The United Nations International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People commemorates the anniversary of the UN General Assembly’s formal endorsement of the Partition Resolution (Resolution 181) in 1947. This Resolution sanctioned the establishment of two sovereign states: Israel and Palestine. Since then, the State of Palestine has been formally recognised by 139 countries, and in 2012 was upgraded to observer non-member status at the UN. Furthermore, an overwhelming majority of UNGA members annually support the self-determination of Palestinians in their statehood.
Today is an important opportunity to recognise and feel proud of the unique Palestinian model of state-building under prolonged occupation in spite of the many obstacles blocking the path to statehood, and to acknowledge the overwhelming support for the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination from the international community.
Israel’s illegal colonial expansion efforts pose the greatest threat to Palestinian statehood by claiming all of Palestine is theirs. Israeli authorities recently announced plans to construct over 3,000 new illegal settlement units in occupied Palestinian territory and were widely criticised by the international community for violating international law. Numerous respected human rights organisations, including Human Rights Watch and B’Tselem, have published reports identifying that Israel’s violations against the Palestinian people constitute the crime of apartheid. Israel is aware of the threat that human rights organisations pose to its unjust occupation, so it has taken measures to criminalise human rights advocacy. Israel’s recent designation of six Palestinian pro-human rights civil society organisations as terrorists is a clear attempt to silence human rights defenders, meanwhile there has been no response from Israeli authorities to combat the recent unprecedented increase in Israeli settler terrorism against Palestinians. Since early last year, B’Tselem has documented over 450 incidents of settler violence against Palestinians. These crimes are carried out with total impunity, and under the protection of Israeli occupation forces, who themselves frequently attack Palestinians, including children. 2021 has in fact been the deadliest year since 2014 for Palestinian children, with 78 being killed by Israeli settlers and occupation forces, and countless arrested.
The international community must intervene immediately to protect the Palestinian people from these violations, accept their responsibility to ensure the implementation of international law and UN resolutions, and support the self-determination of the Palestinian people in their own state. The Palestinian initiative to organise a regional/international conference to solve the conflict with clear terms of reference based on international law and UN resolutions, must also be supported.
Today’s occasion is also an opportunity to call on grassroots movements and civil society organisations across Australia, Aotearoa New Zealand, and the Pacific to advocate for the rights of the Palestinian people, whose resistance to foreign occupation is an integral part of the global fight against colonialism, discrimination, apartheid, and racism.
For more information, please contact the General Delegation of Palestine to Australia, Aotearoa New Zealand and the Pacific: ph. (02) 6286 9193.