Since I announced the conference I thought it important to provide you with a short report on what were some of the key issues raised at the conference. I did not stay for the closing resolutions so I cannot report on what the resolutons called for.
So here we go:
Over 150 delegates (representing Jewish, Christian, Muslim and secular organisations) attended the opening of the conference. Ronnie Kassrils, a representative from Hamas, Sheikh Thaafir Nasjaar and Ramzi - a Palestinian activist - were the speakers at the opening session of conference.
The primary messages that were articulated in the confence included:
* The struggle in Palestine is essentially about social justice and human rights. Palestinians were forcibly removed from the land of their birth. The atrocities that are committed against the Palestinians people are worse that what was experienced during the apartheid days in South Africa.
* South Africans need to strengthen its solidarity movement and ensure that the movement has within its leadership members of all religious and secular organizations - This is not a n exclusive Muslim question, Christian Palestinians are as oppressed as the Muslim Palestinians.
* Non-Palestinians should not prescribe and/or promote neither a one-state nor a two-state solution to the Palestinian question. That is an issue which Palestinians need to resolve for themselves.
* The South African government should be encouraged to criminalize the practice where South Africans fight in the Israeli armed forces - this is also a form of mercenary activity.
* the conference delegates were urged to consider innovative ways to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Nakba which will be celebrated from the 4- 9 June 2007.
The sessions that followed considered and discussed issues related to the founding myths of Israel.