Samidoun targeted again: Germany is waging lawfare against Palestinians and supporters of the resistance
Special report – Rabih Al-Safadi and Areej Al-Manasra
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network announced today, Saturday, September 16, the launch of a European and international campaign to confront repression and racism in Germany. Around 150 organizations, parties and associations around the world are supporting and paricipating in the campaign, declaring their rejection of the targeting of Palestinian refugees in Europe and specifically, the targeting of Zaid Abdulnasser, 28, the coordinator of Samidoun Network in Germany. Abdulnasser studied electrical engineering and graduated from a German university. Today, he works in Berlin, where the authorities are trying to confiscate his residency rights, targeting his membership in Samidoun and the Masar Badil, the Palestinian Alternative Revolutionary Path Movement.
Continuous confrontation and open “lawfare”
On April 12, after organizing a massive public march in support of Palestinian prisoners in which more than 1,000 people participated, the Samidoun Network issued a statement in which it warned of a racist campaign being perpetrated by the German state apparatus and media against the Palestinian and Arab community, especially refugees, in Germany, especially in the city of Berlin, where about 90,000 Palestinians reside and some young people call the German capital: “Berlin Camp”.
The statement came in the context of a response to a new attempt by German security and a number of Zionist movement organizations, which, according to Samidoun, aims to “criminalize Palestinian organizing” by distributing a dubious video clip that was widely circulated in the German media, containing deliberate errors and distortions in an attempt to demonize the demonstrators who participated in a popular march in support of the Palestinian prisoners’ movement in occupation prisons.
Samidoun’s warnings proved prescient a few days later, as the Berlin police issued a decision banning all marches and demonstrations calling for the commemoration of Palestinian Prisoner’s Day, which falls on April 17 of each year, followed by a ban on demonstrations commemorating the Nakba, as had previously happened one year before in 2022.
Samidoun considered this campaign of repression to be a new, open attempt by the state to create flimsy pretexts aimed at banning Palestinian popular organizations, preventing Palestinian Prisoner’s Day marches and demonstrations and events on the seventy-fifth anniversary of the ongoing Palestinian Nakba.
Samidoun believes that the German state seeks to “deflect the discussion from the topic of the demonstrations themselves, that is, war crimes and genocide in occupied Palestine that the German government and its political parties seek to excuse and cover up, and to obscure the crimes of the extremist settler colonial movement that invaded the occupied West Bank, and the calls of the Zionist minister, Bezalel Smotrich, to occupy Jordan and Palestine, leading to the brutal attack on Palestinian worshipers in Al-Aqsa Mosque during the holy month of Ramadan,” according to the network’s statement at the time.
Joint Israeli-European intersts in repression
Political and human rights sources in Brussels, Belgium, also the capital of the European Union, described the Berlin police’s prohibition of the 2023 Palestinian Prisoner’s Day marches and the commemoration of the Nakba, and other repressive measures as “an unprecedented dangerous escalation targeting the voice and rights of Palestinian refugees in Europe” and at the same time “an expression of common European-Israeli concern about the growing voice of the Palestinian revolutionary movement, which they consider ‘dangerous and extremist.’”
They noted that, “At the end of last March, Zionist organizations mobilized dozens of European and Israeli figures in Brussels, and held a conference in the European Parliament, in which they warned of ‘the growing role of Samidoun’ and considered it ‘an Iranian proxy’ and ‘a dangerous organization whose activity must be stopped’.” They called Samidoun a “front for Hezbollah” and one of the “arms of Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the Popular Front in Europe.”
The CEO of the International Legal Forum, which organized the conference, is Arsen Ostrovsky, who holds Israeli citizenship and describes himself as a “proud Zionist.” He considered in a tweet that “the Samidoun network and Iran are two sides of the same jihadist coin,” as he put it.
