On Tuesday, 28 January, supporters of justice in Palestine gathered in Vancouver at the Centre for Socialist Education for an educational discussion on the case of Ahmad Sa’adat and the political situation in Palestine today. The event, organized by Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS) Canada and the Canada Palestine Association, included presentations by Samidoun international coordinator Charlotte Kates, Hanna Kawas of CPA and Khaled Barakat, the international coordinator of the Campaign to Free Ahmad Sa’adat.
The event was organized as part of the two weeks of action to free Ahmad Sa’adat, the imprisoned General Secretary of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and all Palestinian prisoners. It marked the 18th anniversary of Sa’adat’s imprisonment by the Palestinian Authority; since the Israeli attack on the PA’s Jericho prison in 2006 (where Sa’adat had been held under U.S. and British guard), Sa’adat has been imprisoned by the Israeli regime. Events were organized between 15 and 29 January in Toulouse, Paris, Manchester, Vancouver, New York, Brussels, Tunis, Ireland, Gothenburg, Amsterdam, Charleroi and Bern, among others, as part of the call to action.
The Vancouver meeting also took place hours after U.S. President Donald Trump and Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced their racist, colonialist “deal of the century.” In her remarks, Kates noted that Sa’adat’s case is incredibly relevant in this context, given the role of U.S. imperialism in shoring up Israeli apartheid in Palestine. She framed the imprisonment of Sa’adat as a reflection of the same forces – imperialism, Zionism and Arab reaction – involved in the attempt to liquidate the Palestinian cause through Trump’s “deal.”
Kawas focused his remarks mainly on the destructive role of the Palestinian Authority and the Oslo process, noting that Trump’s latest attack on Palestinian rights continued down the same path of the fruitless and destructive “peace process,” rather than reflecting a break with U.S. policy. He noted that the colonial settlements in the occupied West Bank at least tripled during the Oslo period, the same illegal settlements that the “deal of the century” seeks to legitimize.
In his comments, Barakat discussed the situation of Palestinian political prisoners, focusing not only on their suffering but on their leadership in the Palestinian movement, noting that they are involved in daily confrontations with the occupier. He spoke about Sa’adat’s leadership within the Palestinian movement, noting that his experience was strengthened through years of struggle and revolutionary education inside the prisons.
He also discussed the broader regional importance of the Palestinian struggle, emphasizing the contradiction between the Arab peoples and their future and the ongoing dominance of Zionism and imperialism. In a wide-ranging question-and-answer session, participants discussed BDS activities, the importance of organizing for the boycott of Israel, torture of Palestinian political prisoners and the necessity of joint struggle to confront imperialism, among other issues.
Watch the full video of the event here:
On Sunday, 2 February, actions for Palestine in Vancouver will continue with a demonstration against the so-called “deal of the century,” which will take place at 2:30 pm at the Vancouver Art Gallery. All are invited to attend and participate.