International day of solidarity with the Palestinian people
Every year on the 29th of November it is the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people. This was decided in the United Nations in 1977 when the General Assembly adopted resolution 32/40B. It was not a coincidence that they chose this date. It is the same date that the United Nations Partition Plan, resolution 181, was adopted exactly 30 years before, in 1947.
The United Nations Partition Plan of 29 November 1947
The partition of Palestine by the UN gave the Zionist movement the push they had been waiting for to establish their Jewish homeland in Palestine. This happened with a lot of force and violence. Most of the Palestinian villages, towns and cities were partially or completely depopulated and destroyed. Until today families from these towns and cities can be found living in refugee camps in the Westbank, Gaza and neighboring countries. The fourth generation is now brought up under very difficult circumstances.
The ongoing colonization of Palestine
In the meantime the State of Israel was created in 1948 and in 1967 this new country took its chance and military occupied the Gazastrip, the Westbank, Sinai and Golan Heights. It started moving its own population into the territory it occupied. They moved mainly into settlements built on Palestinian agricultural land, but in Jerusalem and Hebron they also moved inside the city.
What can I do in solidarity with the Palestinian people?
For this podcast episode I asked several Palestinian friends to send me an answer to the question: What do you think that people can do in solidarity with the Palestinian people?
You can hear Hassan Muamer from Battir, who is active in alternative and eco-tourism. Majdi from Handmade Palestine talks about the importance of supporting local artisans and the local economy. Fayrouz Sharqawi from Grassroots Al Quds emphasizes the importance of holding governments and corporations responsible for their support to Israel and the profits they make despite the gross violations of human rights by Israel.
Anwaar, who is from Hebron and lives in Shuhada street, the infamous street that is closed off by military checkpoints, tells us a bit about life in the old city of Hebron. She says she really appreciates people coming to witness and to give protective presence. The last one is Jack Munayyer who works for the EAPPI, the Ecumenical Accompaniment Program in Palestine and Israel. Jack points out that coming to Palestine as a tourist to see the situation of Palestinians, also comes with a responsibility to act up. If the visit is not followed by action, it is useless solidarity. The situation is urgent and the need for change is very real. Everyone has to consider their own circumstances, government, stake-holders and capacity to decide what they can do in solidarity with the Palestinian struggle for justice and peace.
Educate yourself on Palestine
I hope that this will inspire you to look for initiatives, campaigns, projects, films, books, websites and other ways to educate yourselves more and to join the existing efforts. We don’t all have to start a new initiative. There are many campaigns that are running and that need people to participate, to support, to volunteer. You can make a difference by dedicating a bit of time. There are also organizations that plant trees, just like what we heard in previous episodes, the people of Handmade Palestine at their arboretum. I will add a few important links from where you can start.