Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network participated in a series of events in Denmark in early October, organized by the Internationalt Forum and Boykot Israel. Charlotte Kates, Samidoun’s international coordinator, joined Palestinian leftist writer and organizer Khaled Barakat for several speaking events discussing the Palestinian situation today and how international solidarity can help to support the Palestinian liberation struggle.
On 4 October, Barakat and Kates presented at an event organized by Internationalt Forum Nordsjælland at the smelters’ union hall in Helsingør. There, Kates focused on the struggle of Palestinian political prisoners inside Israeli jails. After presenting key statistics about the number of prisoners, their conditions of confinement and the colonial system they face, she discussed the importance of international solidarity with Palestinian prisoners.
In particular, she noted that Palestinian prisoners represent a real Palestinian leadership – unlike the Palestinian Authority’s ongoing security coordination with Israel – that the occupation desperately seeks to isolate not only from the Palestinian people but from international movements for justice. She also noted several important cases of imprisoned Palestinians, including Ahmad Sa’adat – the jailed General Secretary of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, first jailed by the PA under British and U.S. guard – Khalida Jarrar and Khader Adnan.
Barakat provided a thorough and wide-ranging overview of the Palestinian liberation movement, emphasizing that the struggle of the Palestinian people is an anti-colonial struggle that confronts an array of enemies and repressive forces that are joined together by common interests. He noted that Israel, the United States and Arab reactionary regimes come together to impose the ongoing colonial project in Palestine. He also emphasized the importance of the Palestinian popular classes in the liberation struggle and the role of the Palestinian Authority in serving only the interest of the wealthiest capitalists, while further marginalizing the majority of the Palestinian people.
He also focused on the importance of the right of return to the liberation project, especially as the U.S. is currently working to attempt to liquidate this fundamental right. Over half of the Palestinian population are refugees, Barakat noted, and their right to return has been denied them on the basis that their existence is a threat to the ongoing racist domination of Zionism. He encouraged Palestinians and solidarity activists to envision a future for Palestine “beyond Israel,” including the establishment of a democratic Palestine.
On Friday, 5 October, Barakat and Kates joined several Internationalt Forum organizers, including Irene Clausen, the author of the new book “PFLP and Palestine,” for a meeting with Christian Juhl, a member of the Danish Parliament representing the Red-Green Alliance. They discussed important issues facing Palestinians today, including the Great March of Return in Gaza and the need for international support to break the siege and support Palestinian refugees’ right to return. Kates discussed several cases of Palestinian political prisoners, including that of Mustapha Awad, a Belgian citizen jailed by the Israeli occupation, and Raja Eghbarieh, a Palestinian leader in occupied Palestine ’48 whose case further exposes the lie of “Israeli democracy.”
Barakat also was interviewed by Arbejderen, the daily newspaper of the Communist Party of Denmark, about a range of issues facing the Palestinian people today. “Zionist Israel, the imperialists in the United States and other Western countries, as well as the reactionary Arab regimes, spoken by Saudi Arabian king Bin Salman, have collapsed to break the Palestinian cause. They want the question completely off the table, so the focus is shifting to the fight against Iran,” Barakat said. He also addressed the devastating effects of the Oslo agreement as well as the need for more action to boycott Israel. “Israel is a racist and colonialist state that is doomed to dissolve. I believe that at one point Israel is going to become a burden for imperialism, as we have seen elsewhere in world history, such as in South Africa,” he said.
That evening, they presented at the Internationalt Forum’s Solidarity Boutique in Copenhagen. Kates again reviewed the situation of Palestinian political prisoners, noting the inadequacy of statistics in conveying how deeply imprisonment affects the Palestinian society and its political movement. She noted that the Palestinian prisoners represent the Palestinian resistance in all of its forms, also making it politically critical for the solidarity movement to emphasize its support for their freedom struggle. In addition, she also talked about how the Israeli occupation denies Palestinians’ right to education – through the imprisonment of children who lose years in school as well as the attacks on university students and professors. She urged the boycott of Israeli academic institutions, including study abroad programs, in protest of the violation of Palestinians’ right to education.
Barakat provided a thorough analysis of the Palestinian political situation, highlighting how the Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian capitalist class have hijacked the liberation movement and emphasizing the need to focus on the struggle rooted in the refugee camps and among the popular classes. He noted that the Great Marches of Return in Gaza since 30 March have once again drawn the eyes of the world to Gaza, as Palestinians show immense creativity in their resistance and have resisted the silencing and liquidation of their cause.
He also discussed the situation in the Arab world and how it is affecting Palestinians today, especially as Arab reactionary regimes – particularly Saudi Arabia – are key partners of Zionism and imperialism in the attack on the Palestinian people. Without Egypt’s military government that imprisons thousands on political charges, the siege on Gaza would not hold, he noted. In addition, he discussed the imperialist attacks on Syria and Libya, noting that the role of NATO, the EU and the United States was clearly not to support Arab peoples’ rights to self determination and liberation but to further divide, impoverish and subjugate people.
On Saturday, 6 October, they joined Boykot Israel – DK, one of the oldest boycott organizations in Europe, having been founded in 2002, for a flyering and public awareness action near Norreport station in the center of Copenhagen. Participants carried a large orange banner reading “Boykot Israel” and distributed over 1,000 flyers to passers-by in the area. In addition, activists marked Israeli dates in nearby supermarkets as products of apartheid. Boykot Israel does these public information events on the first Saturday of every month in Copenhagen.