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Civic reception accorded to Palestinian delegation
By Arif Zain, Malappuram

A colourful civic reception was accorded to the three-member delegation on their arrival in Calicut on April5. The delegation comprised of Palestinian National Council member,Mr. Fathi Abu Al-Ardat, General secretary of the PLO women's wing Mrs. Atni Gibril and Hesham Dibsi office bearer information division of council, had earlier visited Malappuram, Kannur and Kasaragod districts in Kerala.

Addressing a public meeting organized by various groups and associations at Muthalakkulam maidan in Calicut, Fathi abu Al-Ardat sai,"Ultimate victory will be ours, the solidarity that people of India voiced with struggling Palestinians encourages to continue our fight with Israel." City Mayor Mr. Thottathil Ravindran presided, Prof. Ninan Koshy introduced the team members.

‘Palestinians would reap the harvest of the Second Intifada. The attacks Israel has intensified on Palestinians with the support of America are beyond the limits of patience’, he added. Referring to the present conditions in the region Mr. Fathi said, during last six months 500 Palestinians were martyred leaving hundreds of children and women orphans and widows, more than 2400 persons seriously injured. With the support of peace loving people all over the world, the Palestinians would intensify their struggle to assure peace in their motherland. The team arrived here at a time when the people of Palestine were being pursued and killed by the cruel Israeli army and police. The delegation was in Kerala in the hope of building support in their struggle for their motherland when the situation worsened following the accession of Ariel Sharon a known enemy of peace, to power in Israel.
‘India, from the days of Mahatma Gandhi and Jawahar Lal Nehru, has been an ardent supporter of the Palestinian cause, but of late, there has been a sea change in its stance on the oppressor’ Mr. Fathi said.

Among those who participated in the reception were CPI(M) central committee member, Mr. MA Baby, Congress leader Mr. ASujana Pal and Mr. Elamaram Karim, MLA.

Earlier, talking to newsmen in Malappuram, members of the team hoped that the visit would help erase western media's propaganda that the Palestinians are terrorists from the minds and politically alert people of Kerala. Prof. MNVijayan noted humanist and thinker was also present in the press conference.

Meanwhile, Muslim Leagues mouthpiece Chandrika criticized the event as a Marxist show. In its editorial the paper attacked the CPI(M) for using Palestine cause for political game, otherwise what was the relevance of Kerala in the Palestinian crisis? The only motive behind the show was to woo Muslim voters towards the Left Front, the editorial said.

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