In 1977, the United Nations declared the 29th November of each year as the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, but, in fact, this has demonstrably been a clear admission of guilt and abdication of responsibility towards this people. Nevertheless, It recognises that the Palestinian people deserve international solidarity and support, in the name of Justice and Human Rights, without which there can be no lasting Peace.
This is, in reality, a small step in a long journey. The journey of Palestine and her people is one that will go down in history as an epic and enduring struggle. In fact, with more and more people awakening to this struggle every day, the collective dispossession, ethnic cleansing and apartheid matrix of control exercised by Israel and its illegal occupation in it’s relentless quest for land-thievery is being exposed, and like with South African apartheid a new day is dawning.
“Until lions have their historians, tales of the hunt shall always glorify the hunter.” ~ African Proverb. Palestine, God willing, will prevail one day soon. If it is said that the victor is the one writing history, the victor in this case will inevitably be Justice, and justice is at the core of the Palestinian struggle against apartheid, colonialism and zionist oppression.
And as in every episode in history, everyone will be mentioned according to their positions, and more importantly according to their deeds with respect to each chapter of the story, in Historic Palestine’s epic struggle and her refusal to lie down and die despite overwhelming odds.
Today, on this Day of Solidarity, let us honour the memory of those who have sacrificed their blood, sweat, tears and very lives for this epic cause of Freedom and Justice and renew our commitment to Palestine and her People in their inexhaustable Quest for Freedom as well as all oppressed indigenous peoples everywhere.
“Let us, on this International Day, reaffirm our commitment to translating solidarity into positive action. The international community must help steer the situation towards a historic peace agreement.” ~ Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
Solidarity with the Palestinian People
29 November 2011
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 observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People also encouraged Member States to continue to give the widest support and publicity to the observance of the Day of Solidarity.
March 30, 2001
To: Thomas L. Friedman (columnist New York Times)
From: Nelson Mandela (former President South Africa)
I know that you and I long for peace in the Middle East, but before you continue to talk about necessary conditions from an Israeli perspective, you need to know what’s on my mind. Where to begin? How about 1964. Let me quote my own words during my trial. They are true today as they were then:
“I have fought against white domination and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”
Today the world, black and white, recognise that apartheid has no future. In South Africa it has been ended by our own decisive mass action in order to build peace and security. That mass campaign of defiance and other actions could only culminate in the establishment of democracy.
Perhaps it is strange for you to observe the situation in Palestine or more specifically, the structure of political and cultural relationships between Palestinians and Israelis, as an apartheid system. This is because you incorrectly think that the problem of Palestine began in 1967. This was demonstrated in your recent column “Bush’s First Memo” in the New York Times on March 27, 2001.
You seem to be surprised to hear that there are still problems of 1948 to be solved, the most important component of which is the right to return of Palestinian refugees.
The Palestinian-Israeli conflict is not just an issue of military occupation and Israel is not a country that was established “normally” and happened to occupy another country in 1967. Palestinians are not struggling for a “state” but for freedom, liberation and equality, just like we were struggling for freedom in South Africa.
In the last few years, and especially during the reign of the Labour Party, Israel showed that it was not even willing to return what it occupied in 1967; that settlements remain, Jerusalem would be under exclusive Israeli sovereignty, and Palestinians would not have an independent state, but would be under Israeli economic domination with Israeli control of borders, land, air, water and sea.
Israel was not thinking of a “state” but of “separation”. The value of separation is measured in terms of the ability of Israel to keep the Jewish state Jewish, and not to have a Palestinian minority that could have the opportunity to become a majority at some time in the future. If this takes place, it would force Israel to either become a secular democratic or bi-national state, or to turn into a state of apartheid not only de facto, but also de jure.
Thomas, if you follow the polls in Israel for the last 30 or 40 years, you clearly find a vulgar racism that includes a third of the population who openly declare themselves to be racist. This racism is of the nature of “I hate Arabs” and “I wish Arabs would be dead”. If you also follow the judicial system in Israel you will see there is discrimination against
Palestinians, and if you further consider the 1967 occupied territories you will find there are already two judicial systems in operation that represent two different approaches to human life: one for Palestinian life and the other for Jewish life. Additionally there are two different approaches to property and to land. Palestinian property is not recognised as private property because it can be confiscated.
As to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, there is an additional factor. The so-called “Palestinian autonomous areas” are bantustans. These are restricted entities within the power structure of the Israeli apartheid system.
The Palestinian state cannot be the by-product of the Jewish state, just in order to keep the Jewish purity of Israel. Israel’s racial discrimination is daily life of most Palestinians. Since Israel is a Jewish state, Israeli Jews are able to accrue special rights which non-Jews cannot do. Palestinian Arabs have no place in a “Jewish” state.
Apartheid is a crime against humanity. Israel has deprived millions of Palestinians of their liberty and property. It has perpetuated a system of gross racial discrimination and inequality. It has systematically incarcerated and tortured thousands of Palestinians, contrary to the rules of international law. It has, in particular, waged a war against a civilian population, in particular children.
The responses made by South Africa to human rights abuses emanating from the removal policies and apartheid policies respectively, shed light on what Israeli society must necessarily go through before one can speak of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East and an end to its apartheid policies.
Thomas, I’m not abandoning Mideast diplomacy. But I’m not going to indulge you the way your supporters do. If you want peace and democracy, I will support you. If you want formal apartheid, we will not support you. If you want to support racial discrimination and ethnic cleansing, we will oppose you. When you figure out what you’re about, give me a call.
(former President South Africa)