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Belgium's Viva Palestina Party Seeks Recognition Of Gaza Genocide In Brussels' Parliament

25.05.2024 16:42

'We want to join parliament and push for recognition of 'genocide in Gaza',’ says party leader Dyab Abou Jahjah.

Belgium's Viva Palestina Party is working toward genocide recognition for Israel's war on Gaza as it prepares to run in the Brussels capital region parliament elections on June 9, party leader Dyab Abou Jahjah has said.

In an interview with Anadolu, Abou Jahjah, a Lebanese Belgian political scientist, said he experienced Israeli oppression firsthand in his childhood.

"In 1976 they (Israel) committed a massacre in my village. We barely escaped. We had to run through the valleys with my mother and my baby brother. He was just six months old. We did not know if my father was alive. Our entire village was destroyed," he said.

Abou Jahjah then recalled he was just 11 during the Israeli occupation of Lebanon in 1982.

"I believed until now that the 1982 invasion in Lebanon was the worst thing they have done. But this (war on Gaza) is something I've never seen before."

He added that after Oct. 7, they voiced their opposition to the war and support for the Palestinian struggle through legal actions.

"We founded a movement called the 'March 30 Movement,' to pursue justice for Gaza and recognition of the genocide."

"The movement was founded in the Netherlands, Belgium, and France, to pursue legal actions against Belgian, Dutch, and French citizens participating in the Gaza genocide by fighting for the Israeli military," said Abou Jahjah.

Speaking about the International Criminal Court's (ICC) arrest warrant request for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, he said: "When the ICC issues a warrant about Netanyahu, he can say that 'we did not sign the ICC protocols, we don't care.' But when we sue a Belgian or Dutch citizen, this debate is ineffective. Belgium or the Netherlands has jurisdiction over its own citizens."

"Secondly, it doesn't have the debate of immunity. Heads of states do have impunity but a Belgian Israeli soldier cannot claim this. So, on these two levels, this is a very realistic procedure and we will continue to pursue that. Our lawyers are focusing on that."

Genocide recognition to have major repercussions

Abou Jahjah said they have also decided to take political action and first looked for a parliament where they might have the majority to pass a resolution to recognize "the genocide of Gaza."

He pointed out that although such decisions are frequently accepted in Europe and despite finding a lot of political parties who might be open to the idea, there was no parliament in Europe where they could have a majority for such a resolution.

"The only realistic possibility is Brussels because it has very specific demographics. It has a very big Muslim community and other communities that are quite open to the Palestinian cause. Several political parties are actually quite pro-Palestinian," Abou Jahjah said.

"However, none of these political parties have considered such a resolution and they do not want to put it on their agenda. Therefore, we decided to go into the parliament and put it on the agenda ourselves," he added.

He noted that they launched Viva Palestina as a political initiative in Brussels for the upcoming regional elections.

"So, our vision is to enter the Brussels parliament and put a resolution recognizing the genocide in Gaza on the agenda."

If that passes, it will have major repercussions. Because once the genocide is recognized by a parliament resolution, the Brussels government can no longer continue collaborating with the State of Israel, Abou Jahjah added.

"So that will be our first victory."

"Secondly, this will open a debate on a national level, because Belgium is a federal state, it cannot ignore that one of its three federal entities -- and the capital for that matter -- is boycotting Israel."

"Thirdly, because Brussels is the capital of the European Union, it will also have a symbolic effect," said the Viva Palestina leader.

'Vote for Viva Palestina, do something for Gaza'

Abou Jahjah urged people to vote for his party, because by doing so, he claims, they will have done something about the situation in Gaza.

"Because they will ultimately enable us to get into the parliament and push for a resolution to recognize the genocide. It will be a concrete example for many other countries," he said.

"We will be forcing, first of all, our government here in Brussels to stop financial and academic collaboration with Israel."

He also argued that recognizing that Israel committed "genocide" in Gaza would be a great defeat for the country itself.

"Since its inception, Israel has claimed that it is a state that has risen from the ashes of a genocide. This is the strongest argument the Israelis have used to justify their crimes against the Palestinian people."

"So, recognizing that Israel committed a genocide will neutralize the historical claim Israel has used to intimidate everybody. This will be the biggest defeat for Israel," he claimed.

He also welcomed the recent decision by three EU countries to recognize the Palestinian state.

"However, I think what really needs to be done is, first of all, stop this genocide, and second, bring those responsible to justice and internationally isolate them completely."

"We need to recognize the reality that Israel is an apartheid state and is committing a genocide. So, it cannot be treated as a normal state. If we do not deal with this, Palestinian statehood will exist only on paper, nothing more," said Abou Jahjah. -

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