“If Palestine is occupied, there is no peace in the world”

Opening cerimony - palestine

With the presence of some 500 delegates from more than 70 countries, the III International Conference Dilemmas of Humanity began this Saturday October 14 with the struggle for the liberation of Palestine and against imperialism as central themes.

The massive event, taking place in the South African city of Johannesburg, began with a panel discussion on the situation of oppression currently suffered by the Palestinian people, in the midst of the genocidal offensive launched by Israel against the Gaza Strip.

Leila Khaled, member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Naledi Pandor, Minister of Foreign Affairs of South Africa, and Arwa Abu Hashhash, member of the Palestinian People’s Party, Claudia de la Cruz of the Party for Socialism and Liberation, as well as Ronnie Kasrils, former Minister of Intelligence of South Africa participated in this opening panel discussion.

“We are a people of strength, of will, of dignity, of humanity. We are defending humanity in Palestine. If Palestine is occupied, there is no peace in the world. Palestine is not only for Palestinians, it is a human cause,” said Khaled in her speech.

Leila Khaled Dilemmas

The renowned Palestinian revolutionary leader referred to the recent escalation of violence against the Gaza Strip and denounced that “the imperialist, the colonialist, the capitalist, are still practicing this lie in our land,” but stressed that “our people did not accept this.”

In the same vein, Abu Hashhash expressed that “The imperialist forces, with the US at the head, continue to support and justify the brutal daily aggression of Israel against Palestine.”

“The Zionist powers have tried to portray Palestine as a land without a people…Israel’s killing machine continues, but this will only strengthen our determination to continue the resistance,” she said.

For the South African Foreign Minister, the situation across Palestine is analogous to the plight of African and non-white people during the period of apartheid that her country experienced during the second half of the 20th century. During her address, Pandor also connected the struggle for liberation of the two peoples.

“For 16 years, the Gaza Strip has been under siege, with its people struggling to survive. Palestinians are denied exit and entry. We also had to enter separate entrances here in South Africa. We went through that too,” the African diplomat said.

Opening cerimony - conference

The Israeli occupation of Palestine has accentuated the polarization taking place today at world level, with the progressive forces as a bastion of defense of the Palestinian people, on the one hand, and imperialism represented in the Western powers aligned to the Israeli regime, on the other.

It is in this context that this III International Conference on the Dilemmas of Humanity has set out to debate – and try to find solutions – to the main problems facing humanity today, derived mainly from capitalism and imperialism.

In response to these questions, the South African Minister of Foreign Affairs referred to the difficulties faced by the world’s progressive movements in confronting capitalism. “Progressive values,” the Foreign Minister said, “have been hijacked and now it is difficult to find the voice of the left, and we need to be reborn, organize, be intelligent and strategic.” She stressed that “Beautiful speeches are no use. I may feel good, but if the next day my rhetoric does not lead to action my speech is useless.”

From Johannesburg, the US presidential candidate for the Socialism and Liberation Party (PSL), Claudia de la Cruz, also condemned the hegemonic and imperialist system that her country’s government exports to the rest of the world and said it is imperative to confront it.

“Any strike anywhere against US imperialism is a step towards freedom. We need to defeat capitalism before it destroys us,” said the socialist leader.

On the policy of genocide faced by the Gaza Strip, de la Cruz assured that “The are no two sides of the story, there’s only one side: the side of justice and the side of Palestine.”

Until October 18, progressive leaders, intellectuals and members of people’s organizations will take part in the international meeting which will also address issues such as the construction of socialism in the 21st Century, the organization of the working class, the defense of life and nature, national sovereignty and anti-imperialism, and the current socio-political situation in Africa.