Geneva - Friday marked the last appearance by Euro-Med Monitor’s communications chief at a series of public talks and meetings in Brussels, including with members of the European Union’s parliament, Belgian government officials, the College of Europe, and Belgian and European civil society.
Co-arranged by CNCD-11.11.11 and the European Middle East Project (EuMEP), the advocacy tour aimed to raise awareness of the dangerous escalation of Israel’s egregious human rights violations on the ground in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (oPt), and the necessity for European and Belgian decision-makers to take urgent practical steps to address this intolerable situation.
Euro-Med Monitor’s Chief of Programmes and Communications Muhammad Shehada joined a meeting with Belgium’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Economy and Employment, Pierre-Yves Dermagne, plus Belgian civil society organisations. The meeting addressed the Israeli government’s unprecedented expansion of settlements and outposts and the need for the Belgian government to uphold international law vis-à-vis Israel’s actions.
Shehada and EuMEP’s director, Martin Konecny, met with members of different groups of the European Parliament to discuss Israeli human rights violations on the ground and EU relations with the Palestinians; this entailed meetings with MEPs from the Greens-European Free Alliance, the European People’s Party, and the Renew Europe Group. Shehada briefed the MEPs on the situation and warned them that the far-right Israeli government is seeking to deflect the blame for its own belligerent occupation, de facto annexation of Palestinian territory, and the daily violence perpetrated by Israeli settlers and its military onto the Palestinians by victim-blaming and falsely accusing Palestinian leaders of incitement. He stressed that Israel’s illegal withholding of the Palestinian Authority’s revenues and arbitrary restrictions on the Palestinian economy are creating a dire economic situation on the ground that exacerbates tensions.
Along with colleagues from both Belgian and Palestinian civil society organisations, Shehada also spoke to over 60 postgraduate students at the College of Europe in Bruges. The discussion touched on the history of the Palestinian struggle as well as the current trajectory of events under the Israeli government today. He concluded the tour with a public talk at the De Markten cultural centre in Brussels, which also featured Catherine De Bock from the Norwegian Refugee Council and Yehuda Shaul, co-founder of Breaking the Silence, an organisation that documents war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by the Israeli military in the oPt.