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Closing Statement from the People’s Conference for Palestine

The following statement was issued by the convening organizations at the conclusion of the historic People’s Conference for Palestine, which took place May 24-26 in Detroit. Watch videos of the conference’s sessions here.

A few hours ago, in Rafah, the Zionist occupation bombed a camp of displaced Palestinians sheltering in a so-called humanitarian zone. We call it a camp, but in reality it is a space densely packed with over 1.4 million forcibly displaced people who are seeking refuge in makeshift tents. The Zionist entity has made the entirety of the Gaza Strip unlivable. It has made safe havens into zones of destruction. The Zionist occupation has reached new levels of barbarity and this is because the western criminal forces have given the Zionist entity the material, military, and ideological support necessary for them to continue waging this war with complete impunity.

This is not a humanitarian crisis. This is a genocidal war against a colonized people to stifle and break our spirit. This is a war against humanity itself.

But brothers and sisters; do not let the occupation’s rage and blind destruction distract you from the absolute truth. The truth is that there are no bombs strong enough, no fires hot enough, no prison brutal enough to destroy the spirit of the Palestinian people. We are not a people that can ever be destroyed. The occupation does not know that for the Palestinian people, the dead becomes the martyr. The prisoner becomes the teacher. The besieged becomes the free. And the refugee becomes the key that will surely return to its rightful home. Victory is not an abstract concept or an unknown future. Victory is on the horizon. Victory is what we are here to organize for.

Our message to the Occupiers, to the forces of death and destruction: You have murdered and maimed with total impunity; you think your bombs and technologies of war will break the spirit and will of the Palestinian people; you think that your repression of our movement will stop us. But every martyr and every prisoner only strengthens our resolve and conviction: as families are destroyed and men are imprisoned, as our people in Gaza continue to be displaced into refugee tents, continue to face famine, and endure this brutal genocide, the least we can do—the very least that we can do—is to refuse capitulation and demobilization. No amount of intimidation or repression will deter the masses who have been awakened and exposed to the racist and genocidal nature of Zionism. We will be here, in the streets, on our campuses, in our classrooms, in our workplaces, every day until Zionism is defeated and until the total liberation and return of our people.

All of you here today, have been written into the history of the Palestinian struggle. We convened in Detroit, at the People’s Conference for Palestine, with over 3,500 people from across North America, and tens of thousands of people online. We have made our message clear: that we, the movement for Palestine in North America, and across the world, are here to fight until victory.

The convening organizations assembled this conference amidst both genocide and revolution—because it is our duty to grow this movement, as one arm out of many in the ongoing national liberation struggle for Falasteen. Over the course of the last three days, we have taken lessons from our history and present in order to apply them to the future. We have heard from movement leaders their experiences of victory, challenges, and defeats. We have built connections and relationships that will drive our movement forward. We honored our martyrs and prisoners, and the families that continue to carry their legacy.

They attempted to stop us; denying visas for speakers and harassing participants at the airports, and yet we were undeterred. Over the course of the last three days, we have consolidated around the immense contributions of the student movement and labor sector; explored the advancements in the cultural front; deepened our knowledge of how imperialism and imprisonment operate in Palestine; strategized around how to cut ties with Zionism in our workplaces; and aligned on campaign targets.

At this conference, we fundraised over $200,000 to rebuild Gaza and to support our people in Gaza, who have paid and continue to pay the ultimate sacrifice for liberation – and we know this is only a drop in the ocean of what we can and should do.

Friends, and comrades, brothers and sisters, we are up against an enemy that is highly organized. And so, we must be more organized. This is our commitment—the commitment to organization—that we leave here with.

We know that it is the resistance on the ground that will determine the course of the battle for Palestine, and that the battle will be long, and the conditions impossible to predict. However, it is certain that we are one step closer to liberation, and that liberation is not only possible, it is visible, tangible, and demanded by the masses of the world. But in order to march closer to liberation we in the far diaspora must be ready and we must prepare.

And so, before we conclude, we would like to highlight the ways all of you can continue to organize for Palestine. We have decided, as a steering committee, to build out infrastructure to better coordinate and respond to this moment. I want to leave you here with two important announcement.

First, June 8th will mark 8 months of US-Israeli genocide of the Palestinian people, and marks the 54th anniversary of the occupation of Gaza. A month ago, Biden said that the invasion of Rafah was a red line. But now, the invasion of Rafah has continued for weeks, has expanded to the entire Gaza Strip, and Biden’s red line is nowhere to be seen. Instead of following through and stopping military aid to Israel, Biden has authorized billions more in weapons shipments to be used to kill and massacre Palestinians.

Biden can’t draw the line, but we can. On June 8th, we will come together from across the country and surround the White House. Wearing red, and raising our demands high, we will show the world that we are the red line. We demand an immediate ceasefire, an immediate end to the siege on Gaza, the freedom for all Palestinian prisoners, and an end to the occupation of Palestine.

Finally, today, the Palestinian Youth Movement is launching a campaign to advance the demand for an arms embargo which will target the shipping and logistics company Maersk. This is the logistics company that has been responsible for transporting the most weapons and weapons components to Israel since the beginning of the genocide. This is the company that shipped 90% of the weapons that the US used in Iraq and Afghanistan. This is the company that is responsible for shipping thousands of weapons that are being used to massacre our people in Gaza.

We will not only go after one weapons company — we will go after ALL of them. For the past 8 months, people have been picketing and protesting individual weapons companies but now is the time for organized targeted campaigns. By going after Maersk, we are disrupting the literal flow and transportation of weapons of mass destruction. We will be hitting empire where it hurts most. So join our campaign, follow the Palestinian Youth movement to embark on an international campaign because we know that the power of the people can and will bring empire to its knees.

And with this, we end with a quote by the late martyr and revolutionary, Ghassan Kanafani, “Imperialism has laid its body over the world, the head in Eastern Asia, the heart in the Middle East, its arteries reaching Africa and Latin America. Wherever you strike it, you damage it, and you serve the World Revolution.” No matter what, WE will be at the forefront, continuing to expose their crimes and complicity in orchestrating the genocide by generating a political, economic, and moral crisis for imperialism that they cannot ignore.

Long live international solidarity, long live the Palestinian struggle!

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