Berlin protest responds to Israeli crimes in Gaza, demands justice for Palestine

Palestinian youth activists with Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network and Hirak (the Palestinian Youth Mobilization) in Berlin, Germany, joined the demonstration on Monday, 24 February in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza and throughout occupied Palestine and in exile struggling for justice and liberation.

The demonstration, held outside the city hall in Berlin’s Neukölln district on Karl-Marx-Strasse, was sparked by Israeli occupation attacks on Gaza, including repeated bombing raids and the killing of Mohammed Ali al-Naim, a 27-year-old man shot dead by Israeli occupation forces whose body was later dragged by a bulldozer in widely circulated footage.

The Israeli military attack on Gaza and the desecration of al-Naim’s body come in violation of international humanitarian and human rights law, including the Hague Regulations, the Rome Statute and the UN Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment.

After occupation soldiers shot Al-Naim, the bulldozer was sent into besieged Gaza to run over his body, pick him up and throw him to the ground again to “confirm the kill,” before Israeli occupation forces abducted his body using the bulldozer. Palestinians who attempted to recover al-Naim’s body were also attacked by occupation soldiers, who continued shooting at them; one of the attempted rescuers was shot in the leg with live bullets. The brutal attack also sparked retaliatory strikes by Palestinian resistance organizations. Al-Naim’s body continues to be held hostage by the Israeli occupation along with other Palestinians’ bodies in an attempt to extract concessions from the Palestinian resistance.

In Berlin, Palestinians and friends of Palestine protested with a vigil marked by passionate chants calling for justice and liberation for Palestine, raising their voices to express their outrage at the latest Israeli crimes as well as the complicity of the imperialist powers in these ongoing attacks. They expressed their support for Palestinians’ right to resist occupation and oppression and demanded that the Palestinian Authority end its security coordination with the Israeli occupation and free Palestinian political detainees.

Protesters highlighted ongoing Israeli crimes, including extrajudicial executions, the kidnapping of Palestinians’ bodies, demolition of homes, mass arrests and torture of Palestinian prisoners and land confiscation, as well as the so-called “deal of the century” between Trump and Netanyahu.

The protest also comes amid racist right-wing threats to Turkish, Kurdish, Arab and other communities in Germany, especially following a fascist mass shooting in Halle, near Frankfurt, where a far-right shooter killed 10 people. It also takes place despite ongoing attempts by the German government to suppress solidarity organizing for Palestine, including anti-BDS legislation and other forms of targeting. The ongoing protests in Berlin continue to demonstrate the strength of Palestinian communities and commitment to struggling for liberation despite multiple types of repression.

On 31 January, hundreds of people from across Europe gathered outside the Bundestag for a demonstration to denounce Germany’s anti-BDS laws and defend the rights of the Palestinian people. In addition to the anti-BDS resolution in the German parliament, the German state imposed a political ban on Palestinian writer Khaled Barakat and refused to renew his residence visa, deported  Rasmea Odeh, and continued the criminal prosecution of Palestinian and Israeli Jewish activists for interrupting a speech by a member of the Knesset. These incidents come alongside the forced resignation of the director of the Jewish Museum, the denial of venues to events hosting Palestinians and supporters of Palestine, the closing of the bank account of Jewish Voices for a Just Peace and the disinvitation of international artists who have taken a stand to support Palestinian rights.

Participants in the demonstration, including Samidoun and Hirak activists, pledged to continue to confront Israeli apartheid and Zionist crimes and mobilize for the liberation of Palestine from the river to the sea.