Dear friends and supporters, our group (Voices for Palestine and formerly known as Voices of Palestine) was originally established in the year 2000 and it was within weeks after the 2nd Intifada (Uprising) started. Our main goal then was to organize protests around town in order to let people know about the situation in Palestine since our US media didn’t cover it as much on the news. And even when it did, it was only presented from an Israeli perspective. So we wanted to make sure that the public is aware of the other side of the story, the Palestinian side!
And as the 2nd Intifada (Uprising) escalated and the number of Palestinians being murdered by Israel was increasing by the day and even by the hour, we decided to continue with our daily and weekly protests. We also started to learn more and more about the fact that the public didn't know anything about the Israeli Occupation of Palestine or even about the Middle East in general. That’s when we decided that protests were not enough and that we should think of more effective ways to reach the public. Since then we have been doing our best to work on many fronts in order to keep the Palestinian issue on the minds of people here in the state of WA.
Here is some of what we have been working on for the past fourteen years:
- Organize and also participate in educational events about Palestine at High Schools, Colleges, Churches and Community Centers around the state and the region.
- Reach out to local and national Peace & Justice groups and also Human Rights groups to get their support for our people and our cause.
- Lead media campaigns or contribute to media actions that monitor the coverage of Palestine in local and national news.
- Send local volunteers to Palestine in order to help and support our people and also to witness to the Israeli crimes committed against our people.
- Fund-raise to support the work we do here and also support specific projects in Palestine.
The last fourteen years have been very challenging but yet very rewarding. We have had some setbacks but also had many successes and have gained so many friends and allies. And many of these friends have become very dedicated to helping our people and our cause in many ways. We really need your support in order to make our work much stronger and effective.
Here is our Statement of Principles:
- We seek justice, equality, and a peaceful existence;
- We uphold the principles of the sanctity of human life and dignity;
- We uphold the rule of law over the rule of power;
- We are unequivocally opposed to the killing of any innocent civilians and we reject all justifications for harming the innocent;
- We reject all forms of racism and ethnic and religious intolerance;
- We reject the continued military occupation and colonization of Palestinian lands in violation of international law;
- We uphold the Palestinian Right of Return as an inalienable right enshrined in international human rights standards including Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 13, which states: "Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country"; and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Article 12, which states: "No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of the right to enter his own country";
- We uphold UN General Assembly Resolution 194 recognized by the international community through repeated assertions every year beginning in 1948. Resolution 194 calls on Israel to permit the repatriation of the Palestinians who had been displaced in 1948 and views Israel as being legally required to do so. Resolution 194, Paragraph 11 clearly recognizes this right-to-return by affirming that every refugee should be permitted to return and clearly identifying it as an individual choice that cannot be made by others on behalf of the individual. It states "that the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbors should be permitted to do so as the earliest practicable date";
- We affirm that every Palestinian has a legitimate right to return to his or her original home and to absolute restitution of his or her property; We affirm that Palestinian human rights cannot be negotiated away; We believe that dialogue and negotiations should concern the implementation of international law and human rights standards, not the laws and standards themselves;
- We welcome the efforts of all like-minded, peace-loving people.