by Miceál O’Hurley
DUBLIN – Her Excellency Dr. Jilan Abdalmajid, the Ambassador of the Mission of the Palestinian State to Ireland thanked the Irish people for joining in with Palestinians and people worldwide who celebrated the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People on Sunday, 29 November 2020. Ambassador Abdalmajid’s message this year spoke to the heart of the struggle for Palestinians to achieve the dignity and stability to which they committed themselves in the Oslo Accords, “The Palestinian people remain rooted in our land. Observing the international day of solidarity with the Palestinians reaffirm the international community’s concern and commitment to the Palestinians to achieve their inalienable rights of freedom, sovereignty and independence the state of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital.” Numerous Palestinian Solidarity Groups across Ireland marked the celebrations online owing to Covid-19 pandemic restrictions.
In 2020, Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO, gave the following statement to mark the annual International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, “In the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the world made a promise to leave no one behind. In this spirit, the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People is an opportunity to support the Palestinian people’s aspiration for peace based on respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It is a time to reaffirm that solidarity is a transformational force, which builds on the diversity of humanity to bind all societies together.”
Palestinians Still to See Fruits of Oslo Accords and Other Agreements
In 1974, a UN resolution on the “Peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine” called for “… two States, Israel and Palestine … side by side within secure and recognized borders” together with “a just resolution of the refugee question in conformity with UN resolution 194.” The borders of the state of Palestine were to be “based on the pre-1967 borders.” The latest resolution, in November 2013, was passed 165 to 6, with 6 abstentions; with Israel and the United States notably voting against.
The Palestinian leadership has embraced the concept of a Two State Solution since the 1982 Arab Summit in Fez. Israel views moves by Palestinian leaders to obtain international recognition of a State of Palestine as being unilateral action by the Palestinians and inconsistent with a negotiated two-state solution. Albeit, Israel’s continued expansion and improvement of illegal settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, which have escalated at an alarming rate of late, continue to undermine the foundations of a viable Two State Solution. Notwithstanding, polls have consistently indicated that a majority of both Israelis and Palestinians desire a negotiated Two State settlement.
UN General Assembly Introduced Annual Day of Solidarity
In 1977, the General Assembly called for the annual observance of 29 November as the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People (resolution 32/40 B). On that day, in 1947, the Assembly adopted the resolution on the partition of Palestine (resolution 181 (II)).
In resolution 60/37 of 1 December 2005, the Assembly requested the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and the Division for Palestinian Rights, as part of the observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People on 29 November, to continue to organize an annual exhibit on Palestinian rights or a cultural event in cooperation with the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine to the UN.
The resolution on the observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People also encourages Member States to continue to give the widest support and publicity to the observance of the Day of Solidarity.
Special United Nations Meeting
This year, the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People will be observed by the UN on 1 December with special meetings. In the UN headquarters in New York, the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, a body of the UN General Assembly promoting the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and independence, will convene high-level officials of Member States, the Secretary-General, intergovernmental organizations and representatives of civil society who are expected to make statements on the question of Palestine and attend the official launch of a virtual exhibit.
The UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People will launch a virtual exhibit focusing on the Wall built in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, which has been ruled to be illegal by the International Court of Justice in its Advisory Opinion of 9 July 2004. The exhibit explores this through the words of various advocates and public personalities, and through images from artists and human rights activists who have used the wall as a canvas to express their solidarity with the Palestinian people. These events will be broadcast live via the UN Web TV and the exhibit will be available on the United Nations’ website.
Nota Bene: This report relies on information provided by both UNESCO and the UN General Assembly.