A Palestinian exhibition portraying life in Gaza was canceled by authorities in the German town of Heidelberg over “crossing a political red line.”
The exhibition, held under the guise of a pro-Palestinian group, “Palästina-/Nahost-Initiative” was canceled shortly before it was due to start on August 10, RNZ newspaper reports.
Entitled “Experiences, Fears and Dreams – Children in Palestine,” the event was supposed to host drawings from two rehabilitation centers in Gaza and Ramallah.
On August 8 the organizers wanted to check the drawings place at the local citizen center, hosting the exhibit. “One of our activists placed the pictures in the Citizen Office Center on August 5, and wanted to check the things the following Monday. But everything was already taken down,” Agnes Bennhold from “Palästina-/Nahost-Initiative” told RNZ.
“The exhibition included statements regarding the Middle East conflict, which the city is not sharing. Since the city is committed to neutrality, staging an exhibition with such a highly political content in the city’s accommodations was not possible,” the city stated to the media outlet. Furthermore, the clarification for the cancellation was issued on August 12.
“A red line was crossed as one of the pictures contained the words in Arabic: Jihad, Freedom, Jerusalem, Arabic, Yes,” the city’s spokesperson said as quoted by RNZ. The official added that the words were also translated into German.
Heidelberg authorities said that they signed a contract with a private person and not with“Palästina-/Nahost-Initiative”, adding the person in question “was informed by phone”.
The organizers from a pro-Palestinian group insisted though the agreement for the exhibition was signed with them as an entity.
Officials also admitted they “should have checked the pictures” at an earlier stage before giving a green light to the exhibition.