Pro-Hamas activists flee Germany for Switzerland after government ban

Germany delays legal authorisation to roundup Samidoun members and lets them escape


BERLIN, GERMANY - NOVEMBER 03: This screenshot shows the still active Facebook page of Samidoun Deutschland, the German chapter of the international Palestinian-rights activists group Samidoun, including the slogan: "Free Palestine From The River To The Sea", which negates Israel's right to exist, on November 03, 2023 in Berlin, Germany. The day before the German government announced it is banning Samidoun and all its activities due to the group's public celebration of the deadly October 7 incursions by Hamas fighters into Israel. The government is also banning any activities that might support Hamas, which enables law enforcement to clamp down on any related fundraising activities. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Radical members of the pro-Hamas organisation Samidoun which is now outlawed in Germany have been able to escape to Switzerland because of the government’s botched handling of the ban.

The hardline pro-Palestinian group is monitored by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution and categorised as antisemitic and extremist.

When the Hamas terror attacks took place in Israel, Samidoun organised sickening events in Berlin-Neukölln, where men draped in Palestinian scarves handed out sweet pastries to children in celebration.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced a ban on the organisation in the Bundestag (parliament):  “An organisation like Samidoun, whose members celebrate the most brutal acts of terrorism on the open streets, will be banned in Germany.”

Yet weeks later, the government had still failed to provide Germany’s 16 federal states with the legal authorisation to round these pro-Hamas members up, or begin to dismantle their organisational structures. 

As a result, members have now relocated to Switzerland, where they can continue their anti-Jewish activities without restrictions.

A Samidoun meeting in Geneva, attended by top leadership including Charlotte Kates and Khaled Barakat, referred to Hamas as a legitimate part of the Palestinian resistance movement.

And Barakat even expressed a willingness to use deadly force against Israel if he had the power.

Kates and Barakat had been sent to Germany in 2015 to promote Samidoun.  German security authorities later revoked their residence permits and banned them from entering the country, but Samidoun had already taken root.

Originating in the extreme left wing of the political spectrum, Samidoun aims to spread hatred of Jews, primarily targeting young migrants and non-migrants under the guise of anti-racism. It comprises various groups, initiatives, and foundations united by their anti-Israel stance.

The Berlin Office for the Protection of the Constitution describes Samidoun as a support network for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), which wants to abolish Israel by force and is listed as a terrorist organisation by the EU and the US.

Among other things, the PFLIP was behind the attack on an El Al passenger plane in Kloten in 1969.

Its website, which has now been shut down in Germany, reads: “Palestinian prisoners are at the centre of the struggle for freedom and justice in Palestine – they represent the imprisonment of a people and a nation. The Palestinian prisoners’ movement has always been at the centre of the Palestinian liberation movement and remains so today. Palestinian prisoners stand and struggle on the front lines daily for return and liberation for all of Palestine and all Palestinians.”

The European Legal Support Centre (ELSC) intervenes when these groups face legal trouble or bans on anti-Israel demonstrations. ELSC portrays its actions as defending Palestinian human rights and community empowerment.

Switzerland served as a meeting location for Samidoun in October, as it is seen by the group's leadership as the "motherland of Zionism".

Whether Samidoun will remain active in Switzerland in the long term depends on Switzerland's tolerance towards their activities, especially after Germany's recent ban on the organisation.

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