European conference organised by ‘Palestinian Return Centre’ launches new initiative.

Last weekend the tenth ‘Palestinians in Europe’ conference – this year sponsored by Tunisian interim president Monsef Marzouki – was held in Copenhagen. The event was co-organised by the Palestinian Forum in Denmark and the Palestinian Return Centre (PRC) of London which is a permanent organiser of the annual event. 

The conference’s president was Majed al Zeer of the PRC and also of the Hamas-linked European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza (ECESG) which was set up by the Muslim Brotherhood’s European arm in 2007 and takes part in organizing the various flotillas, including the fatal one of 2010. 

The Palestinian Return Centre is a Hamas-supporting organization which promotes the ‘right of return’ for Palestinian refugees and is banned in Israel due to its links with a terrorist organisation. Besides its General Director al Zeer, others of its staff are well-known for their anti-Israel activities. 

PRC spokesman and chair of trustees Zaher al Birawi recently acted as spokesman for the ‘Global March to Jerusalem’. He has also functioned as spokesman for George Galloway’s ‘Viva Palestina’ convoys, is an official of the Palestinian Forum in Britain and trustee of a UK charity named ‘Education Aid for Palestinians’ which is a member of the Hamas-supporting Union of Good

The PRC’s operational director, Arafat Madi Shoukri, is also connected to the ECESG as well as director of the Brussels-based European parliament lobbying group called the Council for European Palestinian Relations. Ghassan Faour – a trustee of the PRC – is also linked to the UK charity ‘Interpal’ which is a member of the ‘Union of Good’. Another PRC trustee Majdi Akeel – a known Hamas activist and also connected to ‘Interpal’– was mentioned in the Holy Land Foundation trial in the US. The PRC’s senior researcher and editor, Daoud Abdallah, is also the director of MEMO and well-known as a signatory of the Istanbul Declaration

Speakers at the recent conference included former British MP and Minister Clare Short (also a patron of ICHAD UK and an activist with the ECESG, as well as a member of the advisory board of Res Publica) and leader of the Palestinian party ‘al Mubadara’ (aka Palestinian National Initiative) Mustafa Barghouti who was recently involved in the organization of both the Global March to Jerusalem‘ and the ‘Welcome to Palestine’ flytilla.

According to a ‘Union of Good’-linked website: 

“The Conference called on the Arab countries and the countries sponsoring Palestinian refugees to improve these refugees’ conditions reminding the Europeans of their historical responsibility for the Palestinian problem, and stressing on the steadfastness and great sacrifices of the Palestinians people to defend their land.

The conference’s organizers also launched an initiative in which many European Communities will take part entitled “the wall and settlements’ removal” and aiming at pressuring “Israel”.

Meanwhile, a number of participants in the conference agreed unanimously on the key issues that must be supported, most importantly opposing the Judaization of AlQuds, the Palestinian prisoners’ issue and the internal situation stating that these issues can be solved only after a Palestinian reconciliation.”

The conference launched a new PR initiative on the subject of Palestinian prisoners, claiming that:

“Thousands of Palestinian and Arab prisoners are deprived of their basic freedom and incarcerated in Israeli prisons, lacking the basic standards required in any jail. They have endured many unjust practises (sic) inflicted by the Israeli government which is violating its own commitment to International law and Charters of Human Rights. These violations are committed with total impunity and International accountability.”

Given some of the recent media coverage on the subject of the Palestinian prisoners’ hunger strike, we may well assume that the campaign is already in full swing. 

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