woensdag 21 april 2010

Europe and the collective failure of its pro-Palestinian activists

by Yassine Channouf

April 17th marks Prisoners Day. The date can be held in two ways: just another of the days in which we focus on Palestine in addition to Land and Nakba-Day, ... or to perceive it as a unique occasion in which we highlight the plight of the most vulnerable of Israel's victims; the prisoners. Confined in their cells, surrounded by barbed wire, watchtowers, ditches, spending years away from their families, their voices are rarely heard. And as always, Israel is winning the propaganda war. It clamors for the release of its' lone prisoner G. Shalit, whose picture stands at life size in Rome, at the city hall with the inscription 'Rome wants its citizen Gilad Shalit free'.
The pro-Palestinian movement in Europe has come a long way from the confines of a politically polarized - and thus shallow and diminutive - cold war Europe. For example, the Dutch branch of the International Red Cross, the ideal standard in non-partisan humanitarian work, refused to collect blood for the Arab victims of the June War in 1967, no matter that Israel was the belligerent. At that time there was no pro-Palestine entity, no voice for the refugees to speak of. In fact, barely anyone knew what Palestine stood for. The exceptional actions of the PFLP and its splinter movement PFLP-External Operations, led by Wadi Haddad, changed this. These two organizations attempted to bring the plight of dispersed - or evicted - Palestinians to the world's attention, and succeeded.

Anno 2010, the pro-Palestinian movement has matured, but still lacks the impressive unity and organization of the Zionist lobby. Standing close to the Arab European League, notorious for its' official complaint to Belgium against Ariel Sharon for inciting genocide, I was able to judge the conduct of other so called pro-Palestinian movements. There are sharp rifts on critical issues; support for armed resistance, the how-many-state-solution, the position vis-à-vis the sanctity of the uncountable UN-resolutions. We have seen in the wake of the illegal invasion of Iraq a clear and unequivocal denouncement of this nascent calamity. This unanimity did not last long.

A Palestinian intifada which had become increasingly violent already split the movement in two. Those who were highly critical of the resistance shared many of the features of their leftist predecessors during the colonial era. Jean-Paul Sartre describes these paternalistic elements in his preface to Frantz Fanon's 'The Wretched of the Earth' as :' The Left at home is embarrassed; they know the true situation of the natives, the merciless oppression they are submitted to; they do not condemn their revolt, knowing full well that we have done everything to provoke it. But, all the same, they think to themselves, there are limits; these guerrillas should be bent on showing that they are chivalrous; that would be the best way of showing they are men. Sometimes the Left scolds them ... ‘you’re going too far; we won’t support you any more.’ The natives don’t give a damn about their support; for all the good it does them they might as well stuff it up their backsides. Once their war began, they saw this hard truth: that every single one of us has made his bit, has got something out of them; they don’t need to call anyone to witness; they’ll grant favored treatment to no one.' It seems that the European pro-Palestinian left cannot crawl out of their cocoon which perceives western values as culturally superior, and are adamant on imposing these values on the Palestinians; most importantly non-violence, and the sanctity of negotiations. The second variety of pro-Palestinian movements, which unequivocally supports armed resistance, have been called terrorists themselves, agents de provocateurs of Hezbollah and Hamas. As if these two liberation movements ever exported their armed struggle outside Occupied Palestine and Lebanon. Regardless of the accusations, it is to the latter of pro-Palestinian movements we want to be associated with. One that is not paternalistic about the Palestinian struggle for liberation and nationhood. It is also these factions that are showing their support on the most important occasions; Land Day, Nakba Day and Prisoners day.

During the third day, the most important of them all, our comrades from 'Action Palestine' will hold a demonstration in front of the Israeli embassy in London. In Belgium we, the League of Arab Students, have organized a symbolic manifestation in front of the European Commission. We took the conscious decision of placing the issue of Lebanese prisoner George Ibrahim Abdallah on the forefront. He is the last of the Arab resistance fighters who is imprisoned in France. This Lebanese Marxist revolutionary has been behind bars since 1984. He should have been released in 2003, but this negligence on the part of the French government is all the more poignant when compared to the efforts being made to secure the release of Gilad Shalit, who also carries a French citizenship. Therefore Hamas must include the forgotten George Ibrahim Abdallah in any future deal. It has a unique opportunity to transcend the scope of its resistance outside the geographical entity of Occupied Palestine, or its Islamism. Demanding the release of a Lebanese Marxist revolutionary in France signals an important shift for Hamas, as this could result in an implicit recognition of its movement. It would also be a triumph for the Lebanese people, as they rejoice for the return of one of their citizens. And from our point of view as activists in Europe, it may blur our collective failure as a shattered and divided movement.

zondag 18 april 2010

Palestinian Prisoners Day: Report of our solidarity gathering

The 17th of April marks Palestinian Prisoners Day. As the League of Arab Students considers and defends the Arabness of Palestine alongside the plight of struggle with its people towards the liberation of Palestine, it was more than our plight to organize a demonstration against the imprisonment and violation of the basic human rights of our brave and steadfast Palestinians.

