Seminar: Britain’s Exit from the European Union and its potential impact on the Palestinian cause

16-05-2017 18:24

Source: EuroPal Forum


On the 7th May at P21 Gallery in Euston,  EuroPal Forum hosted a public seminar to discuss the potential impact of Brexit on the Palestinian cause and solidarity movements across Britain and the European Union (EU).


Speakers on the panel included Zaher Birawi (Chair of EuroPal Forum), Dr. Nawaf Al-Tamimi (Palestinian journalist and writer), Dr. Kamel Hawash (a British-Palestinian engineering professor based at the University of Birmingham and a longstanding campaigner for justice) and Dr. Adeeb Ziadeh (a Palestinian academic specialising in the EU foreign policy on the Middle East).


Zaher Birawi opened the seminar outlining some of the issues surrounding Britain leaving the EU and the potential effects on the Palestinian cause. He stressed the history of the relationship between Israel and the UK as well as the continued support provided to Israel by the UK since the Balfour Declaration, and  Britain’s active contribution to the establishment of the Israeli occupation state.


Dr. Al-Tamimi spoke about British policy principles regarding the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. He stressed the fundamental importance of  Britain's assistance in the establishment of Israel on Palestinian land. He highlighted that the British Mandate prior to 1948 facilitated the settlers' arrival in Palestine. Furthermore, Dr. Al-Tamimi criticised the role of the EU in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, saying that its role has been limited to two issues. Firstly, , intervention in the event of a disaster in order to play the role of an humanitarian organisation. Secondly, as a ‘cash fund’ to finance the reconstruction of the devastation caused by Israel in its wars against the Palestinian people and their property.


Professor Hawash discussed the impact of Brexit on the solidarity of civil societies and the supporters of Palestine. He illustrated Britain's current pro Israel bias towards Israeli policy, and its stance on boycotting campaigns against the occupying state, including attempts to silence these campaigns contradictory to British values, in particular freedom of expression. Professor Hawash criticised the failure of the Arab countries in dealing with the conflict and the need to create a lobby supporting Palestine in Europe and Britain in particular. He noted that the growth of economic relations with the Arab countries is more rapid than any part of the world including other European countries.

Finally Dr. Ziadeh relayed his thoughts on the relationship between Brexit and the Hamas movement. He indicated that while the EU included both the Hamas military and political wings on the lists of terrorism, Britain only included Hamas' military wing on its terrorism list. He argued that this provides an opportunity for Hamas and its political wing to build relations with Britain in the future. Dr. Ziadeh ruled out that Brexit would have any effect on the European Court of Justice with regards to the maintenance of Hamas on EU  terrorism lists.

Topics : #Brexit #Israel #Palestine

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