More than 30 delegates from around the world attended the Jerusalem Initiative conference held in occupied East Jerusalem to call for an end to Israel's illegal occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. The three-day conference from June 2-4 was organised by the Palestinian People's Party and the Communist Party of Israel and was attended by representatives from European, Scandanvian and Australian socialist parties as well as members of the international peace movement, trade unions and women's organisations from around the world.
Conference delegates saw firsthand the impact of the Israeli occupation and the apartheid wall on Palestinian communities in Ramallah and occupied East Jerusalem.
Khalida Jarrar, a Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) member from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, told delegates the first priority was to end the illegal Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. "The Palestinians are an occupied people and this is where we should start, as it violates the human rights and dignity of the Palestinian people", she said. "As long as the occupation continues on the ground and Zionist colonialism continues, there will no opportunity to build an independent Palestinian state."
Jarrar and other PLC representatives also called for the release of the 45 democratically elected PLC members and 68 mayors who were abducted by Israel to undermine the Palestinian national unity government, an end to the Israeli and US economic blockade, the dismantlement of Israel's illegal settlements and wall and the release of 11,000 political prisoners languishing in Israeli jails.
On the final day of the conference, Palestinian Liberation Organisation representative Dr Emil Jarjoui highlighted that "international solidarity with the Palestinian people, the land, their sons in prisons, the martyrs who have died for the land and our brothers and sisters worldwide" is essential. He went on to say that the Palestinian people were calling for a "just peace".