Palestinian expatriates in Europe are facing questionable incitement campaigns from influential Palestinian entities as well as media aligned with the occupation state of Israel. The Palestinian Authority and Israel are two sides of the same coin inciting against Palestinians across the continent. These campaigns have escalated in intensity around the 75th anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba, which precedes the special Palestinians in Europe conference at the end of this month.
The PA has used its official media to attack the Right of Return Conference for Palestinians in Europe due to be held in Malmo, Sweden, on 27 May. The pretext for the attack was the "obsession of legitimacy and the attempts to build alternative bodies to the [Palestine Liberation] organisation."
In doing this, the PA is imitating the occupation state, which uses the media to wage war against Palestinians in Europe, aimed at undermining national activities committed to the legitimate right of return of Palestinian refugees. The pro-Israel media works to create and promote a fabricated narrative to the world.
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The Chief Executive of the European Palestinian Council for Political Relations (EUPAC), Majed Al-Zeer, said that despite their diverse political affiliations, Palestinians in Europe have been using their presence in Western countries to work across various fields in order to serve the Palestinian cause. "Palestinians living in Europe have managed to show a united national front by insisting on the right of return and not compromising on it, building a cohesive social structure and contributing to the preservation of generations who have by necessity grown up in Western countries," he told Palestine newspaper. "They have achieved significant breakthroughs with Western figures and institutions supportive of the Palestinian cause in various fields, including politics."
Al-Zeer affirmed that the Palestinian presence in the West, and interaction with local people in the face of the deceitful Israeli narrative, has a real impact on the Zionist project. "The occupation state tries to showcase its victories and European support on this, the 75th anniversary of the Nakba, by launching suspicious campaigns targeting any Palestinian activity in Europe." Ordinary people, though, are beginning to see through this deceit.
According to the EUPAC official, any attack on Palestinian activism and strategic achievements serving the Palestinian cause provides "direct support to the Zionist project and the occupation" of Palestine. "Nevertheless, Palestinians in Europe will not deviate from confronting the occupation project," he insisted. "The 20th Palestinian Conference in Europe will display unity and focus on adherence to the right of return and supporting the Palestinian cause. None of the incitement campaigns against us have weakened the resolve of Palestinians across the continent."
Cultural, popular and political events will commemorate the Nakba, as well as demonstrations on the streets of Europe, where the Palestinian flag will be raised.
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Writer and expert on European affairs Hussam Shaker agreed that the occupation state and the PA are trying to undermine the efforts of Palestinians in Europe, especially the efforts related to defending the Palestinian people and their just cause, including the Right of Return Conference. Brussels-based Shaker told Palestine that the leadership of the PA carries out incitement campaigns and actions periodically. The PA's attack on the Malmo event is yet another one.
He explained that the PA is opposing any Palestinian efforts in Europe that are not compatible with its own objectives. "However, these efforts will not succeed in thwarting Palestinian movements that serve the Palestinian cause. The PA targets any efforts that are effective and popular" These include earlier conferences organised by Palestinians living outside their occupied land. "It has become clear that the PA does not want any popular action in Europe due to its own inability to gain popularity among the Palestinian people."
Defamation and incitement campaigns will not achieve their goals due to the lack of credibility of the parties behind them, added Shaker. "The parties and individuals leading these campaigns have a crisis with their people, who are not impressed by the PA's official performance at home and abroad, which in turn deepens the crisis." He condemned the PA's attack on the Right of Return Conference. "It was better for the PA to propose more activism and ensure greater participation of the Palestinian people in a way that serves interaction with and promotion of the Palestinian cause."
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As far as he is concerned, the PA's campaigns are clear evidence of the stagnation of the leadership. "Moreover, these campaigns will not weaken the determination of the Palestinians in Europe. They will continue to organise events in various European capitals."
This article first appeared in Arabic in Felesteen on 17 May 2023
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.