order that the initiative succeed in producing a significant transformation in the Palestinian struggle and create new political alliances, it must demand the right of return of refugees and the rights of the Palestinian citizens of Israel.
CWP accentuates that any diplomatic initiative must maintain the status of the PLO as the official representative of the Palestinian people in the UN and in other international institutions, to protect and promote the rights of the Palestinian people as a whole. The PLO is recognized as representing the Palestinians in the international arena, and draws its legitimacy from the Palestinians in exile, in Israel and in the occupied territories, as well as from recognition by the Arab League and the UN itself. We stress that any appeal to ratify the right of self-determination of the Palestinians must not undermine the status of the PLO as the representative of all Palestinians. In particular, we are concerned with the representation of Palestinian women and men who do not live in the West Bank and Gaza.
We call for ending the occupation, maintaining the Palestinians right of return and the right to resist the occupation by all legitimate and popular forms of resistance acceptable by international norms. We maintain and reiterate our call upon the international community to exert pressure on Israel until it meets obligations under international law and end the occupation.
The Coalition of Women for Peace is a feminist organization against the occupation of Palestine and for a just peace. Founded in November 2000, after the outbreak of the Second Intifada, CWP today is a leading voice in the Israeli peace movement, bringing together women from a wide variety of identities and groups. CWP is committed to ending the occupation and creating a more just society, while enhancing women’s inclusion and participation in the public discourse. CWP initiates public campaigns and education and outreach programs, working to develop and integrate a feminist discourse on all levels of society. For more information, visit <www.coalitionofwomen.org>.