Belgium: Moroccans against use of children in Palestine campaign

Belgium: Moroccans against use of children in Palestine campaign

Via Le Vif/L’Express (with help from the Philosemitism blog):

A Belgian-Moroccan group (Union of Belgian-Moroccan Associations, CABM) published a letter condemning the "Welcome to Palestine" campaign, whose Belgian delegation included 5 minors, including at least three Belgian-Moroccan girls (aged 14, 15, and 17).

One of the authors of the letter and president of CABM, Hassan El Bouharrouti, told Le Vif/L’Express that his daughter (17) was dragged into this adventure by her mother, though he had warned the police, the border police and the Israeli embassy. He accused the organizers of cultivating hate and antisemitism, when there are still battles to fight in Belgium against racism and social exclusion.

Excerpts from the letter: We condemn in the strongest terms the use of minors in the International Mission of Solidarity with the Palestinian people on July 8 2011, in which a Belgian delegation participated. The appeal by the organizers to anybody over the age of 9 seems to have elicited no response on this point from the signatories, which included several politicians, academics and associations.

In Belgium minors should never have been exposed to any risk whatsoever while participating in a mission that clearly part of a provocation and confrontation with the State of Israel. This showdown doesn't serve the Palestinian cause which is at the heart of this mission. However, it contributes to fueling antisemitism in the Belgian-Moroccan community. Wanting to make minors into righter of wrongs is absolutely irresponsible on the part of the parents whose role it is to ensure the protection and development of their children, and not to send them on a suicidal antisemitic operation (...)

The participants, mostly Belgian-Moroccans, were able to participate in this mission after they collected the necessary funds. Each participant paid 500 EUR for the ticket and 300 EUR for pocket money. Questioned, the Belgian authorities did not see fit to prevent the departure of minors to Israel. They awaited the reaction of the Israeli authorities who finally ensured their security by sending them back to Belgium. We appeal to the responsibility of the Belgian authorities to ensure that minors will not be asked to participate in any operation aimed at exploiting them for political means in a conflict likely to endanger their life or security. We appeal to the subsidizing authorities to guarantee that no funds will be granted for financing such operations for minors.