The Third International Conference on Nonviolent Popular Struggle was held in Bil’in from June 4-6, 2008. More than three hundred people attended, including Palestinians, Israelis and internationals. Many high profile speakers addressed the conference participants, including Palestinian Prime Minister Dr. Salem Fayyad, Dr. Rafiq Husseini, Chief of Staff to President Mahmoud Abbas, Louisa Morgantini, European Union parliamentarian and Mairead Maguire, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate from
Representatives of Palestinian political parties participated, as did peace activists from
Dr. Rafiq Husseini, representing Palestinian President Abbas, supported the nonviolent cause by saying metaphorically that “instead of boxing with Mike Tyson, I play chess with him. This is why I will beat him.”
Louisa Morgantini, Vice President of the European Parliament, made the point that the European Union must hold
Mairead Maguire, Nobel Peace Prize winner from Northern Ireland, stressed that Israel must act like a member of the international community - following international law and stopping settlement construction that is going on unabated. She stated that
Omar Barghouti, an independent Palestinian political activist and doctoral student at
1. Right of return for refugees
2. An end to occupation and colonization
3. An end to a system of discrimination against indigenous Palestinians of Israel who as non-Jewish citizens are treated as a lesser form of humanity
Barghouti said that he is categorically against a two state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict. He stated, “I want a state where Palestinian Arabs and Israeli Jews live together as equal citizens in a democratic state.” Barghouti asserted that it is too late morally and too late politically for a two state solution.
He joined other speakers in calling for economic boycott, divestment and sanctions against
Michael Warschowsky, Israeli peace activist and Director of the
Khadedah Jarar of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine expressed her view that peace negotiations must be undertaken through the United Nations rather than the
Bassman Yassin of the Bil’in Popular Committee read a poem about the Palestinian people and the deep unbreakable ties they have with their land.
Eyad Bornat, President of the Bil’in Popular Committee, spoke regarding the conditions that prompted the Bil’in resistance movement, the strategies that have made the movement a success, the violent reaction of Israeli soldiers to peaceful protests, and the results of the Bil’in struggle.