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November 29 is International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People

posted on: Nov 29, 2016

BY: Nisreen Eadeh/Staff Writer

Since 1977, November 29 has been designated the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People by the United Nations. The date November 29 was chosen because of its significance to the Palestinian people. On that day in 1947, the UN adopted the “Partition Resolution,” which called for the creation of a “Jewish State” and an “Arab State”, with Jerusalem as a special international city. However, only one state has been created from the resolution.

The International Day of Solidarity has traditionally been a time for the international community to focus its attention on the establishment of a Palestinian state, as was promised in 1947. Because of their statelessness, Palestinians are still denied their inalienable rights provided by the United Nations, “namely, the right to self-determination without external interference, the right to national independence and sovereignty, and the right to return to their homes and property from which they had been displaced.”

On this day each year, governments, organizations, and social groups around the world send messages of solidarity with the Palestinian people. This is done through conflict education workshops, film screenings, and Palestinian culture festivals. The United Nations and its leaders also hold special meetings on this day to discuss Palestinians and their conditions. It is also a time to discuss Israel’s policies and occupation of Palestinians, which has gained international disapproval for decades.

And yet, solidarity and meetings are not enough. If it was in the power of the United Nations to create a partition of two states in 1947, there is much more that can be done to ensure Palestinians their inalienable rights by the international community.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon’s message on the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People (2016):

“The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not just one of many conflicts in the region.  It is in many ways a long-standing, gaping wound that has fed tension and conflict throughout the Middle East.

Israeli and Palestinian leaders still voice their support for the two-State solution. However, without urgent steps to revive a political perspective, they risk entrenching a one-state reality. Recent years have witnessed two unsuccessful attempts at negotiating a peaceful settlement, three armed conflicts, thousands of dead – the vast majority of them Palestinian civilians – rampant incitement, terror attacks, thousands of rockets and bombs fired at Israel from Gaza, and an expanding, illegal Israeli settlement enterprise that risks undermining Israel’s democratic values and the character of its society.  This year, the number of demolitions of Palestinian houses and other structures by Israeli forces has doubled, compared to 2015.  Gaza remains a humanitarian emergency, with 2 million Palestinians struggling with crumbling infrastructure and a paralyzed economy, and tens of thousands still displaced, awaiting reconstruction of homes destroyed by conflict.

All this has led to growing anger and frustration among Palestinians and profound disillusionment among Israelis. It has strengthened radicals and weakened moderates on both sides. Making matters worse is a dangerous vacuum within the international community as crises elsewhere claim the attention of world leaders.  The internal divisions and in-fighting in the West Bank add a new worrying dimension to the paralyzing lack of Palestinian unity, and undermine democracy and the rule of law.  With the Israeli occupation approaching its 50th year, and the prospects for a two-State solution threatening to slip out of reach, the international community must make it clear that it remains committed to helping the parties to rebuild trust and create the conditions for meaningful negotiations.

The steps required to create conditions for successful negotiations have been spelled out in the recent report of the Middle East Quartet.  The United Nations, as well as our partners in the Quartet — the European Union, Russian Federation and the United States — remain committed to working with key stakeholders, including countries in the region, to implement the report’s recommendations. On this International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people, let us all reaffirm our commitment to upholding the rights of the Palestinian people and working to build a future of peace, justice, security and dignity for Palestinians and Israelis alike.”