June 3, 2009 - Public Forum
Palestine After the Israeli Siege on Gaza:
Roots of the Conflict & Prospects for Change
Organized by Mobilization Against War & Occupation (MAWO)
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June 3rd MAWO Public Forum Report
In the first three weeks of 2009, the Zionist Israeli regime devastated Gaza with a brutal siege of bombing and assault by Israeli air, land and sea forces. This genocidal siege indiscriminately killed over 1,400 Palestinian people, more than half of whom were innocent women and children. Although this latest Israeli military assault on Gaza has officially ended, Gaza remains under a crippling blockade of vital food, medicine, fuel and other necessities, which has continued for more than two years.
The struggle of the Palestinian people for self-determination is a fight that still continues, and is a struggle that must be taken up by the antiwar movement worldwide. On Wednesday June 3rd, Mobilization Against War & Occupation (MAWO) organized a forum titled, “Palestine After the Israeli Siege on Gaza: Roots of the Conflict and Prospects for Change.” More than 35 peace-loving people came together for this forum to hear the presentations and to participate in the discussion.
The event started with a series of film clips that showed the devastation that the Israeli siege on Gaza caused, and exposed the war crimes being committed by Israeli forces during the siege. The film clips ended with a view of the overwhelming support for the Palestinian people, with clips of demonstrations against the siege on Gaza from all around the world.
After the film clips, participants heard from guest speaker Shawkat Hassan, a long time Palestinian rights activist and President of the Delta-Richmond East New Democratic Party riding association. Shawkat gave his personal account of the hardship faced by Palestinians under the Zionist Israeli occupation, and explained some of the historical and current aspects of the conflict.
Shawkat’s speech was followed by a discussion period in which participants shared their opinions on the situation in Palestine today. The discussion focussed on the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination – to a homeland established not just in the West Bank and Gaza, but all of historic Palestine.
The forum concluded for the evening with an emphasis on the necessity of the antiwar movement to stand alongside Palestinian people and organize consistent actions with the demand of “Self-Determination for Palestine!”