Intervention of Georgos Koukoumas, member of the C.C. of AKEL and the International Relations Department, at the Hearing “Palestine: What’s Next?” organized by GUE/NGL
1st July 2015, European Parliament, Brussels
The Palestinian problem is an open wound for the whole of the region of the Middle East and the Eastern Mediterranean, which today is a mosaic of instability, injustice, foreign interventions and bloody conflicts. The huge energy rivalries of our times for the region’s natural wealth have intensified dangerously and always harbor the frightening possibility of an all-out explosion. AKEL’s assessment is that without a just solution of the Palestinian problem there will always be a hotbed in our neighbourhood hat will reproduce conflicts and instability, and which will simultaneously raise difficulties to the solution of other pending problems of the region.
AKEL, as far as its capabilities enable it, is taking initiatives both inside and outside the House of Representatives of Cyprus and the European Parliament, organizing mobilizations and activities among the Cypriot people in order to show solidarity with the struggle of the Palestinian people and for pressure to be exerted on Israel for a solution to the problem, otherwise Israel should pay the price for its intransigence and the perpetuation of the ongoing occupation.
For example, 15 days ago AKEL revealed and exposed to the Cypriot people the Cypriot Anastasiades government’s action to abstain from the initiative taken by 16 Foreign Ministers of the European Union. In their letter addressed to the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, they called for the labelling of products produced by Israel’s illegal settlements and that are exported to Europe. As AKEL we asked through the parliamentary route the Foreign Minister about Cyprus’ non-participation in this initiative. The Cypriot Foreign Minister justified himself that Cyprus had not been informed about this initiative. However, subsequently – as the Israeli mass media had revealed during the recent official visit of the Cypriot President to Tel Aviv – Israel expressed its thanks towards the Cyprus government which “stood as a bulwark so that the regulation for the labelling of products” was not approved; products that are produced in the occupied by Israel Palestinian territories. AKEL denounced in public the stance of the Anastasiades government which evidently didn’t tell the truth when it presented its reply in the House of Representatives.
At the same time AKEL called on the Cypriot people to reflect on the blatant and unacceptable contradiction that arises when the government of a country under occupation, such as Cyprus, is defending another occupation power in the EU, whilst also simultaneously deviating from principled positions based on International Law by accepting the results of war (such as arms trade) and downgrading the traditional position of solidarity of our people with the struggle of the Palestinian people.
We highlight this example because AKEL believes that the podium provided by the national parliaments can and must be used much more by the progressive forces internationally to persuade the governments of Europe and the world to adopt a strong stance towards Israel and its illegal acts. Support towards the international campaign for a boycott on all the products coming from Israel’s settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories must represent one of the cornerstones of our solidarity towards the struggle of the Palestinian people.
The principal goal of course must be to put pressure on governments to recognize the Palestinian state by all those states that haven’t already done so. This pressure must be expressed both at the level of popular mobilizations, as well as at a parliamentary level. In view of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People AKEL proposes that the European United Left-Nordic Green Left in the European Parliament intensifies and speeds up its activities towards the fulfillment of this goal.
Secondly, more specifically as progressive forces of Europe and as GUE/NGL, we must continue the good work being done so that the struggle of the Palestinian people and all the aspects of the Palestinian problem (the occupation, political prisoners that should from the very beginning have been recognized as prisoners of war, the Wall erected, the on-going colonization and the demolitions, the refugees, the blockade of Gaza, the bringing of Israel to international criminal justice on the war crimes it has committed etc.) never leaves the news and political agenda for a single moment. The demand put forth by the Group of the Left for the freezing of the EU-Israel Association Agreement as a result of the violation of Article 2 with regards human rights is a just demand that must be promoted more resolutely so that more pressure can be directed towards Israel.
Thirdly, as it has been stated previously, Israel’s intransigence and arrogance is fuelled by its military superiority and its nuclear monopoly in the region. The demand for the abolition of arms trade with Israel, as well as the struggle for the destruction of Israel’s military arsenal (through the proclamation of the Middle East into a Zone free from weapons of Mass Destruction) are goals that if implemented will contribute decisively to peace and stability in the region, and can therefore embrace broader sections of our societies. In addition, these goals help in their own way towards curtailing Israel’s rampant immunity and its aggressiveness against the Palestinian people and other peoples in the region.
Finally, we consider it extremely important that we wholeheartedly support the peace-loving forces in Israel, such as the Communist Party of Israel which is struggling in a particularly adverse environment, but also all the movements that are opposing the occupation, the institutional and social racism against the Arabs, and who are fighting against the militarism and chauvinist war-mongering of the Israeli establishment.
A few decades ago it would have seemed impossible and utopian for anyone to have expected that the racist regime of apartheid in South Africa would have fallen and a new page in the country’s history would have turned, yet…The struggle of the repressed South African people, in combination with international solidarity and the multifaceted diplomatic pressure exerted, led to the overthrow of the apartheid regime, which did not withstand the cost of the economic and political isolation forced on it. This historical victory is clear proof that struggle and international solidarity can yield results. As the end of apartheid was written, so can the end of the Israeli occupation in Palestine be written through the establishment of an independent, viable and sovereign Palestinian state, next to Israel on the borders of 1967 and with East Jerusalem as its capital.
Intervention of Georgos Koukoumas, member of the C.C. of AKEL and the International Relations Department, at the Hearing “Palestine: What’s Next?” organized by GUE/NGL2015-07-1
- Feb26 2015-02-26
- Nov13 2014-11-13