In recent days, there has been massive police violence on the streets of Berlin which has been ridden with anti-Palestinian, anti-Arab, and anti-Muslim racism. At the Ernst-Abbe school, this resulted in a teacher assaulting a student.
The brutality which is being used against Arab and Muslim people is completely excessive. Racial profiling and the brutal arrests are also being used against children and young people. We know already about at least 8 minors who have been affected. The youngest child who has been imprisoned is 9 years old.
The Berlin Senator for Education banned the wearing of traditional Palestinian clothing in all Berlin schools. In her official statement, cultural symbols of Palestinian identity, like the keffiyeh were branded as the glorification of violence and terrorism. This contravenes the rights for children contained in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which allows them to express their own identity in schools.
Since last Saturday (14th October), Israel has already killed over 2,000 people in the besieged Gaza Strip. A video analysis by Human Rights Watch confirms the use of white phosphorous bomb – internationally proscribed weapons, with which civilians in densely populated residential areas, have been banned.
The Israeli defence minister called 2 million Palestinians in the Gaza strip “human animals” and threatened to cut off their electricity, water and food supply. Hospitals are closing because they lack the water and electricity they need to care for their parents.
Israel has banned humanitarian help and is bombing the border crossing between Gaza and Egypt – the only passage with which help could be delivered. Israel has announced that it wants to starve a whole region and to deny food and water to its inhabitants, half of whom are children.
Meanwhile, Germany is promising the Israeli government its unconditional support for war crimes and genocide. In addition, on German streets, it is intimidating Palestinian people who are currently losing their relatives.
Palestinians’ rights to opinion and to assembly are being blatantly cut in Berlin with racist justifications. The largest Palestinian community in Europe lives in the capital. Many of them have relatives in Gaza. They have the right to mourn their family and friends and to take their pain onto the streets.
Every day, the Berlin police patrol districts containing a significant number of Arabs, and act violently against their inhabitants as well as against all who show solidarity with Palestine. Every day, dozens of people are arrested on the streets, or dragged from cafés and imbisses. Carrying a Palestine flag or wearing the traditional scarf, the keffiyeh, results in brutal detention.
The alliance of Palästina Spricht, Jüdische Stimme für gerechten Frieden in Nahost, Jewish Bund, Pakestine Campagne, and the Kampagne für Opfer rassistischer Polizeigewalt calls on the public:
“We are experiencing at the moment how our mere existence is being criminalised. Don’t we live in a democracy? How can basic rights be removed so easily when they affect migrant people? Every person in this country who believes in democracy should be alarmed.
We call on the Berlin senate to urgently stop the sweeping criminalisation of Palestinian cultural symbols. We will take legal steps to demand these basic rights. We will be taking legal action against the ban of registered demonstrations.”
If you have further questions, you can contact the Palestine campaign at email@example.com.
This statement originally appeared in German. Translation: Phil Butland. Reproduced with permission.