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Tens of Arab Leaders call for sanctions on Israel to counter apartheid and illegal annexation

Former Prime Ministers, Ministers and diplomats; prominent cultural and civil society figures - call for “a broad range of effective sanctions” to counter Israeli apartheid and illegal annexation


Based on an initiative that Lakhdar Brahimi addressed to a number of friends in the Arab world regarding the blatant injustice and aggression against the Palestinian people’s rights, dignity and his land, this appeal has been drafted in the three languages: Arabic, English and French, which we hope will be signed jointly by us and by as many people as possible, to deliver it to the United Nations, the League of Arab States and other regional organizations around the world, and for presentation to Arab and international public opinion.

We hope that this initiative will be the start of continued Arab and international action in defense of Palestinian rights and in support of the just struggle of the Palestinian people against the injustice imposed on them.

With much appreciation and friendship.


We the undersigned, Arab intellectuals, former officials, human rights activists, academics, jurists, scientists, artists, and concerned politicians, address the following letter to international public opinion, and invite others to join in signing:

The systematic dispossession of the Palestinian people is reaching a critical inflection point with Israel’s moves to formally annex even more of Palestine, based on the Trump-Netanyahu “Deal of the Century.” In bringing the Zionist design, which goes back to Theodore Herzl, for absolute control of all of Palestine close to complete fulfilment, this Israeli-American plan defies the universal principles of self-determination and peace based on justice. It also involves the most blatant U.S. support ever for these maximalist objectives, in flagrant contravention of international law, and decades of UN resolutions.

The full import of this plan can only be understood in light of the 2018 Israeli basic law, “Israel as the Nation State of the Jewish People”, which states that “the right to exercise national self-determination in the State of Israel is unique to the Jewish people.” As Israel formally annexes and extends its absolute control over all of Palestine, it denies the inalienable right of the Palestinian people to existence and sovereignty in their own homeland both in theory, via this law, and in practice via this plan. It also destroys the basis of any solution based on the tenets of international law, while further entrenching a legal system of institutionalized discrimination, segregation, and inequality throughout the entirety of historic Palestine – with different laws for different ethnicities – that is comparable to South African apartheid at its height.

The Palestinian people – whether under occupation in Jerusalem, the West Bank or the Gaza Strip, inside Israel or living as refugees and forced exiles in the diaspora – are fully united in their opposition to this plan and to the Israeli military occupation’s unceasing human rights violations and murderous disregard for Palestinian life, in spite of lamentable political divisions among their leaders. The Arab peoples continue to support the Palestinian cause and to oppose Israel’s oppressive policies in Palestine and in the occupied Golan Heights, in spite of the halfhearted and feeble response to this plan of many of their governments. We stand in solidarity with Palestinian opposition to this plan, and with the Arab people, who still consider the cause of Palestine their own.

Moreover, we fully support the right of the Palestinians to utilize all forms of legitimate resistance to this plan and to the dispossession, occupation, oppression and systematic discrimination to which Israel subjects them, including their right to campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel. Effectively utilized by the Irish, Indian and South African peoples to win their freedom from colonialism, these are time-honored non-violent means of struggle. These methods were used as well in the civil rights struggle of Black Americans, who today rightly demand boycotts of and divestment from institutions that contribute to their oppression, and call for investment in basic human services to allow their communities to thrive.  We support these demands, and declare that the Palestinian people, too, have every right to use these and any other means sanctioned by international law in their struggle against Israel’s ongoing theft and colonization of their land and denial of their national, political, religious and civil rights.

We declare that whatever the Netanyahu government and the Trump administration do in fulfillment of this plan, which has been condemned by virtually every UN member state, will remain illegal and illegitimate, null and void. This scheme should bring down on both of its sponsors the opprobrium of the entire world.

A passive response, confined to vague diplomatic statements or formal condemnations, will not prevent Israel from continuing to carry out the methodical dispossession and oppression of the Palestinian people. A serious riposte must involve both significantly increased material support by Arab and other states for the Palestinians as they struggle for their right to freedom, justice, equality, and sovereignty in their homeland, and a broad range of effective sanctions by the world community that has respect for international legality and human rights. Only such a firm reaction would impose a high price on the perpetrators of this blatant violation of fundamental principles of international law, and would rise up to the level of the grave threat to world peace and security that the Trump-Netanyahu plan represents.

The undersigned shall work together and with others to insure that a legitimate process is put in place to achieve a just solution to the conflict whereby at long last the individual, collective and national rights of the Palestinian people will be fully recognised.

