'We can call this conference anti-Israeli,' Polish MEP says
A conference of UN NGOs (non-governmental organizations) on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, to be hosted at the European Parliament this month, will be boycotted by Polish Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) from across the political spectrum, who say that the conference is biased against Israel.
The meeting, set to take place at the European Parliament on August 30 - 31, has been organized by the UN's Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People."
Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik, has written to the President of the European Parliament, Hans-Gert Poettering, asking him to cancel the European Parliament's decision to host the conference, while the Jerusalem-based NGO Monitor organization said the upcoming conference as a rehash of the 2001 UN Durban conference on racism, which saw unprecedented levels of anti-Zionist rhetoric, and calls for Israel's destruction.
"I will not take part in this conference. I saw the materials prepared by the organizers," Bronis³aw Geremek, a Polish MEP, was quoted by Polish website, Europa21 as saying.
"Although there is no official statement that Israel must be pushed down to the sea there, the choice of subjects and the attitude towards the problems shows that it will be a biased, conflict generating conference. Actually we can call it anti-Israeli," he said.
'Israelis can count on Poles'
"There is not the first such initiative. (The) Pro-Palestinian lobby is very active here. If in fact, the conference will become propagandist, Israelis can count on Poles," Boguslaw Sonik, another Polish MEP, said.
Konrad Szymanski, a third MEP, said: "Israel's objections are fully justified. (The) UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People is a platform for activity of various extremists. According to the most of them Israel should disappear."
"I am astonished that European Parliament allowed such activity to be placed in its building. If there is any activity against the conference, i.e. a petition signed by MEPs, I will be very glad to support it," Szymanski added.
'Anti-Israel conference' slammed
NGO watchdog: UN summit, hosted by EU Parliament is 'propaganda conference'
A UN conference of non-government organizations (NGOs) called to discuss "civil society in support of Israeli-Palestinian peace" at the end of August has been described by an Israeli NGO watchdog as an "anti-Israel propaganda conference".
The meeting, set to take place at the European Parliament (EP) on August 30 - 31, has been organized by the UN's Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, which describes itself as "the main UN forum where all NGOs interested in the Palestine issue can meet."
According to the Jerusalem-based NGO Monitor organization, the conference and its organizers form "frameworks that promote the conflict," adding that the NGOs involved in the upcoming conference were also active in "implementing the Durban agenda of demonization," - a reference to the 2001 UN Durban conference on racism, which saw unprecedented levels of anti-Zionist rhetoric, and calls for Israel's destruction.
"This year, for the first time, the exercise is gaining the legitimacy of sponsorship by the European Parliament, further highlighting the role that the Europe Union plays in supporting the NGO campaign," NGO Monitor said in its report.
Noting that "the speakers list is (being kept) secret until the conference, highlighting the violation of transparency in the UN and EU," NGO Monitor said "past speakers have included radical figures such as... Jamal Juma' Ja'afreh, from the Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign. Topics include 'the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and civil society response,' and 'Strengthening campaigns to end occupation, including grassroots campaigns against the wall, rallying around Bil'in" (the site of violent attacks organized by NGOs in order to provoke Israeli responses).'"
Speaking to Ynetnews, Professor Gerald Steinberg, Executive Director of NGO Monitor, said: "What is surprising is not the UN involvement in the NGO's demonization of Israel, but that the EU Parliament is providing support and a platform for these fringe groups. This is yet another side of the absurdity of the EU's claim to support peace, whilst simultaneously promoting radical NGOs, like ICAHD, and giving them legitimacy at the EU Parliament."
A spokesperson for the European Parliament confirmed "that there will be a conference organized on the EP's premises by the UN," but added: "I am not sure in what capacity the EP itself is involved."
Wolfgang Grieger, Secretary of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, denied that the conference would be anti Israel.
'UN Committee not anti-Israeli'
"Unfortunately, the NGO Monitor misinterprets the event as an 'anti-Israel propaganda conference'. The UN Committee is not anti-Israeli, nor are its activities. The Committee welcomed the 1991 Madrid Peace Conference that launched the Middle East peace process based on Security Council resolutions 242 and 338 and the principle of 'land for peace'," Grieger told Ynetnews.
Grieger added that the Committee "strongly supports the objective of two States, Israel and Palestine, living side by side within secure and recognized borders, as endorsed by the Security Council in resolution 1515 (2003). The Committee welcomed the Quartet's Road Map and has called on the parties to implement it."
"Through its activities, the Committee continues to advocate the realization of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, promote a just and peaceful settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and mobilize assistance to the Palestinians," he said.
He added that NGO Monitor omitted topics of discussion in the conference from its report, such as "Initiatives by the European Parliament and civil society towards facilitating a peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue 2008."
"The Committee is looking forward to an interesting conference engaging all layers of civil society, parliamentarians and diplomats for the benefit of a peaceful solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict," Grieger said.
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