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The conference was attended by more than 5,000 people

Istanbul, Turkey – Thousands of Palestinians representing diaspora communities from 50 countries have gathered in the Turkish city of Istanbul to discuss establishing a political structure that will represent them better.

The Palestine Abroad Conference, whose opening events were attended by more than 5,000 people on Saturday, is the first of its kind in terms of inclusivity.

Many of the speakers and attendees said they no longer have faith in the Palestinian leadership in the occupied territories because of their failure to deliver tangible outcomes as a result of decades of peace negotiations with Israel.

The conference was held amid a spat between its organisers and the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), which was formed in 1964 as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.

READ MORE: How factionalism is killing the Palestinian struggle

PLO has accused the organisers of trying to undermine and replace it.

While registering his opposition to the Istanbul conference, Tayseer Khaled, the PLO head of expatriate affairs in Ramallah, told Al Jazeera the organisation “had neglected diaspora Palestinians after it signed the Oslo accords with Israel”.

He said, though, that his department was now working with diaspora communities in Europe and the US to resist Israel’s policies in the occupied territories.

The conference was boycotted and criticised by supporters of the PLO who argued that the organisers were motivated by factional interests, not the interests of the Palestinian people.

Currently, the diaspora has no representation within any organisational structure related to the PLO or the Palestinian Authority – a governing body formed in 1994.

WATCH:Is the PA helping or hurting the Palestinians? (2:27)

Previously, the now defunct Palestinian National Council [the parliament in exile] included representatives of the diaspora.

Majed al-Zeer, deputy chairman of the Istanbul conference, said the conference was in itself not an attempt to replace the PLO, but rather to reinvigorate it and make it a home to all Palestinians as it once was.

Others stated that they wished to drop the PLO as the only representative of the Palestinian people, accusing it of becoming an empty shell of its former self. They argued the PLO gave birth to the Oslo accords which compromised Palestinian historic rights.

“We, Palestinians, must stand up to those who abandoned the Palestinian national project and replaced it with the Oslo agreement that ended up protecting and prolonging the Israeli occupation,” said Anis al-Qasem, an expert on international law and one of the founders of the former Palestinian National Council.

They accused the leaders of the Palestinian Authority of squandering Palestinian national rights and becoming a protectorate of the Israeli military and its functionaries.

Daniel Jadue, a Chilean-Palestinian leader, said in his statement that this was not the first time the Palestinian Authority rejected similar gatherings.

“This is because it is afraid it will further undermine its weak legitimacy,” he said.

WATCH: Is the PA helping or hurting the Palestinians? (2:27)

He added that this was not first time his community “participated in an attempt to organise and give a role to Palestinian diaspora in the struggle for the realisation of our inalienable national rights, the right of return, and establishment statehood with Jerusalem as its capital.”

Chile is home to a 400,000-strong Palestinian community, the largest outside the Arab world.

According to the Ramallah-based Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, there are more than 12 million Palestinians in the world.

Half of them live within historic Palestine and the remaining six million live in the surrounding Arab countries and Europe, as well as South and North America.

The Palestinian Authority came into existence as a result of the Oslo accords between Israel and the PLO in 1994.

For many Palestinians the gathering under the Palestinian and Turkish flags with the national anthems of both nations playing was rich in meaning and symbolism.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in its Arab provinces and the subsequent occupation of Jerusalem by the British army in 1917.

Palestinians view Turkey as a supporter and an ally in their struggle to regain their national rights and the establishment of their future state.

The organisers told Al Jazeera that the gathering was entirely financed by wealthy Palestinian individuals and businesses.

(Source / 26.02.2017)

Tags: #ICC4Israel

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Video of the Week: Recent Israel History Miko Peled

Transcription made from The Miko's Speeches

This is a beautiful church so once again thank you to the pastor for allowing us to use this is really beautiful and thank you all for being here tonight and and for caring enough to take the time and listen and participate and be active I always begin my remarks with a disclaimer and that disclaimer is this if anybody here came hoping to hear a balanced presentation then they're going to be sorely disappointed I say this because a lot of things that you're about to hear tonight are difficult to hear and also because I don't believe that a balanced presentation on this topic is possible anybody that cares enough to speak about this probably has a very strong opinion one way or the other almost everybody has feelings and strong emotions on this issue one way or the other for me it's deeply personal and the issue itself is not a balanced issue there is no balance in this issue so therefore I say this because there cannot be a balanced presentation on this and I think if anybody claims that their presentation is balanced they're either misleading themselves or the misleading of their audience this whole issue of Israel and Palestine is covered in so much myth and there's so much there's so much double standard when people talk about this issue and I'll give you two examples

Don't know if you heard Bibi Netanyahu speech at the United Nations I heard it not live but after he actually delivered it and he began and he began it with probably the two most striking examples of myth and double standard and he began by talking about the right of return of the Jews to their ancient homeland and of course the Jews that returned so-called returned to their homeland were not exactly the the same Jews who were expelled from their homeland right because these were expelled a couple of thousand years before that these were not their descendants either because they this is business has been a very long time so these are people the people that actually came back so to speak are people that claim some kind of a heritage some kind of a connection a relationship to the ancient Hebrews and they claimed that they had the right to return to their homeland and this was this is what Zionism was about and this is expected this was you know accepted by the world as the right they had the right to return now if we talk about the right of return of one nation you'd expect that there would be if we accept it as a principle than

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