#JusticeForMusaab: Palestinian organizer Musaab Abu Atta subjected to political ban in Germany

The repression against Palestinian voices in Germany is mounting. On Friday, 29 September, German police arrived at the home of Musaab Abu Atta, a Palestinian refugee from Syria, member of Samidoun Germany, member of the executive committee of the Masar Badil, the Palestinian Alternative Revolutionary Path Movement; artist and student, where they issued a political ban, prohibiting him from attending any political and social events and activities until 31 October 2023 or “until you leave the country.” Not only do the German immigration authorities ban Musaab from attending events with Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network and the Masar Badil, they explicitly forbid him from events being organized to #StandWithZaid and challenge anti-Palestinian repression in Germany.

The immediate aim of the ban was to forbid Musaab from attending the 30 September speak-out for Palestine and against German repression in Berlin, where 6 people were arrested for chanting “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!” By banning him from #StandWithZaid events — named for Zaid Abdulnasser, fellow Samidoun Germany organizer who is facing the stripping of his refugee status for his political activism for Palestine — the Berlin immigration authorities are making clear that they are specifically suppressing Palestinians’ freedom of speech, expression and association and denying them the ability to even speak about the repression they face. 

The German authorities state that Musaab is a Palestinian born in Syria, of “unclear” nationality — when it is, in reality, quite clear that he is a Palestinian refugee, denied, with his family, the right to return home to Palestine for the past 75 years. Musaab is 26 and he has, all his life, been denied his most fundamental rights due to the Zionist colonization of Palestine and its unmitigated backing by the Western imperialist powers, including and particularly Germany. Since he arrived in Germany in 2015, he has been subjected to state racism, criminalization, surveillance and stigmatization; the German authorities actually criminally prosecuted him for making posts on Facebook as a teenager in support of Palestinian resistance, mimicking similar prosecutions in occupied Palestine. Like other Palestinians, his status has been stripped from him and he lives under a “duldung” status, “toleration.” He cannot be deported, and at the same time is denied access to basic rights and fundamental needs — and is now being stripped of his fundamental civil and political rights. 

German-Palestinian lawyer Nadija Samour, speaking to 972mag, said: “Duldung is a very typical Palestinian story here in Germany,” Samour explained. “It basically means that he would be in an open air prison and wouldn’t be able to travel, and likely wouldn’t be able to work or study at a university.”

The German immigration authorities’ political ban on Musaab attempts to label his speaking out for Palestinian prisoners — including Ahmad Sa’adat and Georges Abdallah — as “supporting terrorism,” echoing Israeli defamation and propaganda being used to attack Samidoun and the Palestinian movement more broadly. They repeatedly note Musaab’s charisma and skill in leading chants and involving young people, especially Palestinians and Arabs, in the movement and in demonstrations — and indicate that this is precisely why they are targeting in the latest manifestation of state racism. We believe that this ban is specifically constructed to prevent Musaab from joining in the October 19-21 events in Toulouse and Lannemezan, especially the Lannemezan march to free Georges Abdallah on 21 October 2023. The 18-page document indicates that Musaab has been subjected to intense surveillance, documenting his presence at protests and meetings for Palestinian liberation in Madrid, Brussels and elsewhere, including the founding meeting of the Masar Badil movement.

The political ban was previously used in Germany against Palestinian writer Khaled Barakat, prior to his deportation, specifically to prevent him from speaking against then-U.S. President Donald Trump’s “Deal of the Century” and Arab normalization deals with Israel — and all other political events; and against torture survivor and former Palestinian prisoner Rasmea Odeh, subject to a political ban outside the door of an International Women’s Day event banned moments before by the Berlin police in 2019. 

In fact, the German immigration authorities attempt to use the fact that Musaab spoke up against the political ban on Khaled Barakat as a justification for subjecting him to the same outrageous treatment. The latest attack on Musaab is part of a series of repressive assaults targeting the Palestinian community in Berlin — the largest Palestinian community in Europe — and all of Germany, as well as the Palestine solidarity movement. It is a specific attack targeting Palestinian refugees in order to intimidate, criminalize and prevent them from speaking out for their right to return to Palestine and get engaged in the Palestinian liberation movement in exile and diaspora. 

In the past two years, Berlin officials have banned demonstrations commemorating the Nakba and Palestinian Prisoners’ Day. The one Nakba memorial event that was not initially banned, organized by Jewish solidarity organizers, was attacked by police after the organizers refused to exclude Palestinian activists from their demonstration or bar people from chanting, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.” Jewish, Palestinian and solidarity activists were violently arrested by Berlin police. The scene repeated itself on Saturday, 30 September, when 200 police surrounded a demonstration in solidarity with Palestinian prisoner on hunger strike, Kayed Fasfous, and against anti-Palestinian repression in Germany, arresting six people for saying “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!”

The attack on Musaab Abu Atta is an attack on him as a Palestinian refugee, youth organizer and artist; it is also an attack on Samidoun and on the Masar Badil. More broadly, however, it reflects a general attack against the Palestinian prisoners’ movement and the Palestinian people as a whole, specifically Palestinian refugee youth organizing their community to speak out for justice and take action for Palestinian liberation. Instead, Germany is lining up alongside the Israeli regime to label Palestinian identity, expression and organizing as criminal and terrorist. 

We also note that this political ban on Musaab comes shortly after Zionist ambassador Ron Prosor denounced the posters on the streets of the Neukolln neighbourhood in Berlin, stating that it “looks like Gaza,” calling for Samidoun to be banned. Musaab is the artist and designer of many of these posters, and a political ban against him seems precisely targeted to silence his images as well as his words, as demanded by the Israeli ambassador’s racist calls.

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network calls for #JusticeForMusaab and the broadest support for Musaab Abu Atta, Zaid Abdulnasser, and all Palestinians and Palestine activists targeted for repression in Germany and around the world. Musaab’s organizing reflects the role of Palestinians in diaspora claiming their role in the liberation movement – and that role is now under sustained attack by the Zionist regime, the German state and other imperialist powers. Now is the time to speak out against these political bans – and for the liberation of Palestine, from the river to the sea! 

Take action:

  • Download the poster, take a selfie or group photo, and send it to us at samidoun@samidoun.net, @samidounnetwork (Instagram) or @SamidounPP (Twitter/X)!
  • To financially support the legal defence of Musaab, Zaid and other Palestinians in Germany bearing the brunt of the state’s repressive measures against Palestine, you can make a donation to the following account:
    Name: Rote Hilfe e.V.
    IBAN: DE55 4306 0967 4007 2383 17
    Note: Palaestina gegen Repression