A conference organized by “Patriots to End the Split and Restore the National Unity” took place with wide participation from civil society organizations, PNGO, independent individuals, feminists, trade unions, and youth associations under the headline: “Together to End the Split”. The conference took place in both the West Bank and Gaza Strip in late July. The conference was organized to confirm the unity of the Palestinian people – regardless of the geographical location-; to protect this national unity; and to prevent the weakening of this unity in Palestine either by the dispersion of Palestinians due to the nakba or by the political division within Palestine (between Gaza and the West Bank).
The conference began ceremoniously with the Palestinian national anthem and a moment of silence for the martyrs of the Palestinian people, followed by a report from the interim committee, which shed some light on the current status quo and emphasized the necessity of unity among Palestinians. Furthermore, the report pointed out the dangers of unprecedented provocative settler incursions that seek the obliteration of the Palestinian cause for liberation and independence. The report proposed an action plan for the next upcoming phase that stimulates and utilizes the will of the people as a movement that aspires to end the state of civil discord and its devastating effects. The discussion at the conference has delved deeply into the imminent dangers resulting from the current state of division which directly affects the progress of the national project on the economic, social and democratic levels. For instance, the limited freedom available to Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip threatens the civic harmony of the populace. Moreover, the report concluded that the increasing corruption, the limited societal involvement of the people, as well as the lack of institutions and components for the construction of political system are the main reasons for standing united against division.
According to the final report of the conference “In reference to what has been stated, the fact that hundreds of participants from Gaza Strip, the West Bank, the city of Jerusalem, and the Diaspora called for holding this conference, means that we are on the right track toward ending this division and regaining our unity. This is a division that exceeds a period of nine years, and might continue if the Palestinian national efforts did not unite, in spite of the different political affiliations that the Palestinian people have. A unity between the Palestinian people within national and democratic pluralized based institutions will preserve the unity and the existence of the Palestinian people on their land under the governance of the only legitimate representative: “the Palestinian Liberation Organization- PLO”. After ending the division and restoring unity, all the PLO’s institutions should be re-institutionalized on the basis of national partnership and democracy, in order to accommodate all Palestinians within these institutions. In addition to working on a national program that embodies the common denominators and adheres the national rights of our people”
The statement persisted with the same approach illustrating:
“Patriots to end the split and restore national unity” is not a new party and does require anyone to leave this party… and is not a substitute for any institution or representative body for the Palestinians…
This party is not a project for any group that can be used as a mean to reach new positions nor achieve personal benefits.
We are a Palestinian National Movement; a combination of all Palestinian patriots that unite despite their different affiliations and political backgrounds with a goal of: ending the split and restoring national unity, in addition to rebuilding the representative and the leading institutions in Palestine based on national and democratic basis, which will ensure achieving the national unity aspired. In addition to, ensuring peaceful transfer of power through the ballot.
According to the statement, the conference welcomes and supports the local council’s elections that will take place during October, and views it as a step forward in the correct direction, which should be generalized on all levels to achieve comprehensive national elections”.
PNGO’s participated as a representative of the general assembly institutions, and made several interventions during the discussion that were mainly focused on the importance of deepening the democratic understanding approach, and changing the direction towards a collective united strategy. PNGO also emphasized the importance of protecting public freedoms by advocating and lobbying against any civil rights encroachment especially the ones that are supported by the law, including targeting media outlets, as well as associations and institutions struggling from continuous threats of prosecution and closure.
As one of the Conference’s results, an election for a follow-up council took place, with 45 members selected that represent various sectors within the network, the civil society institutions and other independent candidates from different Palestinian governorates.