From the 13th to the 17th of December Jamal Jumaâ, coordinator of the Palestinian Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign, took part in a major speaking tour that included many cities in Germany. The tour was organized by Germanyâs National Coordination to âStop the Wall in Palestine,â a group that was formed in June 2004 after Germanyâs biggest conference on Palestine since the beginning of the al-Aqsa Intifada. The National Coordination group includes partners from many different backgrounds, including human rights groups, Palestinian and Palestine solidarity groups, faith-based organizations, different political networks, and independent political activists.
While touring the country, Jamal Jumaâ highlighted the new developments on the ground in Occupied Palestine, emphasizing the fact that Israelâs Apartheid system is going through a new phase. This new phase includes completing the Wall project with the construction of further apartheid roads for the use of settlers only, new settlements, and industrial zones as sweatshops for the ghettoized Palestinian population â most of this being built on lands stolen through the construction of the Apartheid Wall. Jamal Jumaâ underlined the Campaign calls, highlighting the necessity for clear boycott, divestment, and sanctions campaigns, as nothing but concrete pressure from the international community in support of the struggle of Palestinians against occupation and apartheid will stop Israel. Concrete action seems urgent as well against German participation in the construction of Israeli industrial zones on land stolen through the Apartheid Wall (Germany, along with the U.S., has provided funding for these industrial zones, which are better characterized as sweatshops for the exploitation of cheap Palestinian labor).
The large numbers of people who attended the events in each of the cities on the speaking tour (including Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Berlin, Hamburg, Koeln, and Bonn) showed the interest of German activists in receiving first hand updates about Palestine and in being able to discuss and to coordinate with the Palestinian side. The analysis and the information from Palestine have been crucial for the future planning of the German Coordination against the Wall.
In the aftermath of Jamal Jumaâs visit, the German Coordination group has strengthened their resolve to start campaigning for concrete pressure against Israeli apartheid policies. The EU-Israel Trade Association Agreement, as well as arms trading with Israel, will be targets for German activists in the coming year, together with various forms of consumer boycotts and campaigns against German industries supporting the colonization of the Occupied Territories of 1967.
Upcoming moments of awareness raising and protest are to include, among others, actions scheduled to coincide with the NATO Summit in Muenchen in February, where the occupations in Iraq and Palestine will be particularly highlighted in planned demonstrations. There are also a number of events and activities being planned for the first German Social Forum, which will be held in July in Erfurt.
The German Coordination to âStop the Wall in Palestine,â with its wide spectrum of members, is thus becoming an important network for Palestine solidarity. Despite the many Zionist pressures and an extreme lack of information among the German population, the Coordination group is slowly opening up spaces in the left and the peace movement, as well as inside faith-based communities, towards a better understanding of the Palestinian call against Occupation and Apartheid and for concrete actions to stop Apartheid Israelâs crimes.
For more information about the German Coordination to âStop the Wall in Palestineâ and to read about upcoming events, please see www.freepalestine.de