International Solidarity Day with Palestine – by Stephen Lendman
Established by the UN in 1977, International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People is observed on or around November 29.
The date commemorates November 29, 1947, the date UN Resolution 181 was adopted, despite Palestinian opposition.
Called the UN Partition Plan for Palestine, it granted 56% of historic Palestine to Jews (with one-third of the population), 42% to Palestinians.
In addition, Jerusalem was declared an international city (a corpus separatum – separate body) under a UN Trusteeship Council. It remains so today. The area included all Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and Beit Sahour, to encompass Christian holy sites.
Resolution 181 also called for an Independent Arab state by October 1, 1948, asking:
“all Governments and peoples to refrain from taking any action which might hamper or delay the carrying out of these recommendations.”
The Security Council was to take “the necessary measures as provided for in the plan for its implementation.” It was to assure “a just and lasting peace….”
Israel’s “War of Independence” intervened. Decades later, peace remains elusive. Palestine’s still occupied. World leaders never intervened. Over eight million Palestinians, including diaspora ones, await justice.
With little meaning or effect, the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People each year meets at UN headquarters to observe International Solidarity Day. Ceremonial hypocrisy substitutes for liberating policies with teeth.
Palestinians deserve action, not ceremonies, for justice so long denied. One day perhaps decades of patience will be rewarded.
On November 29, people globally expressed solidarity with Palestine. In Gaza, members of the Beit Hanoun Local Initiative, the International Solidarity Movement, and other Palestinians marched to release balloons with Palestinian flags in Israel’s no-go zone.
They floated over barriers imprisoning Gazans. They reflected their spirit yearning to be free. Local Initiative member Sabur Zaaneen called on people globally “to isolate Israel internationally and to exert pressure in all its forms until the end of the occupation of Palestine.”
International Solidarity Movement member Radhika Sainath said, “Today the entire free world is against the settlements, the wall and the Israeli occupation. We will continue our work in Palestine with Palestinian activists until we succeed in bringing freedom and justice to Palestine.”
Press TV said activists burned Israeli flags, symbolically protesting repression. Gazans “carried Palestinian flags toward the electric fence demarcating the buffer zone.” It prevents Palestinians from accessing 30% of Gaza’s most arable land.
On November 30, Israel sent tanks, bulldozers, and military vehicles to Gaza. Soldiers fired on civilians from watch towers. Artillery shelled homes east of Khan Younis.
Farm land in Jahor al-Dik and Maqbola neighborhoods was uprooted. Helicopter gunships hovered overhead. Gaza remains a war zone. Men, women and children are targeted.
On November 28, a UN report accused Syria of “gross violations of human rights.” Killings and other atrocities committed by Western recruited Al Qaeda insurgents weren’t mentioned. Nor was Israel condemned for committing daily crimes against humanity in Palestine.
Instead, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon functions solely as an imperial tool. His agenda excludes peace, equity and justice. As a result, Palestinians, Libyans, Iraqis, Afghans, Yemenis, Bahrainis, Egyptians, Saudis, Somalis, and millions of others suffer horrendously.
in mid-November, Ban said nothing about Israel disconnecting Gaza’s main electricity grid. Its energy authority head Kanaan Ubeid said, “The Israeli occupation uses security pretexts to justify disconnecting” it for northern Gaza. It’s been off for nine days, he added.
On November 26, Israel said Gazan water and electricity will entirely be cut off if Fatah and Hamas consummate unity.
On November 29, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) condemned Israel for preventing technical crews from repairing a major line carrying electricity to Gaza. For the past two weeks, it’s been disrupted.
Power’s been reduced by 37%. Daily services were impacted. Crisis conditions were aggravated. Gaza Electricity Distribution Company (GEDCO) public relations director Jamal al-Dirdissawi said northern Gaza’s been affected.
The cut-off coincides with another 20-megawatt reduction for periodic maintenance at a time cold weather increases demand. According to Ahmed Abu al-Amarin, Palestinian Power Authority’s Power Information Center head, Gaza needs about 300 megawatts of electricity. Over one-third of it is down.
Currently, 188 megawatts are being provided – 108 from Israel, 63 from Gaza’s power plant, and 17 from Egypt.
Coping with current conditions, GEDCO implemented an emergency plan, involving outages lasting eight hours or more daily. Israel’s maliciously exacerbating the problem. International law’s being violated. Occupied Palestinians are protected persons. Israel treats them like criminals. World leaders and UN authorities don’t intervene.
