Nakba conference calls for educating Europeans about realities of life for Palestinians and their cause
Delegates at a conference in Belgium to discuss the Nakba — the word, meaning catastrophe, used by Palestinians to describe the loss of their land when the state of Israel was established — called for intensive efforts to educate and inform European citizens, governments, parliamentarians and other decision-makers about the reality of life for Palestinians, and attract support for their cause.
Speakers at the event, titled “75 Years and the Nakba Still Continues,” included European and Palestinian academics and experts in politics, law and the media, the Kuwait News Agency reported on Wednesday.
The one-day event, which took place at the Brussels Press Club on Tuesday, was organized by the European Palestinian Council for Political Relations, a nongovernmental organization based in the Belgian capital.
In a video message to the conference, Manu Pineda, a Spanish member of the European Parliament who chairs its Delegation for Relations with Palestine, said: “The Nakba was a unilateral decision by the Zionist movement to occupy Palestinian territories and expel Palestinians from their villages.
“It was what we called the beginning of the policy of ethnic cleansing which continues till this day and which aims at the total annexation of the historic territory of Palestine. The international community must take concrete action to end this apartheid regime.”
Hasan Ayoub, a professor of political science at Al-Najah University in the West Bank city of Nablus, presented delegates with a historical overview of the Nakba and the crimes committed by the occupying force.
The conference examined four main topics: The story of the Palestinian people and the threats they have faced, including ethnic cleansing and the denial of their right to self-determination; the situation in Jerusalem, settlement activity and the detention of Palestinians as a continuing reality of the Nakba;
the plight of Palestinian refugees inside and outside of Palestine; and ways to encourage the adoption of European policies on Palestine that are more just for the Palestinian people.
Majid Al-Zeer, the head and founder of the European Palestinian Council for Political Relations, said: “The Israeli crimes associated with the Palestinian Nakba are many but the common denominator among them is the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians and their uprooting from their lands.”
The council aims to ensure the Palestinian cause and its history remain at the forefront of the minds of European decision-makers, to encourage them to work in the name of justice, he added.
The UN has adopted the 75th anniversary of the Nakba this year as an international day of commemoration, and has requested an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice on the legal consequences of the Israeli occupation of Palestine, which will test the entire international system’s commitment to justice, Al-Zeer said.
In its efforts to achieve its goals of raising awareness in the EU of the Palestinian situation, the council engages in various activities, including conferences, meetings with political delegations, letter-writing campaigns and petitions, he added.
Renowned Belgian journalist Loos Baudouin, who writes on Middle Eastern affairs for Belgian daily Le Soir, told delegates he has come under pressure from Jewish groups in Belgium to alter his objective and fair reporting on Palestine, but refuses to give in to them.