Tomorrow November 29, is recognized by the United Nations (UN) as the day of solidarity with the Palestinian people. The date of November 29 was chosen because of its meaning and significance to the Palestinian people.
On November 29, 1947, the General Assembly adopted the resolution, which came to be known as the Partition Resolution. Under that resolution it was, the Jewish state of Israel was carved out of the State of Palestine., with Jerusalem as a corpus separatum – a city given a special legal and political status which falls short of being sovereign, or an independent city state – under a special international regime.
Unfortunately, though 55 years have gone by, of the two States created under this resolution, only one, Israel, has so far come into being. According to the Partition Plan, the Jewish State would comprise 55% of Palestine.
Today, after numerous wars of conquest, the state of Israel controls 85% of historical Palestine. In the course of these wars and in its aftermath, using terrorist attacks as well as forceful evacuation, Israel emptied Palestinians from their lands. For example, Iqrit inhabitants were ordered in 1948 by the Israeli military occupation authorities to leave their houses within two weeks.
More recently, in 2016, Israeli authorities demolished and seized 300 donor- funded homes provided as humanitarian assistance to Palestinians. The list goes on and on and are too numerous to list in this column.
The Palestinian people, who now number more than eight million, live primarily in Palestinian territory occupied by Israel since 1967, including East Jerusalem; in Israel and in neighbouring Arab States; According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), an estimated 2.1 million Palestinian people are in need of humanitarian assistance.
Amnesty International reports “over the past 14 years, more than two million Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip have been living under Israel’s illegal blockade. The report adds the blockade is a form of collective punishment. It forces Gaza’s population – the majority of whom are refugees or their descendants who fled in 1948 – to live in increasingly dire conditions.
There is a severe shortage of housing, drinking water, as Israel restricts the adequate supplies of clean, safe drinking water to Palestinians
Soon after Israel occupied the West Bank, including East Jerusalem and the Gaza in 1967, Israeli authorities issued orders that Palestinians cannot construct any new water installations without permission from the Israeli military. These are virtually impossible to obtain. Under this law, Palestinians are unable to dig new wells, deepen existing wells, or install water pumps. They are also denied access to the Jordan River and fresh water springs. Israel even restricts collection of rain water throughout the West Bank. Rainwater harvesting cisterns owned by Palestinians are destroyed by the Israeli army!
Israel permits Palestinians an average of 73 litres per person per day, well below the World Health Organization recommended daily minimum of 100 litres.
Electricity, medicines and medical care, food, educational equipment and building materials too are in short supply. In 2020, the Amnesty report added, Gaza had the world’s highest rate of unemployment with more than half its population living below the poverty line”.
The UN General Assembly has passed numerous strictures against Israel for its continuing crimes against the Palestinian people. As recently as October this year, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Palestinian Territory, condemned Israel occupation of Palestine as illegal and indistinguishable from a “settler-colonial” and said the situation must end.
It is these circumstances, the UN set apart November 29 as the International Day of Solidarity with Palestine, to provide an opportunity for the international community to focus its attention on the plight of the Palestinians and the reality that the question of Palestine remains unresolved.
The Palestinian people have yet to attain their inalienable rights as defined by the General Assembly, 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 have been displaced.
Israel shows scant regard to the nations of this world calling for an end to its continuing subjugation of Palestine. It is now apparent, that unless the UN and countries of this earth impose collective punishment, it will continue its oppression.