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Palestine Solidarity Network: “A humanitarian, not political, issue.”

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Everyone knows something is happening, but very few seem to be well informed of the facts regarding what is happening on the other side of the Mediterranean Sea. It is true that while we uphold the plight of a single individual as a tragedy, we sometimes overlook the plights of several millions as merely a statistic… Stalin was half right, in that aspect.

The Israel-Palestine conflict, which to the observer may seem as ever-present and static, has reached new heights since the past 8th July: after the supposed abduction and killing of three Israeli teenagers in June (for which the Palestinian movement Hamas has been blamed, even though the organization has never accepted their involvement), more than 1,900 Palestinian citizens have been killed. This comes in contrast with the 67 Israeli casualties, with only three of the latter being civilians, according to the BBC. Damning figures all around.

In light of the recent tense five day truce being held, I asked the opinion of Andre Callus and Josette Camilleri, members and spokespersons of the Palestinian Solidarity Network in Malta, about the organization,and what it stands for, and for their opinion on recent events. When asked about their main aims, both Camilleri and Callus summed them up in 4 points:

1. Ending what they call an “Israeli colonization of the Palestinian lands”
2. Giving the Palestinian the right to go back to their homes and lands which were taken forcibly by Zionist militias
3. The dismantling of the current Apartheid systems
4. For the state of Israel to comply with international law and regulations.

The organization also aims to show the Maltese population the plight of the Palestinian people, and this is done by both promoting Palestinian culture (by means of hosting workshops, exhibitions and public information events) while at the same time arguing against any support for the state of Israel, and by boycotting any shops or businesses which are in contact and/or derive profit from the state of Israel.

“Moviment Graffiti has for a long time spoken about the Palestinian population’s suffering and torment in what we can consider as a 21st century apartheid,” commented Callus. “Yet, as our diverse cultural events gained more exposure, we realized that it was not simply a question of informing the Maltese population, but rather we needed to find a way, outside of Muviment Graffiti, in order to organize and structure this sentiment: hence the creation of this network, sometime last February.”

As I mentioned the 5 day cease-fire being upheld at the moment, Callus quickly blurts out that such a stand-off usually does not bode better days for the Palestinians: “If it were a level playing field, as the international media seems to be portraying at the moment, this may have effected and helped the situation. But not in this case: an Israeli army armed to the teeth with all kinds of weapons you can think of, versus a population who is starved of the basic necessities, like food and water. Their only choice is to retaliate against the Zionist ideology and the army surrounding them, with stones and anything else they can find.”

Meanwhile, Camilleri explains that being in favour of Palestinian rights is far from being a political issue; rather, it is undoubtedly a humanitarian issue: “The people in question are lacking basic needs, like the right to proper housing; these defenseless families are not able to stay at homes without either being invaded by Israelite settlers, or else face the threat of an attack by armed forces, for no other reason than being Palestinian in their own homes. Mind you, this is a daily occurrence for some of these people, not just something that happens in a blue moon.”

Before I left, Camilleri told me to watch a video named “5 Cameras”. When I commented that it was a strange name for a documentary, they told me that 5 cameras actually was the number of cameras broken during the documentary; “the journalists in question were repeatedly assaulted whilst filming their conditions.”

Anyone interested in joining their activities can follow the Palestinian Solidarity Network via their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1397856923798456/?ref=ts&fref=ts

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