What is to be done: reflections on International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People

Palestine Update 426

What is to be done: reflections on International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People

Gaza has been under a hermetic, medieval blockade for almost 14 years now since 2006. In that year, a fact-finding mission headed by anti-apartheid activist and Nobel Laureate Desmond Tutu was denied entry to Gaza to investigate the Beit Hanoun massacre where Israel killed 19 civilians, including women and children, in a single airstrike. Children in the poverty-stricken Jabaliya camp do not know what chocolate tastes like because Israel controls every aspect of how their life will turn out to be. In the West Bank today, hundreds of checkpoints separate towns and villages severely restricting the movement of Palestinians students and civilians to work, universities, schools, and hospitals. In what could be best described as the Bantustanization of the West Bank, Palestinians are separated from one another, even family members who live only 40 minutes away from one another have been incapable of meeting because of Israel’s apartheid policies.

Many homes, orange and olive groves, have been destroyed due to the building of the Apartheid Wall which segregates communities based on their religion. Six million Palestinian refugees — whether in the diaspora or in living under excruciating and inhumane conditions in the isolated camps of Lebanon, Syria and other neighboring Arab countries — are still waiting to return to the homes they were expelled from in 1948 in accordance with UN resolution 194.

It is the responsibility of citizens of the world to isolate Israel through an intensive boycott, divestment, and sanctions campaign until it complies with international law. The imbalance of power in this struggle can only be countered through a powerful international solidarity movement that takes the BDS movement as its guide.

International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People

Khaled Alashqar

A Palestinian artist painting a mural on the occasion for International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People in | Gaza City, November 28, 2019. /CGTN Photo

On November 29, 1977, the United Nations General Assembly called for the observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. On that day in 1947, the General Assembly adopted the resolution of partition of Palestine (Resolution 181). The resolution recommended the creation of independent Arab and Jewish States and a Special International Regime for the city of Jerusalem. This was the first attempt by the United Nations to resolve the Palestinian issue. On this day every year, the United Nations holds a special meeting at the UN headquarters in New York and organizes an exhibition on the rights of Palestinians. In 2015, the Palestinian flag was raised in front of UN headquarters and offices around the world, and a ceremony was held to raise the flag of the State of Palestine at the UN headquarters in New York on September 30, 2015.

Despite the fact that more than 70 years have passed since the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the Palestinian issue remains “the most national issue with a global dimension,” as it has gone through many stations that led to the signing of the Oslo Peace Accords in 1993, and the beginning of negotiations between the Palestinian and Israeli sides which came to a halt in April 2014 and the stalled peace process with the Palestinians accusing Israel of swaying on their land and building more settlements, in addition to expanding many of them, undermining any chances of agreeing on any solutions to the conflict.

“The vast majority of the Palestinian people support UN Resolution 181 to divide, support a two-state solution and hope for a Palestinian state alongside the State of Israel and Jerusalem as its capital, but Israel’s settlement, Judaization and measures no longer leave a two-state solution with any chance,” Abu Sida, head of the political science department at Al-Azhar University, told CGTN. At a time the UN and Security Council resolutions call on Israel to evacuate existing settlements in territories classified as a future Palestinian state in order to implement a two-state solution, the U.S. recently recognized Israeli settlements in the West Bank as part of Israel in contrary to international consensus and UN resolutions. Therefore, the Palestinian Authority considers this as a blatant American bias with which it cannot continue to play the role of mediator between the two parties.

On the Palestinian side, the internal division that began in 2006 has continued until now, creating a major rift between the Palestinian Authority, which administers the West Bank, and Hamas, which has taken control of the Gaza Strip and runs its affairs individually.  “Internal division undermined the democratic choice of the Palestinian people, and led to a situation of monopoly in the Palestinian political system, which hindered the ability of the Palestinians to face the great national challenges encountering them,” Salah Abdul Atti, lawyer of the Independent Commission for Human Rights, told CGTN.

In light of the many years of Palestinians being under occupation and their continued suffering, the greatest constant in this regard is the human and material loss that the Palestinian people have suffered. The weekly protests on the Gaza border continue to lead to the ceaseless tension between the two sides, leading to more injuries, deaths and destructions.