Ostrovsky added, “The decision to classify them as a terrorist organization, whether by the European Union or the United States, should not be made as a service to Israel, but because ignoring the matter is unforgivable negligence of a direct and clear security threat, including in the United States, where Samidoun is active and continues to raise money to finance their international activity.”
He believed that “this network has become a direct, clear and unambiguous security threat to the European Union and citizens” and urged the European Union to take “immediate steps to immediately include Samidoun on the terrorist list, as Israel did in February 2021.”
Abdulnasser: We are working to strengthen the approach of resistance and liberation
Zaid Abdulnasser said, “Germany is a racist state and an ally of the Zionist entity. This attack is targeting prisoners, the resistance, and refugees, and not a specific person.” He pointed out that he is “not the only Palestinian the German authorities are trying to threaten to confiscate their residency, as there are many similar cases.” Palestinian migrants, Arab refugees, and others are exposed to various forms of repression and threats of deportation, he said, noting that this is “a systematic and deliberate attack, carried out by the state and its security and political institutions in alliance with the Zionist entity and its branches in Germany.”
Abdulnasser does not hide his political positions. He said in a press interview published earlier this month on the Masar Badil website that what is required is to “provide popular support for the resistance, carry its voice forward in the diaspora, and empower the masses of our people in exile and diaspora to build their tools of struggle, enabling them to participate in the liberation movement and defeat the Zionist enemy outside Palestine as well.” He sees the relationship between the various components of the Palestinian people in the homeland and the diaspora as “a complementary relationship in the face of our main contradiction against the occupation and the Zionist movement,” saying, “It is our duty to be prepared to relinquish certain privileges for our greater goals, to meet the sacrifices our people in Palestine make every day for our cause and our dignity..”
Targeting Palestinian rights and identity
In turn, the international coordinator of the Samidoun Network, Charlotte Kates, said, “The German state targets the Palestinians and their identity, aiming to silence and exclude them from political participation, and robbing them of their voice and rights. If they want to reside in Germany, they must disavow their own historical narrative according to Germany’s declared racist conditions and policies.”
Kates stressed, “What our comrades in Berlin are doing is the opposite of what the German state desires. They are presenting the truth and the Palestinian narrative in the face of Zionism and its lies, and they are revealing, through their struggle and determination, the essence of the German, U.S., and European policies that support Zionist settler colonialism in occupied Palestine.”
Kates points out that “Samidoun considers its activity within Palestinian and Arab circles and popular gatherings, in Berlin and other German cities, to be an issue of special importance, and directly related to the issues and rights of Palestinian refugees, their right to organize and speak out, and to continue their struggle for return and liberation.”
Kates referred to “the position of the Zionist ambassador in Germany, who said that ‘walking in the streets of Berlin is like walking in the streets of Gaza,’ as he said in his published statements. Then we saw how German politicians took his statements as an excuse to attack Palestinian refugees, just because he saw pictures, posters, and Palestinian flags in… Neukölln (a neighborhood in Berlin with a large Palestinian and Arab population) testifying to the crimes of its criminal entity, and bearing pictures of prisoners and martyrs and slogans on walls calling for support for the Palestinian resistance and the prisoners’ movement.”
Failed Zionist policy
The coordinator of the Samidoun in Europe, Mohammed Khatib, said in February that Samidoun activists have been subjected during the past ten years to all forms of repression and harassment, including direct threats, deportation, being threatened with weapons, beatings and arrests, as took place in Madrid. In a country like Germany, we face an ongoing and systematic Zionist and fascist campaign of repression, in addition to multiple forms of state terror.”
Al-Khatib emphasized “the failure of the policy of repression and intimidation,” noting that what is happening is “the exact opposite. The strength of our organization has doubled and a larger number of young people are joining it, believing in the importance of continuing to confront the Zionist enemy and its allies,” considering that “confronting Zionism in the heart of Europe constitutes one of the most important sources of strength for the struggle of our people and the growith of our organizing and strength.”
Related articles and resources