From June 19 to 21, Pax Christi Germany held their annual conference on Palestine, this time entitled âReason of state and international lawâ at the academy of the German Protestant church in Bad Boll. The conference was noteworthy for a number of reasons, among them the focus on concrete BDS actions and the growing of support for the Palestinian struggle in Germany.
130 activists from all over Germany had gathered for three days of discussions and analysis. Many of them represented local organizations and committees. Particularly important was the participation and high-level representation of the Protestant Church in the meeting, showing that German Christian circles are becoming interested in Palestine solidarity. Among the Palestinian representatives addressing the activists were Jamal Jumaâ, coordinator of the Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign and Suhail Khalidi from ARIJ (Applied Research Institute Jerusalem).
The conference opened with an intervention by the speaker on Middle East for the German Social Democratic Party, Rolf Muetzenich. The speech was heavily criticized by Palestinian and German delegates for not taking into account the fundamental precepts of justice and international law in relation to policies and solutions in Palestine. The outspoken reaction of the audience set the level of discussions for the coming two days.
Speeches and solidarity workshops were held aimed at gathering the necessary information and building proposals for concrete cooperation between the organizations and effective solidarity. In particular, two seminars discussed ways to stop German plans to fund the industrial estate in Jalame (Jenin), while a second workshop discussed possibilities of a settlement boycott. The issue of corporate responsibility was raised repeatedly during the two days.
During the final plenary, representatives of German organizations working for Palestinian rights presented a new solidarity platform for coordination in Germany. The initiative had been taken by the German Stop the Wall Coordination, which for several years has taken up the task of pan-German coordination. It was felt that it was time to develop a larger platform on Palestine and transform the coordination into a fully-fledged solidarity network and to include further actors, including the German Protestant Church. The programmatic document presented included among others the call for an arms embargo on Israel and the suspension of the EU-Israel Association agreement.