On February 24th, Palestinian and Polish activists tied a giant traditional Palestinian scarf (Kuffeyah) around the iconic Palm sculpture in Jerusalem Avenue, central Warsaw.
The palm, which dominates Warsawâs city-scape and appears on post-cards was created by Polish artist Joanna Rajkowska. Rajkowska is known for her advocacy for Palestinian human rights and work in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin.
The action is a response to the top-level meeting between Israel and Poland, taking place not in Israelâs diplomatic capital Tel-Aviv but Jerusalem â the Eastern part of which is recognised by the EU and United Nations as occupied territory. East Jerusalemâs Palestinian residents have been subject to a violent eviction campaign by Israeli-state sponsored settlers and home demolitions for decades.
The meeting between the two governments includes Prime Ministers Benjamin Netenyahu and Donald Tusk as well as senior representatives from the Ministries of Culture, Defence, Intelligance and Foreign Affairs.
Poland, often described as Israelâs unofficial ambassador in Europe, seeks to upgrade military, research and development, and cultural ties with Israel.
Human Rights activists of the Polish Solidarity Campaign with Palestine have called the meeting a normalisation of occupation and apartheid.
It has also said that Israeli companies operating in Poland such as Egged, Eden, Elbit, and Rafael and the majority Israeli construction company owned ASBUD are aiding and abetting war crimes and that their contracts should be cancelled until they cease to perpetuate Israelâs illegal occupation.
Artist and creator of the Palm Joanna Rajkowska said:
âThe Palm has always been on the side of those who are absent, deprived of their voice or spoken for by others who have no legitimacy to do so. She has been a Jewish woman, a nurse, and a victim of climate change and right-wing governments in Poland.
This time she is the voice of opposition to the illegal annexation of Jerusalem and Israelâs ethnic cleansing of Palestine which the Polish government appears to encourage.
The Palm has always been and always will be a voice speaking up for all emancipatory and liberation movements. In this turbulent time for the Middle Meast, the Palm firmly stands on the side of radical democracy.â
In July 2011 Poland will take over presidency of the European Union.
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