US-Palestinian figures launch the first Palestinian lobby in Washington

PN/ Washington/

Representatives of Palestinian institutions in various parts of the United States on Sunday, 22 April,  held the first elections to form a Council that represents a community of almost half a million Palestinians in the United States.

The conference was attended by representatives of a large number of organizations Institutions and associations of the Palestinian community, and approved the registration of the Palestinian Council in the United States legally and officially in accordance with Article 501C4.

The council represents the interests of the Palestinian community in the official American institutions, coordinates and unifies efforts between the Palestinian American organizations to defend and support the rights of the Palestinian people, especially in light of the current political situation in the United States.

The borad that was elected included social and political Palestinian figures in the USm including: Dr. Hanna Hanania, Shukri Taha, Naif Mubarak, Masoud Al Khayat, Rama Awwad, Dana Barakat, Thiab Mustafa, Sinan Shakdeeh, Alaa Shalabi, Basem Hishma, Marwan Ahmed Osama Nasser and Khalil Barham.

The conference mandated the council board to establish a political lobby based on the laws of the United States of America, whose task is to exert political pressure on American decision-makers, establish an executive office and a team of professionals and financial support from the community and key organizations.

The conference also approved the establishment of a political action committee to select and support candidates for the US Congress, and support their election campaigns. In addition, it mandates the immediate start of the annual lobbying conference at the US federal level, and meeting with members of Congress, decision-makers and official bodies to discuss issues concerning their homeland.

Dr. Hanna Hanania, head of the American Federation of Ramallah, and member of the Preparatory Committee of the US Palestinian Council, said that the establishment of the Council is an important step as it comes in a sensitive time in which the Palestinian cause is facing great challenges, particularly in the United States.

Hanania said that the next conference, which is due to be held in Autumn, will authorize the management of the  General, and work on the development of internal regulations and vision and objectives and messages to be directed to the American community.

The conference program includes the adoption of next steps, including the organization of activities such as Central Day for Palestine, and a local lobby day, as well as activities of national activities, including a conference to raise financial resources, as well as following up wioth issues that require immediate attention, such as the US decision to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, said Diab Mustafa, chairman of the Palestinian Community Center in New Jersey.

For his part, Sinan Shqeideh said that three major organizations will branch out of the Council in accordance with the laws of the United States of America to find mechanisms and pressure tools on behalf of the Palestinian American community to raise their demands on issues of concern to the community.

Palestinian Ambassador to the United States, Dr. Hussam Zumlot, congratulated the community leaders on the success of their conference, and praised their efforts and decisions in a speech at the end of the conference.

“The unity of the Palestinian-American community is the first and most important step towards correcting the historical error and injustice that has occurred to our people because of the policies and position of the United States,” Zumlot said.

“The real work started today, calling for a new era in the Palestinian-American relationship based on parity and addressing the efforts to eliminate the Palestinian issue from the Washington gate on the one hand, and deepening the relationship between the Palestinian and American peoples on the other hand,” he added.