Saturday, 19 February 2011

Protests against Polish-Israeli meeting in Jerusalem

The Palestinian Solidarity organisation in Poland has initiated an international campaign against a high level governmental meeting between Poland and Israel to be held in Jerusalem. The meeting is planned to upgrade the countries' defence and economic relations, with the respective Prime Ministers, Foreign Ministers, Ministers of Culture and the Economy taking part.

It is common practice for such meetings to take place in Tel Aviv. By meeting with Israel in Jerusalem the Polish government is giving its de-facto support to the Israeli violations of international law and human rights.

Below I publish in full a letter written by an Israeli peace activist to the Polish President, government and parliament protesting against the planned meeting. The letter expresses an understanding of the specific historical sensitivities facing the Polish government in its relations with Israel. However, it also refers to how Poland's experience of having being occupied and having fought for freedom and independence should mean that it supports those in similar situations today.

To President Komorowski, Prime Minister Tusk, members of the Polish government and members of Parliament:

As an veteran Israeli peace and human rights organization dedicated to achieving a just peace between Israelis and Palestinians, the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) wishes to raise its concern over your planned meeting with Israeli government officials in Jerusalem.

Poland, for understandable historical reasons, has been prominent among the EU members in its uncritical support for Israeli policies towards the Palestinians, which only serve to perpetuate the 44-year Occupation and place the lives and well-being of both Israelis and Palestinians in jeopardy. Your past, we believe, makes it incumbent upon you to promote the security of Jews in Israel and not confuse this with support for policies that security. As you well know from Polish history, wars, violence, occupation and oppression never lead to peace and security, and yet these are precisely the policies your visit appears to be supporting.

Your history, we also believe, also teaches that only respect for the human rights of all people will prevent more occurrences of the violence and suffering you have endured over the centuries. The Polish people’s struggle for self-determination and freedom inspires us all; it requires you, however, to stand by the side of the Palestinian people in their struggle for the same rights, even if that means opposing Israeli policies. In fact, we suggest that you explain to the Israeli government that your government stands solidly against the occupation and all policies that perpetuate it (such as the demolition of Palestinian homes, 25,000 so far) because of the lessons learned from your own history, because of your commitment to human rights as the only way to build a better world and because of your deeply-felt obligations to both the Israeli and Palestinian peoples.

Poland occupies a special place in the world due to both its suffering and its resistance to oppression. It is that moral voice we desperately need to have heard in the corridors of the Israeli government
In Peace,

Jeff Halper
Director, ICAHD

1 comment:

  1. Poland seems to have promised to hunt down and eliminate anyone anywhere in the world who believes that the creation of Israel is illegal. According to Minister Donald Tusk, currently on a two-day visit to Jerusalem, said that "[Poland is] not prepared to allow anyone to deny the existence of Israel. Poland will not let these things happen". Since Polish TV was at pains to show Tusk in Israel writing in English, these may be his own words, rather than an inaccurate translation.


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