On 29 November of every year, the world observes the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. The United Nations General Assembly had adopted in the same day of 1947 the resolution on the partition of Palestine (resolution 181 (II)). 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 this occasion, United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, said that this year's commemoration "comes at a time when Palestinians continue to suffer the indignities and violence of occupation and conflict, but also at a time when a new beginning has been made in efforts to achieve a two State solution to the conflict."
Ban added that implementation was now paramount, especially that Palestinians have been deprived of their inalienable right to self-determination for 60 years; and that Palestinian society has been increasingly fragmented – territorially, by settlements, land expropriation and the barrier in the occupied Palestinian territory; socially and economically, by closure; and politically, between Gaza and the West Bank.
Saying "what we do tomorrow is more important than what we say today", the Secretary-General added, "in Annapolis, I pledged the full support of the United Nations for the renewed effort. I stressed that for 60 years, the Organization has provided the broad parameters for peace, first in the partition plan, and then in Security Council resolutions 242, 338, 1397 and 1515, and that today, the UN has few higher priorities than seeing this conflict resolved".
UN Secretary-General also emphasized the necessity of swift action and change, through the Annapolis meeting, to "end the occupation and create an independent viable State of Palestine, at peace with itself and its neighbours", to reverse the growing sense of despair of Palestinians and their fear from the non-realization of their "dream of statehood". Ban said final status negotiations need to begin in earnest, addressing the issues of Jerusalem, refugees, borders, settlements, security and water. He pointed out as well that hope should be breathed into this process again, despite the Palestinian and Israeli lack of faith in it, and despite the "indignities, injustices and fear on both sides".
He also highlighted the need for a sustainable solution and a peace built on hope, saying "We must also help the Palestinian Authority to rebuild, reform and perform. I hope a wide range of donors will step forward with political and financial support at the upcoming Paris conference and beyond."
(For the full message, please visit: www.unicbeirut.org )
UN-ESCWA Executive Secretary
In Beirut, UN-ESCWA Executive Secretary, Bader Al Dafa, considered that the international community has yet to live up to its commitment towards the Palestinian people in establishing its State. Al Dafa added that Israeli practices, such as the strict regime of closures, continue to be the most serious obstacle towards achieving the international commitment to establish a Palestinian State, which leaves negative effects on Palestinians' faith in the international community’s ability to act in their best interests. The Executive Secretary underlined the necessity to change this situation, and break the cycle of violence, hate and suffering.
Al Dafa also underlined "the deepening of the socio-economic crisis in Palestine". Palestinians are indeed living in dire straits, their suffering accentuated "by the 408 km-long barrier in the West Bank and isolation of the Gaza Strip... the strict regime of closures… and the relentless buildup of Israeli settlements on Palestinian land", which have lead to an increase in poverty and unemployment rates. He said "Today, there are 2.1 million poor Palestinians, compared with 1.3 million at the end of 2005".
Al Dafa stressed the need to resume the Middle East peace process, "for the achievement of a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement, based on the relevant international norms and United Nations resolutions".
(For the full statement, please visit: www.escwa.un.org )