On this symbolic day, members of the League of Arab Students and other activists gathered in front of the European Commission in Brussels. We urged that the European Union should immediately take sanctions against 'Israel' to end its suffocating blockade of the Gaza Strip and release our Palestinian prisoners who are year by year subjected to torture, deprivation of medical treatment, isolated confinement, deliberate killing and to other inhuman treatments by these Zionist occupiers. Brahim Harchaoui, spokesman of the League of Arab Students, held a speech in which he insisted on the fact that the strive for the release of the Palestinian prisoners is an important constituent in the Palestinian issue. He also clarified what we, as the common people and the authorities, can and should do to contribute to the struggle to set free Palestine. With megaphones, slogans, flags and so on, every person present showed that he repudiates the supine attitude of the authorities towards the physical and mental abuse, massacre and exile of the Palestinian people.

As the League of Arab Students, we will continue this struggle in order to set free Palestine and liberate our Palestinian prisoners. We also fiercely condemn the indifference which is widely prevalent among the Arab regimes and all kinds of normalization with the Zionist entity. We call up all Arabs to unite in order to fight against the worsening of this Zionist aggression.

The League of Arab Students in Europe


zaterdag 17 april 2010

رابطة الطلاب العرب في أوربا تخلد يوم الأسير الفلسطيني

في الذكرى 36 لإطلاق سراح أول أسير فلسطيني التي تصادف 17 أبريل من كل سنة، نظمت رابطة الطلاب العرب في أوربا – فرع بلجيكا- وقفة تضامنية مع الأسرى الفلسطينيين أمام المفوضية الأوربية للإتحاد الأوربي بمدينة بروكسيل لتسليط الأضواء على محنة الأسرى الفلسطينيين داخل معسكرات الاعتقال الصهيونية.

وقد شارك في هذه الوقفة الرمزية العشرات من الطلاب من جنسيات عربية مختلفة رفعوا خلالها شعارات منددة بالعدوان الصهيوني تجاه الشعب الفلسطيني عامة و الأسرى على وجه الخصوص. وخلال كلمته التي ألقاها بين المتظاهرين، صرح المنسق العام للرابطة الرفيق إبراهيم حرشاوي بالمسؤولية الملقاة على عاتق الجالية العربية و المسلمة المقيمة بأوربا تجاه القضية الفلسطينية وركز خصوصا على الدور المحوري الذي يجب أن تلعبه النخبة السياسية الأوربية من أصول عربية داخل مؤسسات صنع القرار الأوربي من أجل اتخاذ مواقف حازمة تجاه إسرائيل بغية إطلاق سراح الأسرى الفلسطينيين على غرار ما يقوم به اللوبي الصهيوني بأوربا لحشد الدعم لإطلاق سراح الجندي الإسرائيلي جلعاد شاليط المعتقل لدى حركة المقاومة الإسلامية حماس.

وفي هذا الصدد شدد حرشاوي في كلمته على تواطؤ الإتحاد الأوربي مع المحتل عن طريق الدعم الاقتصادي والسياسي و الانحياز المكشوف الذي يتجاهل القانون الدولي وكل القرارات الأممية، في حين أنه يتوجب على أوربا على الأقل أن تكون محايدة في الصراع العربي-الإسرائيلي وأن تقوم بما تقتضيه مبادئ الديمقراطية وحقوق الإنسان التي تؤمن بها أوربا.

وفي الختام أكد حرشاوي على أن حل قضية الأسرى واللاجئين وتحرير فلسطين من البحر الأبيض المتوسط إلى نهر الأردن هو بيد الشعب العربي ونخبته الغيورة و لن يكون إلا بالمقاومة بجميع أشكالها.


dinsdag 13 april 2010

Report of our 'Arab World' Quiz

Report of our 'Arab World' Quiz

Tuesday the 6th of April, the League of Arab Students was pleased to welcome her members and other guests on her Arab World Quiz! As our principles lay the foundation of all our activities, the main goal of this quiz was to revive the Arabic language and Arab-Islamic culture among our youth. Therefore the quiz was logically held in Dutch and Arabic.

We started off by introducing our principles which are the backbone of our league. Subsequently two of our members enthusiastically presented the quiz. The participants were thrown questions at that went from general knowledge to the Arabic language, history, politics, music and much more. In the course of the quiz, we saw some people frown of concentration when tougher questions were put to them, but chiefly a lot of laughing was going on, everyone seemed genuinely to enjoy. During the break, the students were given the oppurtunity to have a conversation and get acquainted with each other. After the break, the correct answers were given and the winning group was announced.

At the end of the day, we can undoubtedly say that it was a great succes and we are motivated to organize more events in order to unite our Arab students. We would also like to thank everyone who was present and who contributed to what we may truthfully call a highly pleasant and educative day.

