On the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the Nakba.
The European Palestinian Council for Political Relations organized a political conference in Brussels, the capital of the European Union.
Entitled: “75 years, Ongoing Nakba” commemorating The Nakba, the European Palestinian Council for Political Relations organized in Brussels, on Tuesday 02/05/2023 a political conference at the Press Club Europe, attended and participated in by a spectrum of European and Palestinian parliamentarians, politicians, jurists and academics, as well as journalists, activists, and representatives of civil society organizations active in the European continent.
The young Swedish of Palestinian origin, Fatima Odeh, who was the moderator of the conference, started by introducing the conference and its program, which began with his welcoming speech of Mr. Majed Al Zeer, the CEO of the host institution.
Al Zeer called attendees for a minute of silence in honor of the spirit of the martyr Khader Adnan, who went on a hunger strike for 86 days, after which he spent in the occupation prisons as a result of deliberate medical negligence.
In his speech, Al-Zeer emphasized the continuous suffering experienced by the Palestinian people over the past 75 years, which bears renewed evidence confirming the extent of the injustice to which the Palestinian people were subjected.
He referred to the vital role and important meetings that the council held throughout the year, highlighting the most important goals it seeks to achieve politically and legally by building bridges of communication with all political and human rights forums in the European continent.
The conference consisted of four seminars that dealt with ongoing crime and ways to deal with it.
In the first session, which dealt with the historical narrative of the Nakba and the ethnic cleansing to which the Palestinians are subjected, Professor Hassan Ayoub, a professor of political science at Al-Najaj University in Nablus, explained the veracity of the Palestinian narrative and the great attempts of the occupation to overturn and falsify the facts, pointing to the importance of the steadfastness of the Palestinian people and the exertion of all means to convey the truth to the communities and policy makers in Europe.
The distinguished Belgian journalist, Baudouin Loos, explained the strength of the Israeli media tools and their ability to falsify facts and convey them upside down to the West, and stressed the need for cooperation between Palestinians and European solidarity to confront this.
As for the Chairman of the Palestine Committee in the European Parliament, Manu Pineda, he thanked the European Palestinian Council for Political Relations for this initiative and presented a description of the apartheid regime of the occupying state, and demanded an end to this ongoing Nakba experienced by the Palestinian people.
The Belgian journalist and photographer, Johan Depoorter, presented an exhibition of his photographs of some destroyed and depopulated Palestinian villages in 1948, explained the nature and extent of the crime, which did not distinguish between Muslim and Christian villages.
Vivid testimonies and pictures illustrating the extent of the suffering of Palestinian refugees in the diaspora camps, presented by the Danish writer and teacher Bjørn Meidell, who focused on the necessity of writing history and archiving it as a basis for recovering the confiscated property of refugees.
While the conference highlighted in its second session the extended effects of the Nakba related to settlements, Jerusalem and Palestinian prisoners, Gerard Jokman, head of the Dutch Rights forum, , presented facts and models illustrating the suffering experienced by the Palestinians in occupied Jerusalem.
Dr. Ahmed Sakina, head of the European Initiative for the Removal of the Wall and Settlements, explained the human, political and legal dimensions of the settlement issue and the weakness of the European position towards the ongoing settlement violations of the occupation, calling on European decision-makers not to be content with political rhetoric and to proceed with a practical pressure move towards the Israeli occupation.
For his part, Hamdan Al-Damiri, a member of the European Alliance for Supporting the Palestinian Detainees , referred to the suffering that prisoners go through inside the occupation’s prisons and the violations practiced against them inside the Israeli cells, which claim the lives of prisoners, as happened with the martyr Khader Adnan.
Belgian parliamentarian Luc Vancauwenber described the Palestinian situation, the extent of European double standards, and the huge gap between political discourse and concrete action on the ground, explaining the need to activate the European roles to stop the ongoing Israeli violations.
The conference, in its third session, addressed the blockade of Gaza and the Palestinian refugees
Where the Belgian parliamentarian, and the President of the Flemish Parliament in Brussels warned against merely being satisfied with humanitarian support for the Palestinians and demanded finding solutions and creating practical positions on the issue.
Dr. Obeida Al-Mudallal, Head of the Gaza Relief Foundation, highlighted the forms of human suffering experienced by the besieged Gaza Strip and the refugees there, calling on the international community and the European Union to shoulder its responsibilities and work to stop the blockade on the Strip.
Ali Huwaidi, head of Commission 302 for the Defense of the Rights of Palestinian Refugees in Lebanon, portrayed the continuous human and legal suffering experienced by Palestinian refugees inside the Lebanese camps since 1948, stressing the importance of UNRWA and calling on everyone to support it so that it can play its role.
François Alfonsi, a member of the European Parliament and the Free Europe Alliance, stressed for his part that there is a tangible growth of European positions about the Palestinian issue, but he is still facing a strong Zionist lobby that prevents taking practical political positions in support of the Palestinians, he alarmed about the importance of coordination and integration by working together to get out of this crisis.
The fourth and final session, in which the speakers dealt with the required political, human rights and human roles towards this historical grievance and its effects, where the legal professor at the Belgian ULB University reviewed the laws and legal rules on which the political, economic and human rights confrontation against the occupation can be based.
President of the Free Europe Alliance, which unites forty-three European political parties, Lorena Lopez called for coordination and joint action, referring to the specificity of the Palestinian cause and acknowledging that the current international position does not rise to the level of crimes committed by the Israeli occupation.
Mr. Omar Kitmitto, the former Palestinian ambassador to Norway and Denmark, presented his diplomatic experience and explained his realistic experience of negligence towards the Palestinian cause, despite the clarification of facts to the Europeans.
As for the role of European NGOs, Doreen van den Boer, responsible for the Middle East file in the Christian organization (CIDSE Together for global justice), explained the important role that civil society institutions can play in bridging the gap between the position of European peoples and governments concerning the Palestinian cause.
Ahmed Frassini, coordinator of EUPAC and specialist in media strategy, shed light on the Palestinian narrative, explaining the impossibility of erasing the Palestinians from the history, calling for cooperation, and setting the determinants of a joint action strategy in which everyone joins efforts in favour of the rights of the Palestinian people, including the right to self-determination, resistance to occupation and return.
Dr. Mazen Kahil, Vice President of the European Palestinian Council for Political Relations EUPAC, concluded the conference by reading its outputs and recommendations and calling for starting work on implementing them, as stated in the working papers of the participants and supported by the attendees.
On the sidelines of the conference and as a background, an exhibition of caricatures held, in which 12 artists of different nationalities, Palestinian, Arab and European, participated. They presented pictures of the Nakba and its crimes, paintings of return, and works about silencing mouths and suppressing freedom of expression regarding any issue related to Palestine.