The national board of Jusos in the SPD (Young Socialists in the SPD) visited the WBC and Israel and Palestine in their annual Leadership Delegation from the 17th to 24th of October. After their arrival to Jerusalem, chairperson Kevin Kühnert, the general secretary, six members of the board and the international secretary were welcomed to the Willy Brandt Center. The delegation took part in the Political Café “50 Years chancellor Willy Brandt“, and a get-together with the partners.
After being briefed by the Friedrich-Ebert-Foundation in East Jerusalem on the political and economic situation in Palestine, the delegation met Xavier Abu Eid from the PLO Negotiation Support Unit, in the olive groves of the Village Aboud. The board of Jusos supported local farmers in the harvest of their olives, while receiving more information on the area’s political situation. In Ramallah, the delegation was invited to meet the Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh and discuss the internal challenges for the Palestinians, as well as the deadlock of Israeli-Palestinian diplomatic talks. After meeting the leadership of the Fateh Youth Organization, the delegation arrived in Nablus to meet the partners and the Palestinian representatives of the Political Team of the WBC.
In Nablus, the board of Jusos visited the Balata Refugee Camp, focusing on the work of UNRWA providing medical services and education to the 32,000 refugee residents of the camp. Meeting the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU), Jusos and the General Secretary of the Unions discussed various topics such as labor rights, Palestinian workers’ migration to Israel, and the failed social security law. Next came an extremely inspiring meeting with The First Women Incubator in Palestine (Iradah) and a conversation on feminist struggles in Germany and Palestine, after which our partners took us on a tour through the Old City, followed by a joint workshop.
As the delegation left Nablus in the early morning and headed for the Golan Heights, the fourth day focused on security, the strategic importance and the geopolitical situation of the plateau occupied and annexed by Israel after the Six-Day War with Syria. During a tour guided by Colonel (Reserve) Ron Shatzberg, who is an expert on the topic, the delegation learned about the history of the Golan Heights and its preset situation. A Meeting with representatives of the Druze community in Majdal Shams offered the participant an important understanding of the diversity of the population and political views in this region.
In Haifa, we started off with a political city tour, focusing on the rich history of the workers’ movement and socialist groups of the Red City (as this port town is also called). When meeting a representative of the Arab section of the Noar HaOved VeHaLomed (partners in the educational project), the delegation discussed the realities and challenges for Palestinians holding an Israeli citizenship. In the afternoon, we visited an urban Kibbutz and the Rabin Premilitary Academy, both run by an alumni of the WBC.
A visit to the Ghetto Fighter House was an important part of the program, not only in order to deal with the past and commemorate the dead, but also to see different ways of doing so. the uniqueness of this Museum, in comparison to others such as Yad Vashem, stems from the fact that it was established by survivors, and focuses also on resistance. After meeting the Friedrich-Ebert-Foundation in Herzliya, and discussing the two elections in 2019, we met with our partners in Tel Aviv. During the sessions with the leaderships of Young Labour and Young Meretz, we debated not only the current political situation and the crisis of the political left, but also the future of our joint cooperation.
On the last day in Tel Aviv, we met with the relatively new grassroot organization Standing Together, campaigning for social justice, equality and peace. After a city tour we met our Israeli partners in a joint workshop to discuss and plan future activities.
The leadership delegation was an important exchange that allowed us to learn new things and meet new people, but more importantly, to strengthen the ties of the political cooperation on a personal level.