The League of Arab Students in Europe

maandag 12 april 2010

Verraad van sheikh al-Ariefi

Onder het mom van het 'steunen van Palestina' wilt Mohammed al-Ariefi zijn wekelijkse televisieprogramma presenteren in Jeruzalem. Enkele maanden geleden organiseerde de lokale jongerengroep Jongeren Voor Islam in samenwerking met Said Mdaouchi een lezing met de Saudische geestelijke al-Ariefi in Antwerpen. Said Mdaouchi, een kopstuk van de moskeeverenigingen, picknickte enkele jaren geleden met zionistische rabbijnen in Antwerpen. Meer dan genoeg redenen dus om deze al-Ariefi te ontmaskeren.

Eerst en vooral behoort deze al-Ariefi tot die bende Saudische geleerden die in 2006 Hezbollah weigerden te steunen tegen de Israëlische agressie in de zomer van dat jaar. Hij raadde ook aan andere moslims dit niet te doen. Na die eerste flirt met de Zionistische entiteit Israël hebben de terroristische staat en deze staatsgeleerde een afspraak gemaakt in Jeruzalem. Zoals vaak wordt de Palestijnse zaak als excuus gebruikt om de nationale agenda van de reactionaire regimes te dienen. Een veel voorkomend voorwendsel dat wordt gebruikt om bruggen te slaan met de zionistische vijand zijn de zogenaamde inter-religieuze dialogen met zionistische joden. Zo heeft het welbekende hoofd van Al-Azhar, sheikh Tantawi, een joviale ontmoeting gehad met de massamoordenaar en president van de zionistische staat “Israël” Shimon Peres. Saudi-Arabië, net als Egypte vroeger, toont zich meer dan bereid vrede te sluiten met Israël. Getuige hiervan is haar herhaaldelijke allesomvattende vredesinitiatief dat gelanceerd werd door Saudi-Arabië in 2002. Indien Saudi-Arabië haar zin had gekregen dan zou "Israël" blijven bestaan tot in de eeuwigheid, zonder de belangen van de Palestijnen in acht te nemen. Overigens heeft Saudi-Arabië nooit één schot gelost ter ondersteuning van de Palestijnse zaak. Zij zijn wel altijd de eerste om de Palestijnse verzetsstrijders te bekritiseren. In de jaren '70 waren de Palestijnse verzetsstrijders 'ongelovige communisten'. Na de islamisering van het Palestijnse verzet werden ze moslimextremisten en 'terroristen'.

Deze reeks voorbeelden van verraderlijke toenaderingen met de Zionistische vijand tonen aan hoe religie hier wordt misbruikt om de politieke agenda van de Amerikanen en de zionisten te implementeren in onze regio in naam van de islam. Vele van onze jongeren die terecht een zoektocht beginnen naar hun religieuze achtergrond belanden heel gemakkelijk bij deze dociele, dogmatische en extremistische vorm van de islam via propagandaboekjes. Deze versie van de islam wordt gespreid in Europa en wordt gefinancierd door Saudische petrodollars. Als progressieve studentenbeweging roepen we onze jongeren en studenten op om waakzaam te blijven en een kritische houding aan te nemen tegenover deze figuren, groeperingen en tendensen. De islam, net als elke andere religie, kan een bevrijdende en progressieve dimensie hebben. Maar aan de andere kant kan het ook als een drug worden gebruikt om de mensen te manipuleren en achter een bepaalde politieke agenda te scharen.

Een geleerde als al-Ariefi is zich wel degelijk bewust van de politieke agenda van Saudi-Arabië. De leider van dat land gaat prat op zijn titel van 'Khadim al-Haramayn', maar zodra er één geleerde uit de pas loopt belandt deze onder de beschuldiging van terrorisme in de gevangenis. We hopen dat de moslimgeleerden ooit hun rol zullen opnemen om de moslims te mobiliseren om het onrecht te bestrijden die onze natie wordt aangedaan. Maar zolang deze geleerden verbonden zijn aan een staat die normalisatie met Israël als een prioriteit ziet kunnen we niet dan concluderen dat deze geleerden het meest de rol van de duivel op zich nemen, terwijl ze zich huldigen in de gewaden der heiligen.

De Liga van Arabische Studenten in Europa

maandag 5 april 2010

"Rassemblement à l'occasion du "Jour des Prisonniers Palestiniens"

"La Ligue des étudiants arabes en Europe" vous invite à participer à une manifestation statique et symbolique organisée à l'occasion du "Jour des Prisonniers Palestiniens" sur la commune de Bruxelles-ville dans le quartier européen.

Nos objectifs visés:

-insister sur le fait que le sujet des prisonniers est un élément constitutif dans la question palestinniene, tout comme la liberation de la terre et le droit au retour.

-prendre en faveur tous les moyens appliqués en voie de libération des prisoniers palestiniens, et surtout le ravissement des soldats sionistes

-demander avec insistance que l'Union Européen prenne des sanctions contre Israel et que le blocus pris contre Gaza soit levé

-nous condamnons l'indifférence chez les regimes Arabes et toutes sortes de normalisation avec l'entité sioniste et appelons aux Arabes de se réunir pour battre contre l'aggravement de l'agression sioniste

L'heure de départ: 14h00 jusqu'a 15h30
Où?: Rond-point de Schuman à Bruxelles
Quand ? Samedi, le 17 Avril 2010