Signatories in Alphabetical Order:

Abbas Mubarak Boudarga, Writer and Human Rights Activist, Morocco

Abdelaziz Rahabi, Former Minister of Culture and Information and Political Activist, Algeria

Abdessattar Ben Moussa, Laureate of Nobel Peace Prize, Tunisia

Abdul Rahman Al-Tamimi, General Director of the Palestinian Hydrology Group

Abdullah Ezzat Sobeih, Ph.D. of International Law and Palestinian Lawyer

Ahmad Fawzi, Former Deputy of Spokesman of United Nations, Boutros Boutros-Ghali and Kofi Annan, Egypt

Ahmad Ould Tekdi, Former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mauritania

Ahmed OUNAÏES, Former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Tunisia

Aida Touma, Member of the Knesset for the Joint List, Palestine

Ali Fakhro, Former Minister of Culture, Bahrain

Ameer Makhoul, Civic activist and released prisoner

Amr Moussa, Former Secretary-General of the Arab League, Egypt

Ayad Allawi, Former Prime Minister, Iraq

Camille Mansour, Researcher and writer, Palestine

Dia Azzawi, Artist, Iraq

Elias Khoury, Novelist and Writer, Lebanon

Fadel Mahfouz, Laureate of Nobel Peace Prize, Tunisia

Fahd al-Halabi, Syrian Artist, The Occupied Golan

Fathallah Oualalou, Former Minister of Finance, Morocco

Fouad Siniora, Former Prime Minister, Lebanon

Gamil Matar, Writer and Journalist, Egypt

Ghassan Al-Khatib, Academic and Former Minister of Planning, Palestine

Ghassan Salamé, Former Lebanese Minister of Culture, Lebanon

Habib Ben Yahya, Former minister of Foreign Affairs, Tunisia

Hanan Ashrawi, Member of the PLO Executive Committee

Hany Al-Masry, General Director of the Masarat Center for Policy Research and Strategic Studies, Palestine

Hassan Jabareen, General Director of the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel

Heba Yazbek, Member of Knesset for the Joint List

Houcine Abassi, Laureate of Nobel Peace Prize, Tunisia

Issa Qaraqe, Former Minister of Prisoners' Affairs, Palestine

Issam Younis, Director of Al Mezan Center for Human Rights - Gaza, and Commissioner General of the Independent Commission for Human Rights, Palestine

Khaled Farraj, Palestinian researcher

Khamis Al-Jihnaoui, Former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Tunisia

Lakhdar Brahimi, Former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Algeria

Maher Charif, Writer and Historian, Palestine

Mahmoud Yazbek, Writer and Historian, Palestine

Majeed Al Qasmani, Syrian Media Activist

Mamdouh Al-Aker, Doctor and Former Commissioner of the Independent Commission for Human Rights, Palestine

Miloud chennoufi, Academic, Canada

Mohamed Bedjaoui, Former Minister of Foreign Affairs and Former Judge at the International Court of Justice, Algeria

Mohamed Fayek, President of the National Organization for Human Rights and Former Adviser to President Nasser for African Affairs, Egypt

Mohsen Al-Aini, Former Prime Minister of Yemen

Mourad Benmehidi, Former Ambassador, Algeria

Muhammad Barakeh, Chairman of the Arab Follow-up Committee and a Former Member of Knesset, Palestine

Munib Rashid Al-Masry, Palestinian Activist and Businessman

Munir Fakhreddine, syrian Academic, Occupied Golan

Nadir Larbaou, Former Ambassador, Algeria

Raef Zreik, Writer and Academic, Palestine

Ramtane Lamamra, Former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Algeria

Rashid Khalidi, Academic, Edward Said Professor of Arab Studies at Columbia University, Palestine

Rima Khalaf, Jordanian Economist and Politician

Said Djinnit, Former Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations Secretary-General, and Former Commissioner-General for Peace and Security Affairs at the Organization of African Unity, Algeria

Salaheddine Mezouar, Moroccan Former Minister of Foreign Affairs

Salam Fayyad, Academic (Former Palestinian Prime Minister), Palestine

Salim Abu Jabal, Syrian filmmaker, The Occupied Golan

Salim Tamari, Writer and Academic, Palestine

Samir Abdul Hadi, Businessman and member of the Jordanian Senate

Sliman Mansour, Artist, Palestine

Taher Al-Masry, Former Prime Minister and Former President of the Senate, Jordan

Talal Awkal, Writer and Journalist, Palestine

Tarek Mitri, Former Lebanese Minister and Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General in Libya

Waheed Abdel-Majid, Writer and Researcher, Director of the Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, Egypt

Walid Jumblatt, Lebanese Politician

Weam Amasha, Syrian Political Activist, The Occupied Golan

Widad Bouchamaoui, Laureate of Nobel Peace Prize, Tunisia


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