With a deadly assault on Gaza and recent Al-Aqsa clashes, 2014 has been a rough year for Palestinians, nonetheless the optimistic people of Palestine were able to overcome their sorrow and participated in this year’s UN celebration of the International Day of Solidarity with Palestinians held in Cairo on Sunday.
Every year, the United Nations celebrates the International Day of Solidarity with Palestinians on the 29th of November, this year the event was organised by the UNIC (United Nations Information Centre) in collaboration with the General Union of Palestinian women and held in Zamalek’s El Sawy Culturewheel. The event was attended by Gamal El-Shobky, Palestinian ambassador in Egypt
In his speech on Sunday, El-Shobky called on the international community, which has witnessed Palestinian hardship from Al Nakba to present day, to take action to put an end to the long-standing Israeli occupation.
During "Al Nakba" in 1948 more than 780,000 Palestinians were displaced from their homeland, the tragedy continues today, with millions of Palestinians remaining as refugees.
"The Palestinian people have a will and will continue to struggle against the occupation until we get our rights back" El Shobky asserted, adding that "there are discriminatory laws that get issued by the Israeli government on a daily basis against the Palestinian population and the world is starting to feel guilty towards the suffrage and the discrimination that Palestinians are exposed to.”
El-Shobky also asserted that the international community represented by the UN must support the creation of a Palestinian state; he added that the UN must supervise the status of Palestinian refugees in neighbouring countries, as they have been anxiously waiting since 1948 to go back to their homes in Palestine and fulfill "the right of return.”
As AFP reported on Saturday the Arab League supported Palestinian President Abbas' “plan to seek UN endorsement for a timetable for declaring an independent state.”
The Arab League also backed Palestinian plans to seek membership in the UN and in international courts. Palestine became an observer state in the UN in 2012.
Releasing balloons in honor of all Palestinians and in solidarity with the Palestinian People (Photo: Alia Soliman)
In commemoration of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that governments around the world’s recognition of Palestine is a sign of solidarity with the people of Palestine, Ban added that he believes the momentum will grow.
Palestinian recognition has been gaining ground among European nations, as many states have followed Sweden’s lead to recognise its statehood in late October.
In December the EU Parliament is set to vote on a resolution that recognises Palestine, while the UK's House of Commons has also adopted a motion pressuring the government to recognise the Palestinian state, followed by the same in Spanish and Irish parliaments. The French socialists have also admitted a similar proposal that is in debate in Paris, EurActiv reported.
However, the Israeli government has cautioned European states from taking this step, and said that voting for this resolution is a grave error.
UNIC director Dr.Khawla Mattar also addressed the conference, discussing how the suffrage of this silent population must not only be remembered only on the 29th of November but every day.
With respect to the events of 2014, Mattar called on parties to step back from the brink and added that a mutual respect for human rights is a prerequisite to a just political solution.
A 50 day Israeli assault on Gaza took place in July and August and resulted in the deaths of 2,140 Palestinians and 70 Israelis. Palestinian casualties were primarily civilians while the majority of Israeli deaths were soldiers.
Earlier this month Israeli occupation police clashed with Palestinians inside Al-Aqsa mosque after Jewish nationalists announced plans to visit the site despite weeks of soaring tensions.
Mattar mentioned that the UN has repeatedly condemned the Israeli settlements expansion in the West Bank, exclaiming that the main dilemmas facing the Palestinians are still in place, Israeli settlements are still being built, Al-Aqsa mosque violations are incessant in addition to the suffrage linked to the apartheid wall or the separation wall.
In closing remarks El-Shobky seemed optimistic about the Arab League’s commitment to a Palestinian push for statehood, adding that next year "we will celebrate the International day of Solidarity with Palestinians in Jerusalem.”