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Responding to an initiative of the MPPM, seventy individuals, representing all sectors of Portuguese society, which include three Pessoa Awardees, signed an appeal in which is recommended to the Portuguese government "the adoption in all international forums, and in particular the Security Council and UN General Assembly, of a position favourable to the recognition of the Palestinian state in pre-1967 borders, including East Jerusalem, as a full member of the United Nations." The underwriters include university professors and researchers, members of European and Portuguese Parliament, mayors and city councillors, union leaders, artists, directors and actors, writers and poets and other professionals.
The MPPM expresses its deep concern at the continuing deterioration of the situation in Palestine and the dangers of an escalation of military confrontation widespread in North Africa and the Middle East. The living conditions of the Palestinian people become worse day by day, and Israel persists, with impunity, in the way of deepening colonization of the occupied territories and refusal to recognize the national rights of the Palestinian people. It is unacceptable that the proposed recognition of Palestine as a Member State of the United Nations - a proposal just and legitimate, according to international law and the legitimate aspirations of national liberation of the Palestinian people, which will be taken to the UN in the coming weeks - is the subject of resistance, threats and blackmail by the Israeli authorities and the U.S..
A year ago we were hit - the MPPM and, above all, its great cause and reason for being, Palestine - by the physical loss of the voice of the most eminent of our founders, José Saramago.
This is an evocation and a felt tribute to his memory.
Saramago's voice - with a global reach through the art of the word, the clarity of the thought and the boldness of the positions - has been heard for long in favour of two of the greatest causes of humanity: liberation and peace.
Saramago always wanted to join his lucid, warm, firm voice to that of other portuguese in initiatives that paved the way for MPPM - Movement for the Rights of the Palestinian People and Peace in the Middle East - and especially in defence of the life and the future of the heroic and martyr Palestinian people.
It was with heartfelt emotion that many people who gathered at the Casa do Alentejo, Lisbon, on last May 16 at the invitation of MPPM, to mark the 63rd anniversary of the Nakba - the Catastrophe - responded to the interventions of the different speakers.
First spoke Maria do Céu Guerra, President of MPPM, who described the long process of occupation of Palestinian land by the Zionists and the consequent expulsion of its inhabitants.
Fixing its inception in 1897, following the first Zionist Congress held in Basel, which established as a goal to create a home for the Jewish people in Palestine, an objective confirmed five years later with the creation of the Jewish National Fund to acquire land in Palestine that should be handed "empty of its Arab inhabitants." Since then, the Palestinian people were persecuted, expelled from their land, deprived of their possessions, decimated.
Following publication, on the Washigton Post of April 1st, of a letter from Judge Richard Goldstone, to withdraw statements contained in the report of the Fact-Finding Mission to the conflict in Gaza, who he had chaired, we have seen a disinformation campaign with the clear aim to confuse public opinion, discredit the report and whitewash the crimes committed by Israel.
After the partial withdrawal by Goldstone, Prime Minister Netanyahu said that Israel is exonerated of any errors in Operation Cast Lead and that the report should be set aside, but forgetting that the withdrawal of Goldstone, not subscribed by other members of the Mission, concerned only to one of the thirty-six claims against Israel, that which stated that the Israeli armed forces had deliberately targeted civilians, and that based on the testimony of the Israeli army itself!
Last Wednesday, 4th of May, took place in Cairo, the ceremony of ratification of the agreement signed on the eve, puting an end to the division between Fatah, the Palestinian movement that rules the West Bank, and Hamas, the Palestinian movement who controls Gaza Strip.
The MPPM welcomes this initiative, which may constitute a decisive step towards the recognition by the international community of a sovereign Palestinian state, independent and viable, formed within the pre-1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.
The agreement was signed by the representatives of 13 Palestinian resistance movements, in particular, in addition to Fatah and Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) and the Palestinian People Party.
The Maghreb and the Middle East live in times of great social and political upheaval. Winds of change are blowing in the Arab World. In Egypt, Tunisia, Jordan, Yemen, Algeria, Morocco - among others - the people, particularly the young, the unemployed and the workers take to the streets and squares demanding jobs, social rights, better conditions of life, liberty, democracy and peace.
The major Western powers - especially the United States and the European Union - move between the inevitable recognition of popular demands and the protection of dictators, faithful guardians of their interests in the region.
Inseparable from the international crisis, the deep social attacks and setbacks that characterize it and the instability of the international situation, the events in this region of the globe already have an impact and importance that goes far beyond the national and regional boundaries.
The National Directorate of MPPM - Portuguese Movement for the Rights of the Palestinian People and Peace in the Middle East - has been following with great attention the contestation that currently takes place in many countries of the Arab world against the dictatorial regimes in force there.
Consequence of decades of poverty, unemployment, successive increases in the cost of living, corruption, nepotism, disproportionate and unlawful enrichment of the ruling classes, oppression and repression carried out in obedience to the economic and political interests of Western powers, the events that take place now represent the desire of people for an authentic social justice, the exercise of fundamental freedoms and the establishment of democratic governments.
The National Movement for the Rights of the Palestinian People and Peace in the Middle East vigorously rejects the presence in Portugal, at the invitation of the Portuguese Government, of the current Foreign Minister of Israel, Avigdor Lieberman, who is leader of a xenophobic right-wing party, and is known for his positions overtly racist and favourable to the expulsion of the Arab population of Palestine. As Foreign Minister, he has taken prominent position in the illegal and criminal policy of occupation and colonization of Palestinian territories and the intensification of persecution of the Arab community in Israel and of the human rights organizations that denounce the Zionist policy of occupation.
The reception given by the Portuguese government to such a personality is an affront to the democratic and solidarity sentiments of the Portuguese people, and a blatant violation of Article 7 of the Constitution.
Abdullah Hourani died yesterday in Jordan, according to news agency Ma'an. The PLO Executive Council announced his death in a statement that remembers him as a faithful leader of the Palestinian struggle and co-founder of the contemporary Palestinian revolution. "His vast national and patriotic activities helped protect Palestinian identity."
Abdullah Hourani was in Lisbon in 1979, during the period before the great World Conference of Solidarity with the Arab People and their Central Cause - Palestine, to collaborate in the preparatory work. He had the political courage to be the only Arab person who, under the conditions then, spoke in favour of the existence of two states: Israel and Palestine.

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