15 hours ago
04 January 2010
An irish4palestine report with photos:
The 20th Annual Forum of Palestinians in Austria met in Vienna on 19th December and was attended by several hundred Palestinians, Muslims and Arabs from across Europe.
Participants were able to enjoy a range of Palestinian food whilst browsing a range of stalls selling handicrafts, books, music and videos from Palestine or depicting the Palestinian struggle for self-determination.
This year’s event was dedicated to the issue of Jerusalem Al Quds which is suffering from a concerted effort by the Israeli regime to eradicate its Arab and Palestinian heart and to populate it with settlers.A range of Palestinian dance groups and singers entertained the audience:
The Audience rose to a rousing performance delivered by a group of 2nd generation Palestinian youths from Berlin.
Their militant dances portrayed the long struggle for Palestinian independence and were enthusiastically enjoyed by all those in attendance especially the many children who joined the performers on stage:
Here is the cutest wee boy you ever saw below:
The Danish based group called "Hanin" who play traditional Palestinian folk music (pictured below) you can find their website here, they are excellent!
Speakers from a range of Palestinian organisations explained the background to the struggle over Al Quds Jerusalem, detailing the ruthless campaign of ethnic cleansing taking place throughout Jerusalem under the Israeli occupation.
Below Dr. Arafat Shoukri the executive Director of The Palestinian Return Centre (PRC) in London and The Chair of the European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza, presents awards:
Mr Hermas from the Co-ordinating Committee of Palestinians in Austria explained “The removal of Arab, streets, houses and even graveyards meant that the Islamic identity of Jerusalem – more than a thousand years of history – was being destroyed. The humiliation of Jerusalem is a catastrophe that the world must act on.”
“Policy makers throughout Europe must take a stand on this issue – the Judification of Jerusalem and the destruction of holy mosques amounts to an apartheid system of ethnic cleansing. This is a crime against Jerusalem which is the capital of the Muslim and Arab world and is sacred to all of humanity.”
Gerry MacLochlainn, Sinn Fein councillor from Ireland, spoke of his recent experiences in Gaza and of his party’s support for Palestinian self-determination and for an inclusive peace process based on equality and inclusion. This process must be based on an end to the Israeli occupation and a complete stop to all settlement activity and the destruction of Arab sites in Jerusalem.
“There can be no possibility of a peaceful resolution within the region without an agreement on the future of Jerusalem and its place as the capital of a Palestinian state which is viable and cohesive.”
Professor Evangelos Pissias from Greece of the Free Gaza movement spoke of the continuity of Palestinian settlement and civilisation in Palestine and in Jerusalem in particular.
“Greece was invaded many times in our history but our people stayed and resisted and we acted for civilisation, Palestinians have done the same and stayed in that region throughout all the invasions and they have demanded their freedom. But Zionism has taken the land from these people and brought in a people who had not lived there for generations and is supported in this by an international conspiracy.
“This is unacceptable and the world must speak out and act in support of Palestine and in opposition to what is happening in Jerusalem. This is a matter for all of civilisation.”
One humanitarian story to report is that of a middle aged Palestinian women who wanted to raise money for the children of Al Quds Jerusalem. So, she took all her wedding jewellery and put it ALL up for auction! She stood on stage with her beautiful gold jewellery presented for sale on a satin with lace cushion on display to the highest bidder in the audience! Her jewellery was then sold to the highest bidder, and, as the winning bidder was a Palestinain himself, after paying for the jewellery, returned it to her, bless.
This remarkable event shows the true unbeatable Palestinian spirit! And Israel actually believes these people will forgot about Palestine................NEVER!