Report on the Eighth International Conference of Bil’in Popular Resistance
(Quoting Ma’an News Agency)
Participants in the Eighth International Conference of Bil’in popular resistance that started yesterday and continued into Friday confirmed the importance of sustained popular resistance against the Israeli occupation.
The conference was attended by a number higher-level political Palestinian officials, including the Palestinian Prime Minister Dr. Rami Al Hamd Allah, the previous Prime Minister Dr. Salam Fayyad, Mahmoud Al Aloull-a member of the Central Committee of Fatah, the Governor of Ramallah/Al-Bireh Laila Ghannam, and several members of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian Legislative Council, who were joined by representatives of the national and Islamic forces. Also present at the conference was European Union representative in Palestine John Gatt Rutter, numerous European ambassadors and consuls, dozens of international supporters, and a number of activists of popular resistance from Bil’in and other villages in the West Bank.
Basil Mansour, an activist with Bil’in’s Popular Committee Against the Wall and settlements urged the conference participants to close ranks and formulate a full program to ensure national priorities. He stressed the need to work for grassroots sovereignty for people on the ground and work to uproot settlers from Palestinian land. He also pointed to the important role played by international solidarity activists who transmitted a more accurate account of the Israeli occupation to the international community while often assuming great risk.
Al Aloul, in a speech on behalf of the President of the Conference, said, “We believe in resistance in all its forms as a right of occupied peoples that is guaranteed by international law.’ He called for a strengthening of global economic boycott measures against Israel. Al Aloul praised the experience of popular struggle in Bil’in, whose residents have endured enormous suffering and provided a large number of martyrs in achieving a victory that forced Israel to retreat from its decision to seize additional land in the area.
The conference continued Thursday with a field visit to Bethlehem, and on Friday after the conference’s final statement the participants marches against the wall and settlements in Bil’in immediately after Friday prayers. The concluding evening featured the fourth International Olive Festival under the slogan “Life is resistance” in Bil’in School.