JERUSALEM – On November 29th of each year, the General Assembly of the United Nations observes the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People to mark the anniversary of the 1947’s UN Partition Plan for Palestine, also known as Resolution 181. Over seventy years later, the question of Palestine has not been resolved, with no signs of a solution in the near future.
Since December 2, 1977, the General Assembly has been observing the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People through the organization of activities and events by governments and civil society that include meetings, film screenings, publications, and issuance of solidarity messages and statements. A number of key topics are discussed, which include, among others, settlement construction, the right to self-determination, the right to national independence and sovereignty, refugees’ right to return and the deterioration of the living conditions in Gaza.
A statement released today by Executive Committee Member of the Palestine Liberation Organization, Hanan Ashrawi, states: “Israel continues to implement an official policy of unlawful unilateralism with a total disdain for international law and Palestinian human rights; such criminal behavior includes,” among others, “Israel’s illegal settlement enterprise and expropriation of Palestinian land and resources.”
On July 19, 2018, the Israeli parliament approved the “Jewish Nation-State Law”, a law which one of its eleven clauses reads “the state views the development of Jewish settlement as a national value and will act to encourage and promote its establishment and consolidation”. This Basic Law also declares that the “land of Israel is the historical homeland of the Jewish people, where they exercise national self-determination”, but fails to define the borders of this land.
Both the Latin Patriarchate and the Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land called on the Israeli government to rescind the law, pointing out that it “totally ignores the fact that there is another people, the Palestinian Arabs” and that it “directly contravenes the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 181, as well as Israel’s own Declaration of Independence.”
Fighting the desensitization to a brutal reality
As part of the events to commemorate Solidarity Day and during a meeting at UN Headquarters in New York on Wednesday, President of the UN General Assembly, María Fernanda Espinosa, urged “world leaders, including religious and other leaders, to make the Palestinian question a priority” as well as “to fight the desensitization that occurs when suffering and death becomes a daily reality and the media does not even report on them on the back pages.”
In similar remarks, Sr. Bridget Tighe, general director of Caritas Jerusalem, decried the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian people, especially in Gaza, and the emotional desensitization that people had developed toward its horror. “Abnormal has become the norm,” said Sr. Bridget, in a letter sent by the Caritas Jerusalem. “Children in the West Bank are growing up believing that, on the way to school, it is normal to pass through checkpoints overseen by young soldiers with guns.”
The letter ended with an invitation to prayer for the Palestinian and Israeli people to find the courage to “cast off the chains of fear and live in a way that respects and enhances each other’s freedom.”
On his Facebook page and for this occasion, Archbishop Atallah Hanna, Arch. of Sebastia in Palestine, wrote that “the Palestinian cause is that of the Palestinian people, with all his components, who is fighting for his freedom and the restoration of his rights.”
He also called on all Arab thinkers, journalists and intellectuals “not to dissociate themselves from their responsibilities and ethical, human and national obligations toward the Palestinian cause, which is after all their first cause and that of those who believe in justice, freedom, and human dignity.”