Defending Palestine, defending Samidoun

Defending Palestine, defending Samidoun

Update (6 June): The repressive attack on the Palestinian cause analysed and denounced in our press release took a further step today with the ban on Mohammed Khatib, Samidoun’s European coordinator, from entering Switzerland for ten years, following a decision by the Federal Office of Police (Fedpol).

The latest police attacks on students denouncing the genocide in Palestine in Marseille, Paris, Ghent, Berlin, Leipzig, Vienna, Amsterdam and elsewhere are just the latest episodes in a long repression of any expression of support for Palestinian resistance. And the clearer that expression is, the harsher the repression is, which explains why the governments, police and courts of the imperialist countries are so relentless against Samidoun.

Samidoun is a network of solidarity with Palestinian political prisoners from the Palestinian revolutionary and anti-imperialist left. In line with the founding principles of the Palestinian revolutionary left, Samidoun recognises that the only solution to the Palestinian question is a secular and democratic Palestine, from the Jordan River to the sea, where citizens would have equal rights regardless of their origin or religion. In short, the exact opposite of Israel’s racist and colonial project, whether or not it is part of a two-state “solution”.

It was this position of principle, along with the assertion of the right to resistance against colonialism, that earned Samidoun ever-greater persecution from imperialist countries.

In Germany

In March 2020, the German authorities issued Khaled Barakat, a member of the executive committee of Masar Badil (the Palestinian Alternative Revolutionary Way Movement, to which Samidoun belongs), with a four-year ban on entering the Schengen area, based entirely on political speeches. Khaled Barakat was charged with statements such as: “The so-called two-state solution is dead. The Palestinian people have no choice but to continue their struggle until the liberation of the whole of Palestine and the construction of a democratic society in Palestine”. This formula is quoted twice in the German document as evidence of an “extremist” and “unacceptable” perspective.

This ban opened a long sequence of repression targeting activists such as Zaid Abdulnasser, Samidoun’s coordinator in Germany, who was threatened with having his residence permit withdrawn as a Palestinian refugee from Syria, and Musaab Abu Atta, another Samidoun activist, who was banned from attending any political and social events and activities.

Germany banned many Palestinian personalities invited to conferences in Samidoun from the Schengen area and the German police violently attacked several demonstrations, arresting hundreds of people.

On 2 November 2023, Interior Minister Nancy Faeser banned all Samidoun activities in Germany. The consequences are the confiscation of any assets, a ban on websites and all activity (including on social media). This ban was followed by a wave of searches, seizures and arrests in four Bundesländer.

In Belgium

On 15 April 2024, the Belgian Secretary for Asylum and Migration, Nicole De Moor, announced in a public statement that she was asking the Belgian immigration services to withdraw Mohammed Khatib’s refugee status. Born in the Ain el-Helweh refugee camp in Lebanon, he is today Samidoun’s European coordinator. In addition, demonstrations organised by Samidoun in Brussels and Saint-Gilles were cancelled and banned by the police, and ZINTV, an independent collective that co-organised public events with Samidoun, was raided in March 2024 on charges of “financing terrorism”.

In France

In March 2022, Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin had already sought to dissolve the Collectif Palestine Vaincra (a member of the Samidoun network). The ban was prevented by a statement from the French Conseil d’État. But on 14 October, the Minister returned with a request to ban Samidoun Paris Banlieue for “apology for terrorism”.

In Catalonia

On 18 March 2024 the Catalan autonomous police arrested 10 people, including a leader of Samidoun Catalonia, as part of a coordinated crackdown in reprisal for a day of struggle for Palestine on 7 February in Catalonia. They were released after two days in detention and are awaiting trial.

In the Netherlands and Switzerland

There have been several attempts to ban public events at which Samidoun representatives were due to speak. On 25 May 2023, the city of Geneva banned a poster exhibition co-organised by Secours Rouge Genève and Samidoun.

In Canada

Charlotte Kates, Samidoun’s international coordinator, was arrested and charged with allegedly “inciting hatred” in Vancouver, British Columbia. She has been released on condition that she does not take part in any demonstrations, rallies or assemblies until the trial date on 8 October…

The persecution of the Samidoun network, openly encouraged in various countries by Israeli ambassadors, is one facet of the imperialist powers’ support for the Israeli colonial project and attempts to “settle the Palestinian question” at the expense of the Palestinian people and particularly the Nakba refugees. The other side of this persecution of Samidoun is the funding and support for a corrupt and collaborationist “Palestinian Authority”. It should also be noted that the organs of this Authority, such as the BDS leadership in Ramallah, encourage the attacks against Samidoun.

The persecution of Samidoun echoes the persecution of the Kurdish movement throughout Europe, most recently in recent weeks with the raids by Belgian police on the premises of the Kurdish television stations Stêrk TV and Medya Haber in Denderleeuw, the expulsion from France to Turkey of Kurdish activists Firaz Korkmaz, Serhat Gültekin and Mehmet Kopal, followed by the arrest of 10 Kurds who had protested against the expulsions. And here again, it is Germany that is at the forefront of the repression. Germany, which has increased its arms deliveries to Israel tenfold in the space of a few months, making itself complicit in the genocide in Gaza, and which remains the leading partner and strongest ally of the fascist Turkish regime.

With this declaration, the secretariat of the Red Help International expresses its total solidarity with the Samidoun network, and its support for the affirmation of the founding principles of the Palestinian revolutionary left.

Long live the resistance against colonialism and its imperialist backers!

For a free, secular and democratic Palestine from the Jordan River to the sea!

Long live international solidarity!

Secretariat of the Red Help International

15 May 2024