On Thursday, September 2, as Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu prepare to meet in Washington, DC for a new round of direct negotiations, the Palestinian American community will convene at the State Department to demonstrate their support for Palestinian collective rights and reject the ongoing negotiations that marginalize and undermine them. The US Palestinian Community Network, a Palestinian communitybased organization with members and affiliates in over 20 states, says that these negotiations present a threat to Palestinian rights, including the right of return, and that the Palestinian Authority leadership has not represented the Palestinian people, especially the seven million Palestinians living in exile and throughout the diaspora.
Well before the expiration of its electoral mandate last year, the Palestinian Authority has not defended the rights of Palestinians to self-determination, equality, and return but instead has negotiated for little more than the ownership of disconnected Bantustans in the West Bank.
USPCN Coordinating Committee member, Monadel Herzallah comments, “The Palestinian Authority has failed to establish national unity, has failed to steadfastly demand the end of the Gaza blockade, has failed to dismantle the Annexation Wall. Rather than enter into direct negotiations with Israel–in the aftermath of Operation Cast Lead, the flotilla massacre, and increasing aggression against Palestinian resistance, the Palestinian Authority should hold Israel to account by suing them in third party jurisdictions, raising their violations before UN treaty-making bodies, and supporting a grassroots international movement to boycott, divest from, and sanction Israel. Refusing to do so and entering negotiations under duress affords Israel the veneer of diplomatic engagement as it continues to inflict structural violence and racism against all Palestinians the world over.”
Palestinians from Chicago, San Francisco, New York, Ohio, and Washington, D.C. will gather outside the State Department to say that “Palestine is Not For Sale”, present a petition to the Palestinian leadership demanding they end these nonsensical negotiations, and declare that Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority representatives cannot represent Palestinians, whom it has shunned throughout its leadership.