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Mohammed Khatib of Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network spoke at an event organized by Students for Justice in Palestine – Maastricht and Not Just a Number on 4 February, on the situation of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, Syria and Europe.

Khatib, a member of the International Coordinating Committee of the International League of People’s Struggle representing Samidoun, discussed the struggle of Palestinian and other refugees in Europe, confronting institutional policies of exclusion, militarization and a “security” framework, as well as a growing extreme right and fascist threat. He discussed institutional racism and oppression as manifestations of colonialism and imperialism, directed towards marginalized communities within Europe.

The growing militarization and securitization of life in Europe is a process that cannot be disconnected from European support for and joint projects with the Israeli state, Khatib said, highlighting European-Israeli cooperation on security and military technology. He noted that militarization is never rolled back without a massive popular struggle; the placement of soldiers on the streets for “security” quickly becomes normalized and “states of emergency” become the framework of daily life. Police brutality and oppression experienced by communities in Europe is the product of a institutional racism and oppression that is developing its technologies in coordination with the racist state of Israel, he noted, pointing out the US-Israeli joint police training and information sharing being used against Black communities.  He noted that these technologies are frequently first tested on Palestinians under occupation, emphasizing that the struggle against militarization should come hand in hand with the struggle for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel.

He also discussed the situation of Palestinian refugees in Syria, Lebanon and everywhere in diaspora, providing an overview of the crises and siege faced by Palestinians in exile and emphasizing that the cause of the Palestinian refugees’ crisis and the goal of their struggle is the right of return to Palestine which has been denied them for the past 68 years, and the liberation of Palestine, not merely humanitarian reforms or accommodations.

SJP-Maastricht is planning future events to continue educating the university community about Palestine and the struggle of the Palestinian people for liberation.