A large public meeting attended by representatives of 15 different European countries was held in Brussels on October 8th. Around 150 participants gathered in the city of the European parliament to listen to, among others, an analysis of the situation in Palestine by Ilan Halevi and a presentation of the Unified Palestinian Call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions by Jamal Jumaâ, coordinator of the Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign.
The call from Palestine for comprehensive action on all levels of civil society to isolate Israel as a colonial apartheid state and to force governments into concrete action (including sanctions and suspension of cooperation agreements) was discussed. Based on the ongoing ethnic cleansing policies that have resulted in 6 million Palestinian refugees, the military colonization of the West Bank and Gaza, the âjudaizationâ of Jerusalem and Israelâs apartheid policies in act since 1948, the call for international isolation has been launched in response to the ICJ decision issued on the 9th of July 2004, which has not been adhered to.
The European coordination on Palestine, ECCP, discussed its European Campaign for Sanctions against the Israeli Occupation in an enlarged public meeting. The response of the public was of overwhelming support for sanctions as well as for differentiated civil society actions ranging from various forms of boycott to divestment initiatives. The necessity to denounce the Zionist project and its criminal goals, including the denial of the refugees’ right of return to their homes and racist discrimination of the Palestinians, as well as the importance of coordination among European organizations and activists, was highlighted.
Questions about the PNAâs apparent incapacity to stand as a Palestinian âAfrican National Congressâ (which was crucial to ending apartheid in South Africa) were answered by Jamal Jumaâ and Ilan Halevi, who stressed that it would be misinterpreting the historical and political role of the PNA in the struggle to expect an institution created in 1994 within a project of statehood to be the guiding force of the liberation struggle and the point of reference for global civil society. The Unified Palestinian Call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions signed by all Palestinian political parties within Palestine (including all those represented within the PNA and the Palestinian legislative council) and over 170 movements, trade unions and organizations, clearly expresses the call of the Palestinian people and struggle.
The European Campaign for Sanctions is thus backed up by a large movement of organizations and initiatives on the ground that work towards the isolation of Israel and the implementation of sanctions.