Other Israeli Abuses
The Hamoked Center for the Defense of the Individual posted other abuses on its web site, including:
(1) Timeline: The Separation Wall, saying Israeli construction violates international law, breaches its “authority as a temporary custodian,” disrupts normal lives of affected residents, obstructs religious rights by denying access to holy sites, and collectively punishes civilians they’re sworn to protect.
(2) Bodies of killed Palestinians aren’t returned to family members with rare exceptions. Since 1988, Hamoked represented hundreds of aggrieved families. Israel returned dead loved ones for burial only 20 times. Denials given don’t wash.
(3) Family unification denied: Israel claims Occupied Palestinians aren’t entitled to it. Rare approvals granted are “merely….act(s) of benevolence on” its part. As a result, forced separation affects “tens of thousands” of Gazans unable to reunite with families in the West Bank.
(4) “Ceased residency:” From 1967 to 1994, Israel revoked the residency of 140,000 West Bank Palestinians. Under military orders, residents traveling abroad got “exit card(s)” in return for depositing their identity cards at border crossings.
Valid for three years, those not returning in time were judged “having transferred (their) center of life abroad.” As a result, their residency status was revoked. Rarely does Israel let “late returnee(s)” regain it. Denying them violates international law, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, stating:
“Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and return to his country (Article 13(2) ).”
Israel spurns all international laws with impunity. Palestinians have no rights whatever.
(5) Residency in Jerusalem: Since East Jerusalem’s 1967 annexation, Palestinian residents have been oppressed in numerous ways, including through “unseen barriers to everyday life.”
Like elsewhere in Occupied Palestine, their lives are hellish. From one day to the next, they don’t know what’s coming, including forced expulsions to make way for Jewish development.
Hamoked petitions Israeli courts for justice, including Israel’s High Court. Rarely ever is it granted even after Supreme Court rulings affirmed it. Israeli authorities simply obstruct, delay and avoid implementing orders from the highest court. As a result, Palestinians suffer horrendously.
Daily human rights abuses are appalling. On November 30 alone, Army bulldozers uprooted Mas-ha village farmland. Stables there were also demolished.
Soldiers fired live ammunition near Gaza City. Peace Now activists got death threats, including its director, Yariv Oppenheimer. Offices were threatened with bombings. Extremist settlers are responsible. Authorities do nothing to stop them.
Israeli soldiers arrested three Beit Ummar, West Bank youths. Homes were broken into violently. In recent days, 16 other village residents were arrested and detained, including 13 under age 18. Israel treats children like adults.
For the third consecutive time, imprisoned Hamas legislator Nayef Rajoub’s remand was extended another six months. Palestinians can be detained indefinitely without charge for alleged security reasons. Doing so violates international and Israeli law.
Since 1989, Rajoub’s been arrested and detained numerous times despite having committed no crimes. So have many other Palestinians for wanting to live free on their own land in peace. Israel calls that “terrorism.”
Israel interdicted and arrested 10 Palestinian fishermen. Later released, their boats were impounded. Israel obstructs Gazans fishing in their own waters.
They’re prevented them from earning a living and providing valued catches to residents. Last July, the International Committee of the Red Cross said Gaza’s fishing industry almost disappeared. Thousands of Gazans depend on fishing. Israel shuts most out entirely.
Palestinian legislator Qays Abdul-Karim was prevented from leaving the West Bank to participate in the Latin American parliament’s 27th session. Stopped at the Allenby Bridge crossing to Jordan with a parliamentarian delegation, he was asked where he was going and why.
He said to Panama to support ending Israel’s occupation. In response, he was told he’s barred from traveling. No word on whether arrest and detention followed. Of course, late night raids can seize him any time. They happen with painful regularity.
Life in Occupied Palestine is hell. Israel oppresses Palestinians for being Muslims, not Jews. Even Arab citizens aren’t safe. Called fifth column threats, they face political, social, economic, cultural and other forms of discrimination.
In its early November South Africa session, the Russell Tribunal on Palestine (RToP) accused Israel of “subject(ing) the Palestinian people to an institutionised regime amounting to apartheid as defined under international law.”
Racist discrimination defines Israeli policy. Occupied Palestinians and Israeli Arabs are affected. Apartheid is an international crime. RToP witnesses presented clear evidence of Israeli apartheid rule, affecting anyone not Jewish.
As a result, discrimination, repression, isolation, and other forms of abuse are official policy. Although persecution is a crime against humanity, Israel practices it with impunity.
RToP and other human rights advocates are committed to ending all forms of Israeli injustice. Nothing less is acceptable or tolerable.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.