Germany bars physician who labored in Gaza, shuts down Palestinian convention | EUROtoday

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BERLIN — Police officers shut down and banned a Palestinian solidarity convention in Berlin and detained greater than a dozen attendees, hours after a British Palestinian physician slated to talk on the occasion stated German authorities “forcibly prevented” his entry into the nation.

Ghassan Abu Sitta, a reconstructive plastic surgeon who spent 43 days tending to the wounded in Gaza City final yr, stated that he was questioned for 3 hours at Berlin’s airport earlier than being instructed he was not allowed to enter the nation. He stated he had additionally been knowledgeable he was not allowed to report any movies that may very well be proven in occasions in Germany throughout that interval.

Germany’s inside ministry didn’t reply to emails requesting remark.

“As his lawyers, we will be taking up his removal from Germany with the authorities and will expect a full explanation for the manner in which he was treated today,” stated Tayab Ali, who represents Abu Sitta, on X.

“They want to silence Palestinian voices,” Abu Sitta stated at an indication on the German embassy in London after arriving again in Britain. “When you see what they are doing to the people in Gaza, this is nothing. They want to silence the witnesses.”

Shortly after he was turned again at immigration, the Palestinian convention at which he was as a result of communicate — which accuses Germany of being complicit in “Israeli apartheid and genocide” on its web site — was damaged up by police.

German officers have characterised the nation’s crackdown on pro-Palestinian voices for the reason that Hamas assault on Oct. 7 as a struggle towards antisemitism, paramount to the state given its Holocaust historical past.

Critics have countered that Germany’s intention is to stifle voices essential of Israel’s conflict, and level to the comfortable hand of authorities in terms of antisemitism of White far-right Germans.

In February, Israeli filmmaker Yuval Abraham prompted a firestorm on the Berlin International Film Festival after he known as for a cease-fire in Gaza and criticized Israel’s therapy of Palestinians.

Police shut down the Palestinian solidarity convention a few minute into enjoying a video message from Salman Abu Sitta — Ghassan Abu Sitta’s uncle. “We have never seen before all means of life systematically destroyed: hospitals, clinics, schools, universities, libraries, ancient monuments, mosques, universities, cemeteries, apartment buildings,” he stated earlier than the police intervened.

“Be calm, they are embarrassing themselves,” an organizer instructed attendees as police lower off the dwell stream. Around 30 law enforcement officials had been within the room of 250 members to observe the occasion, attendees stated. They then lower energy to the constructing.

Berlin police stated it broke up the occasion as a result of Salman Abu Sitta is “forbidden from being politically active in Germany.” Seventeen individuals had been detained, in accordance with a police assertion which didn’t give additional particulars on the arrests.

“There is a risk of a speaker being put on screen who in the past made antisemitic and violence-glorifying remarks,” Berlin police stated on social media. The final two days of the convention have been banned, it stated.

Wieland Hoban — the chairman of Jewish Voice for a Just Peace within the Middle East, which co-organized the occasion — stated the organizers had not been knowledgeable that Salman Abu Sitta was below a talking ban. Two of the group’s members had been detained, together with one who held up a “Jews against genocide” signal exterior the occasion venue within the morning.

The convention — and Salman Abu Sitta’s participation particularly — stirred controversy earlier than it even started, with Germany’s antisemitism commissioner, Felix Klein, saying he was in favor of banning the writer from coming into the nation. In a January weblog publish, Salman Abu Sitta wrote that he “could have been one of those who broke through the fence” if he had been youthful and nonetheless lived “in the concentration camp called the Gaza Strip.”

Organizers stated round 100 law enforcement officials confirmed up on the occasion Friday morning, however didn’t elevate any issues with them concerning the convention program. In the morning, police had instructed organizers that constructing and hearth laws meant that solely 250 attendees can be allowed to attend as a substitute of 850.

Berlin Mayor Kai Wagner praised the police actions. “We have made it clear which rules apply in Berlin,” he tweeted. “We have made it clear that hatred of Israel has no place in Berlin. Anyone who does not abide by these rules will feel the consequences.”