All Palestinians are one people united by their national identity and historical roots in Palestine, which as a whole is a human heritage that should be honored and celebrated with pride.

With the upcoming 2018 American Federation of Ramallah Palestine (AFRP) convention to be held for the second time in Ramallah in July, we are extremely encouraged that Palestinian expatriates, exiles and refugees will gather together to reconnect with and celebrate Palestine and its people, culture, and identity.

As a direct descendant of Ramallah, my father’s ancestral place of birth, I invite you to come home as a pledge of commitment and affirmation of your firm support for Palestine. I encourage you to witness our historic and holy sites situated in Ramallah and its surrounding cities, towns and villages. By participating in this year’s AFRP convention, you will be promoting the Palestinian connection to the land and Palestine’s long and rich cultural heritage.

However, with its current efforts to persist in the total annexation and isolation of Palestinian Jerusalem and the entrenchment of the military occupation and its subjugation of the Palestinian civilian population, the Israeli government is attempting to eradicate our identity and erase our strong connection to the land, history and culture.

Nonetheless, we will remain resilient and steadfast. We are not ready to disappear or abandon our rights. By traveling to our homeland of Palestine, you will reaffirm our right to exist in freedom and in dignity. It is our duty to invest in Palestine and stand with our fellow Palestinian sisters and brothers as they work to shape and establish their own destiny and future.

I look forward to seeing you all in July.

Dr. Hanan Ashrawi