The Emergency Fourth Euro-Mediterranean Workers Conference adopted a resolution to support and work with the proposal of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine “to start working towards a united anti-imperialist, anti-Zionist international initiative that will also fight all other kinds of reaction that are on the rise in the Middle East, in the Balkans and in the Mediterranean region at large. The Conference declares its intention to engage in discussions with the PFLP and other appropriate organizations, left political parties and workers’ and mass movements to establish the terms, the composition and the tasks of such an international initiative.”
This initiative was adopted in Athens, Greece at the conference, convened between May 26-28, which focused on the increasing threats to workers’ movements in the region from imperialist and local reactionary forces. Looking at the situation from the exploitation of Greek debt to impoverish the Greek working class and confiscate the people’s resources, to the heavy repression imposed by the Turkish state, to the attempts of the Israeli occupation state and the United States to attack and liquidate the Palestinian cause on the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration.
The conference was hosted by the Balkan Socialist Center “Christian Rakovsky” and the RedMed network, following three earlier conferences organized by the same organizations. Along with marking 100 years of the Balfour declaration, the conference also commemorated 100 years of the October Revolution, looking at revolutionary alternatives to struggle against capitalism and imperialism. Organizers discussed the growing resistance amid devastating conditions, including confrontation of the policies of Donald Trump as recently represented in Riyadh, followed by his visit to Palestine.
The conference included lengthy discussions of the need to build unity and alliances among left forces and workers’ and mass movements in the region to confront imperialism, Zionism and local reactionary forces serving their interests in a collective manner, emphasizing that this is a moment of great danger for the peoples of the world and also one of great importance for confronting imperialist war and its proponents in the United States, Europe and elsewhere in the region.
The conference also included discussion of the Palestinian political prisoners and, in particular, the mass hunger strike that was suspended during the conference after 40 days of struggle. Mohammed Khatib of the Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network spoke at the opening of the conference.
He spoke about the struggle of the Palestinian prisoners and their leadership of the Palestinian national liberation movements, denouncing attempts by the occupation state to suppress and attack the prisoners and emphasizing the need for international confrontation of the occupier. Furthermore, Khatib denounced the role of the Palestinian Authority in perpetrating security coordination with the occupation against the Palestinian resistance and suppressing demonstrations to support the prisoners while seeking to confiscate their achievements gained through struggle.
“It is critically important for communist parties and progressive forces in the Mediterranean region to come together to confront colonialism and fight imperialism and Zionism, as well as the forces of the extreme right,” Khatib said. In particular, he focused on the intensifying programs seeking to tie the economies of the region to the Zionist state, noting that Palestinian resources like natural gas and water are being confiscated for pipeline deals at the expense of the wealth and interests of all of the people of the region and for the benefit of the occupation state and its imperialist strategic partner, along with local reactionary forces.
He urged joint struggle and mutual solidarity to build boycott campaigns and anti-normalization campaigns against these exploitation agreements as well as to struggle collectively to confront racism, occupation, capitalism, Zionism and imperialism. Khatib also called on all to build the struggle to free political prisoners, in Palestine and around the world, including in Greece, Turkey, Bulgaria, Poland, Ukraine and Argentina. In particular, he urged a higher level of mobilization for the release of Comrade Georges Ibrahim Abdallah, the revolutionary Communist Arab struggler for Palestinian liberation imprisoned by France for 33 years.
Conference attendees expressed their solidarity with the Palestinian liberation struggle and pledged to work together to confront the forces threatening the people of the region.
Samidoun joins Euro-Mediterranean Workers’ Conference in Athens, urges united action for Palestine
Mohammed Khatib, the European coordinator of Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, participated in the Euro-Mediterranean Workers’ Conference in Athens, Greece on Saturday, 27 May, delivering a speech in the opening event of the conference and focusing on the struggle of Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli prisons.
“Palestinian prisoners in occupation prisons are the real leadership of the Palestinian national liberation struggle against Zionist colonialism,” Khatib said, emphasizing that the hunger strike of Palestinian prisoners – suspended just that morning after over 40 days – had wide popular support. He denounced the attempts by Israeli occupation forces to suppress the prisoners’ protest and distort its image before the Palestinian public and the world. Furthermore, he warned against the role of the Palestinian Authority in seeking to lay claim to the accomplishments obtained by the prisoners while suppressing support and protests and continuing to engage in “security coordination” with the Israeli occupation.
He also noted that the Palestinian prisoners were confronting imperialism through their strike at the same time that U.S. President Donald Trump was in Riyadh and then in occupied Palestine to promote normalization with the Israeli occupation state and the further suppression of Palestinian rights and existence. Khatib warned against attempts to integrate the economy of the Mediterranean region with the Israeli state, noting the recent gas deals, pipeline projects and other initiatives meant to link the economies of Turkey, Greece, Italy and Jordan to that of the Israeli occupation, intensifying not only economic enmeshment but also military alliances at the expenses of the rights, wealth and existence of the Palestinian people.
He emphasized the importance of workers’ and social movements in Mediterranean countries in confronting and disrupting these attempts and escalating the struggle for boycott, especially against water, gas and oil deals designed to confiscate the wealth of the peoples of the region for the enrichment of the Israeli occupation, Arab reactionary regimes and the United States.
Khatib also denounced the role of the European Union in continuing to support the Israeli occupation 100 years after the Balfour declaration and the launch of British colonization in Palestine, noting that this accord between the British state and the Zionist movement was a “bankrupt agreement between colonizers.” He also particularly noted the role of the French state, with its lengthy history of colonization in the region, today suppressing Palestine solidarity activism while imprisoning Georges Ibrahim Abdallah, a Lebanese Communist struggler for Palestine, for 33 years in French prisons. He urged building the international campaign to free Georges Abdallah alongside his fellow prisoners of the Palestinian cause.
Following his major speech at the opening of the conference, Khatib later presented at a workshop on political prisoners, in which he explained in detail the situation of approximately 6,500 Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli prisons and their struggle for freedom and liberation. He reviewed the newly-suspended Strike of Freedom and Dignity as well as the history of hunger strikes in the prisons and the leading role of the Palestinian prisoners’ movement in the Palestinian national liberation struggle. The conference expressed its support for political prisoners around the world, including in Palestine, Turkey, Greece, Ukraine, France, Poland, Argentina, Bulgaria and elsewhere.
In further discussion about Palestine, the conference discussed the importance of building alliances with the Palestinian workers’ movement and the Palestinian Left, adopting a call from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine to build a “united anti-imperialist, anti-Zionist international initiative that will also fight all other kinds of reaction that are on the rise in the Middle East, the Balkans and the Mediterranean region at large.”