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Friday, August 20, 2010
Letter from Palestinians to Abbas: Retract refusal to deny Jewish right to Israel

Don't deny our rights: An open letter to Mahmoud Abbas
MAAN Published Wednesday 18/08/2010 (updated) 18/08/2010 19:52 22 July 2010

We are Palestinians of diverse perspectives and affiliations -- scholars,
intellectuals, artists, activists, trade unionists, human rights advocates
and civil society leaders, inside historic Palestine and in exile -- who are
united in our commitment to the fulfillment of the fundamental rights of all
Palestinians, particularly our inalienable right to self-determination. This
universally sanctioned right encompasses, at a minimum, freedom from
occupation and colonization in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including
Jerusalem; full equality for Palestinian citizens of Israel; and the right
of return for Palestinian refugees and their descendants.

During a 9 June meeting with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee,
you reportedly said: "I would never deny [the] Jewish right to the land of
Israel," a statement that you have yet to retract. We regard this
announcement, which adopts a central tenet of Zionism, as a grave betrayal
of the collective rights of the Palestinian people. It is tantamount to a
surrender of the right of Palestinian citizens of Israel to live in equality
in their own homeland, in which they have steadfastly remained despite the
apartheid regime imposed on them for decades. It also concedes the right of
Palestinian refugees to return to their homes.

No Palestinian institution or leader has ever accepted an exclusive Jewish
claim to Palestine, which is irreconcilable with the internationally
recognized rights of the Palestinian people. Our rights inhere in us as a
people; they are not yours to do with as you please.

We, as Palestinians urgently need a legally and democratically elected
leadership that is responsible, capable and committed to the fulfillment of
our national rights and aspirations to live in freedom, dignity and just
peace in our ancestral homeland. We call on all Palestinians to immediately
revive the democratic processes that our people have struggled so hard to
build, so that we can designate leaders with an effective vision and
strategy for achieving our rights as a people.

Initial Signatories:

Saleh Abdel-Jawad, Assoc. Prof. of History, Birzeit University (Ramallah);
Abdul-Rahim Al-Shaikh, poet and academic (Jerusalem); Naseer Aruri, Prof.
Emeritus, University of Massachusetts (Dartmouth); Mourid Barghouti, poet
and author (Ramallah/Cairo); Omar Barghouti, commentator and human rights
activist (Jerusalem); Ramzy Baroud, author and editor of the Palestine
Chronicle (Seattle); George Bisharat, Prof., UC Hastings College of the Law
(San Francisco); Haidar Eid, academic and boycott, divestment and sanctions
activist (Gaza); Samera Esmeir, Assist. Prof. of Rhetoric, Univ. of
California, Berkeley (Haifa); Wael Hallaq, Prof., Columbia University (New
York); Nadia Hijab, author and human rights advocate (Washington, DC); Jamil
Hilal, sociologist and author (Ramallah); Islah Jad, Assist. Prof. of Gender
& Development, Birzeit Univ. (Ramallah); Hatem Kanaaneh, medical doctor and
author (Sakhnin); Ghada Karmi, author and Fellow, Exeter University
(Exeter); Nur Masalha, Prof. of Religion and Politics, St. Mary's Univ.
College (London); Joseph Massad, Prof., Columbia University (New York); Jean
Said Makdisi, author (Beirut); Saree Makdisi, Prof., University of
California at Los Angeles (Los Angeles); Zakaria Muhammad, novelist
(Ramallah); Karma Nabulsi, Fellow in Politics, University of Oxford
(Oxford); Eyad Sarraj, psychiatrist (Gaza)


Mohammed Abu Abdu, Pal. Student Campaign for Academic Boycott of Israel
(PSCABI) (Gaza); Bashir Abu-Manneh, Prof., Columbia University (New York);
Mohsen Abu Ramadan, civil society activist and independent political
commentator (Gaza); Salman Abu Sitta, Palestine Land Society (London);
Abdefattah Abusrour, President of Palestinian Theatre League, Jerusalem -
General Director of Alrowwad Cultural and Theatre Society, (Aida refugee
camp, Bethlehem); Majeed Al-Barghouthi, poet and writer (Amman); Musa
Al-Hindi, Coord. Comm. member, US Palestinian Community Network (USPCN);
Hala Al-Yamani, Assist. Prof., Bethlehem University (Bethlehem); Lubna
Arikat, community activist (San Diego); Huwaida Arraf, attorney and human
rights activist, New York; Khaled Barakat, writer and activist, Vancouver;
Nasser Barghouti, human rights activist (San Diego); Diana Buttu, lawyer
(Ramallah); Yasmeen Daher, lecturer at Birzeit University and human rights
activist (Jaffa); Seif Da'na, Prof. of Sociology, University of Wisconsin,
Parkside (Parkside); Lamis J. Deek, attorney and human rights advocate (New
York); Noura Erakat, human rights attorney (Washington, DC); Leila Farsakh,
Assoc. Prof., University of Massachusetts (Boston); Jess Ghannam, Prof.,
University of California, San Francisco (San Francisco); Lubna Hammad,
lawyer and human rights activist, Adalah-NY (New York); Rema Hammami, Assoc.
Prof. of Anthropology, Birzeit University (Ramallah); Nizar Hasan, filmmaker
(Nazareth); Zaha Hassan, civil rights attorney and human rights advocate
(Oregon); Kamel Hawwash, Assoc. Prof. in Civil Engineering, University of
Birmingham (Birmingham); Monadel Herzallah, US Palestinian Community Network
(USPCN), San Francisco; May Jayyusi, Exec. Director of Muwatin, Palestinian
Institute for the Study of Democracy (Ramallah); Ray Jureidini, sociologist,
Cairo; Jamal Kanj, author, (Nahr el Bared refugee camp); Osamah Khalil, PhD
Candidate, University of California, Berkeley (Berkeley); Suleiman Mansour,
visual artist (Jerusalem); Dina Matar, academic, SOAS - University of London
(London); Moammar Mashni, Co-Founder, Australians for Palestine (Melbourne);
Mazen Masri, lawyer and human rights activist (Toronto); Fouad Moughrabi,
Prof. and Head of Dept. of Political Science, Univ. of Tennessee
(Chattanooga); Rana Nashashibi, activist, Coalition for Jerusalem
(Jerusalem); Mary Nazzal-Batayneh, Barrister, Palestine Legal Aid Fund
(London); Mahmoud Oriqat, Engineer (San Diego); Mazin Qumsiyeh, Prof.
(Bethlehem); Ahmad Sadi, Academic (Galilee); Grace Said, activist
(Washington, DC); Dalal Yassine, lawyer and human rights advocate (Beirut);
Raja Zaatry, journalist (Haifa); Elia Zureik, Prof. Emeritus of Sociology,
Queen's University (Kingston, Ontario)

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