Today the independent member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, Gamal el Khoudary, is scheduled to address a conference in Vienna organised by the Austrian Committee "Gaza shall live". Among the panellists are Karin Resetarits, independent European MP, Fritz Edlinger, General Secretary of the Society for Austrian-Arab Relations, Peter Melvyn, European Jews for a Just Peace, Paula Abrams-Hourani, Women in Black, Anas Schakfeh, President of the Islamic Community (which in Austria is a governmental charge), Franz Sieder, Catholic priest, Zuheir Elwazer, Palestinian ambassador.
The campaign "Gaza shall live" collected up to now about 750 signatures for a petition to the Austrian government to desist from further supporting the Israeli, American and European stranglehold against the Palestinians of Gaza only for insisting on their right to self-determination. Among the signatories are the former foreign minister from the Kreisky era, Erwin Lanc, famous lyricist Friederike Mayroecker or the German artist Nina Hagen.
The conference has come under heavy attacks by the Zionist forces which called it anti-Semitic. Upon intervention of the official Jewish Community (IKG) the hall was cancelled only a few days before the event without even offering a reason. The venue was rented from an institution of the Lutherans as they have been showing more sensibility to the quest of the Palestinian people while the dominant forces close to social democracy and the Catholic Church made it clear from the very beginning that they would not give a place to such an event.
In a statement the journalist and anthropologist Leo Gabrial, one of the conveners, said: "It is unbelievable. While the University of Vienna is hosting a conference which called for the pre-emptive nuclear strike on Iran, our peaceful intentions were examined like in elementary school."
After a protest meeting in front of the Albert Schweitzer hall against their cowardice the participants will be directed to an alternative place.
On Monday, May 19th, Mr Khoudary is scheduled to meet the leader of the Middle East section of the foreign ministry, as well as the international spokespersons of the Social democrat and the Green party.
Vienna, May 17, 2008