Palestinians Call for Active Solidarity With Their Cause
On the anniversary of the 1947 UN Partition Plan, they say words are not enough
[Amman] On Monday, the annual International Day of Solidarity With the Palestinian People, Palestinians from all walks of life articulated how they would like the world to show support for their cause.
In 1977, the UN chose the date for the annual observance because it is the anniversary of the General Assembly’s 1947 adoption of Resolution 181 calling for what has become known as the partition plan, intended to establish an Arab state and a Jewish state in Mandatory Palestine.
Jamal Dajani, the former head of communications in the Palestinian Prime Minister’s Office, told The Media Line, “It’s time for the international community to put words into action, just as it did with apartheid South Africa, and hold Israel responsible for its systematic violation of Palestinian human rights.”
Palestinian pollster Khalil Shikaki called on the international community to pressure the Palestinian leadership as well as Israel.
“We expect those in the international community who declare a commitment to democratic values to demonstrate that commitment in their dealings with the Palestinian Authority by rejecting the despicable and mounting trend toward authoritarianism in its political system and by siding with the Palestinian people and civil society,” he told The Media Line.
Shikaki, a professor of political science and director of the Ramallah-based Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, called on the members of the international community to show respect for their own values.
“This needs to be done by denying Israel the fruits of its daily and explicit violation of that [international] law by forcing it to choose between ending its military occupation and granting the Palestinians full rights equal to those already enjoyed by Israeli Jews in historic Palestine,” he said.
UK-based Prof. Kamel Hawwash told The Media Line that the movement of solidarity with Palestinians across the world is as strong as ever.
“What is needed is to increase the pressure on Western governments, to change their unjust policies which favor Israel, which commits crimes on a daily basis at the expense of the rights of the Palestinian people to freedom, justice and equality,” he said.
Dimitri Diliani, the president of the Jerusalem-based National Christian Coalition, told The Media Line that the international community has financed the “illegal” Israeli occupation as well as the Palestinian refugees, and in the latter case, insufficiently to boot.
“The international community can use its political and economic weight to pressure the occupying state of Israel to submit to the same UN resolution [General Assembly No. 181] that gave it the legitimacy to exist in the first place.”
Khaled Elgindy, a senior fellow at the Middle East Institute in Washington, told The Media Line that what is needed is accountability.
“Symbolic votes of solidarity are nice. But what Palestinians really need is for the international community to impose some kind of accountability for the violations of rights that Palestinians endure daily,” he said.
Nour Odeh, a Ramallah-based writer and political activist, told The Media Line that people must understand that real solidarity is not rhetorical, it is actionable, and that solidarity groups around the world have demonstrated this.
“Governments have regrettably shown little courage to do what is needed in terms of holding Israel accountable. Despite the shrinking space for civil society, I still believe there is a lot more that can be done to pressure governments, through the global movement for justice and human rights, to do right by Palestine. They need to be accountable,” she said.
Hazem Malhas, an Amman-based activist on sustainability, green economy, and justice in Palestine/Israel, argued that it is time to forget about one or two states and to focus on equality.
“World leaders need to give Palestinians living in Gaza, the West Bank and refugee camps rights equal to the Jews in historic Palestine.”
Osama al-Sharif, a Jordanian political commentator, told The Media Line that the fact that at the popular level we see people from all over the world supporting Palestinian rights and condemning the Israeli occupation is testimony to the justice of the Palestinian people’s cause.
“What is lamentable is that few governments around the world are rising to the level of their own peoples in supporting Palestinian rights. By opting to stay silent they are accessories to Israeli crimes,” he said.