Palestinian unity is vital if the community is to obtain its right, community leaders across the UK, including Ambassador of the State of Palestine, Husam Zomlot, stressed during an online webinar yesterday.
Organised by the Palestinian Forum in Britain, in partnership with the Palestinian Community Association, the webinar was entitled: ‘The role of the Palestinians of Britain in strengthening national unity to face the challenges facing work for the Palestinian cause‘.
“Palestinian unity is an existential issue, and division is the loophole of the occupation, stressing that elections are the best way to return to the people, to make its decision and determine its fate,” Zomlot said. He added that “despite America objection, we held the elections in 2006 because we consider the elections to be a tool of struggle.”
The Palestinian official noted that Britain is a positive environment for change insofar as public opinion in the country as a whole supports Palestinian rights.
READ: WHO slams Israel for health violations against Palestine
Muhammad Sawalha, a founding member of the Palestinian Forum in Britain, however expressed concern about the future of Palestinian reconciliation. “Reconciliation this year looks like previous failure trials, as elections without Palestinian consensus and unifying the work of institutions is not conducive to resolving the division,” he noted.
Sawalha called for reforming the PLO first, followed by an end to the factors behind internal division, such as stopping arrests, lifting the siege on Gaza, handing over salaries, and agreeing on a popular unitary programme that includes all factions.
“It is necessary to engage in British politics,” he said, as this is part of the struggle for Palestinian rights.
British groups call for unity in support of Palestinian rights
Palestinian academic and writer Dr. Ghada Al-Karmi stressed that Palestinians should use their presence in Britain to come together in opposition of the attacks perpetuated by the Zionist movement toward Palestinians’ history, cause and existence. Al-Karmi added: “Unfortunately, the Zionist movement succeeded in obtaining support in Britain, and if the members of the community cooperated in standing as one entity, we would have achieved a lot for our cause, but our problem lies in the dispersed individual work and our need for a unified Palestinian leadership that we can trust.”
“Political differences should not prevent us from coordinating among ourselves. We must look for common denominators, at a minimum, and think in a strategic way to develop work for Palestine in Britain,” said British-Palestinian journalist Zaher Birawi. Adding: “Everyone has his/her mind; And his/her political or even organisational background, but when working for Palestine in Britain, we must not take these contentious issues with us as we do not want this difference to deprive us of the unified work.”
READ: Will Biden be cast in Obama’s image with regard to the Palestinians?