UN Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, November 29, 2011
On November 29, 2011 the United Nations held its annual Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. This was the 64th anniversary of the UN General Assembly resolution which partitioned Palestine into a Jewish and an Arab state - a resolution accepted by its Jewish inhabitants and rejected across the Arab world. The Palestinians call this day the 'Naqba', or 'catastrophe'. Yet, the real catastrophe is that 64 years after adoption of the partition plan, the Palestinians have still not ceased the relentless attempt to eradicate the Jewish State.
At UN Headquarters, the day was marked by speeches from various UN leaders, diplomatic representatives and an NGO. For the occasion, the UN screened the film "La terre parle arabe." A "cultural exhibit," called "A Palestinian Vista - Uprooted from our homeland ... we rooted the homeland in ourselves," mounted under the auspices of the UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, was opened in the public entrance.
The meeting room was - again - adorned with just two flags, the UN flag and a Palestinian flag. The flag of the UN member state of Israel was nowhere to be seen.
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Speakers included: Riyad Mansour, Palestinian Observer to the UN, José Filipe Moraes Cabral (Portugal), President of the Security Council; Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser (Qatar), President of the General Assembly; Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People; Palitha Kohona (Sri Lanka); Asha-Rose Migiro Deputy Secretary-General of the UN; Abdul Salam Diallo (Senegal), Chairman of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories. North Lawn Building, UN Headquarters, New York
Once again, antisemitism and continued rejection of a Jewish state were evident throughout the proceedings.
Riyad Mansour, Observer of Palestinian UN Mission, speaking on behalf of Mahmoud Abbas, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization and President of the Palestinian Authority, accused Israel of "ethnic cleansing," and called Israel's security fence intended to protect its population an "apartheid wall."
Yahya A. Mahmassani, UN representative of the League of Arab States, speaking on behalf of Nabil Elaraby, Secretary-General of the Arab League made their continued opposition to the existence of Israel crystal clear, objecting to what he called "Israel's...insistence on a new condition that requires the Palestinian side to recognize Israel as a Jewish state." Recognition of "Israel as a Jewish state" allegedly "reflect[ed] the complete lack of political will on the part of the Government of Israel to enter into serious negotiations that deal with all the various aspects of the situation on the basis of international legitimacy."
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon (whose message was delivered by Asha-Rose Migiro UN Deputy Secretary-General) refused to refer to terrorism (as he had the previous year). No mention was made of Palestinian terrorism from anyone. Instead, the Secretary-General called upon Palestinians to cease rocket attacks because it was contrary to their interests, not law. "[W]e must also remind those in Gaza who fire rockets at Israel or continue to smuggle weapons that such actions are both unacceptable and completely contrary to Palestinian interests."
Participants unabashedly espouse the view that a Jew living on what is said to be Arab land is repugnant "Judaization":
- "...East Jerusalem is experiencing a process of judaization..." Riyad Mansour, Observer of Palestinian UN Mission, speaking on behalf of Mahmoud Abbas, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization and President of the Palestinian Authority,
- "Judaize East Jerusalem and its surroundings" Yahya A. Mahmassani, UN representative of the League of Arab States, speaking on behalf of Nabil Elaraby, Secretary-General of the Arab League
- "the Judaization of Palestinian land..." Message sent and published by the UN from King Hamad bin Issa Al Khalifa of Bahrain
- "...condemn Israel's...continuing attempts to Judaize Palestinian areas..." Message sent and published by the UN from King Abdullah II Bin Al Hussein of Jordan
- "...end the...Judaization of Jerusalem..." Message sent and published by the UN from Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates
- "altering the Arab-Islamic identity of the city of Al-Quds through their attempts to Judaize it..." Message sent and published by the UN from Organization of the Islamic Conference: Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, Secretary-General
At the same time - though Israel is home to 1.5 million free Arab citizens - it is Israel that allegedly practices apartheid:
- "An apartheid wall has been constructed..." Riyad Mansour, Observer of Palestinian UN Mission, speaking on behalf of Mahmoud Abbas, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization and President of the Palestinian Authority,
- "its continued building of the apartheid wall" Maged A. Abdelaziz, UN Ambassador of Egypt, speaking for Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, Chair of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces of the Arab Republic of Egypt, on behalf of the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries
- "the continuing construction of the apartheid wall" Message sent and published by the UN from Organization of the Islamic Conference: Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, Secretary-General
There was only one invited NGO representative - billed as speaking "on behalf of civil society." The speech
by Peter Miller, President of Americans United for Palestinian Human Rights, was encouraged to elaborate on the apartheid theme:
The Russell Tribunal...concluded that Israel does indeed engage in the crime of apartheid: Israel subjects the Palestinian people to an institutionalized regime of domination amounting to apartheid as defined under international law. The Palestinians living under colonial military rule in the occupied Palestinian territory are subject to a particularly aggravated form of apartheid...Israel' s rule over the Palestinian people, wherever they reside, collectively amounts to a single integrated regime of apartheid...In 1961, Hendrik Verwoerd, then Prime Minister of South Africa and considered the architect of the system of apartheid, stated, Israel, like South Africa, is an apartheid State. Both Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela have expressed concerns that Israel's behaviour is similar to what they experienced under South African apartheid...In 2009, the Human Sciences Research Council of South Africa issued a report concluding that Israel practices both apartheid and colonialism. In 2010, Henry Siegman...said, Israel has crossed the threshold from the only democracy in the Middle East to the only apartheid regime in the Western world."
Miller also made the familiar anti-Jewish move of appropriating Jewish history and plastering it on a fictitious Palestinian narrative: "Every day...Palestinians in the West Bank are attacked by settler pogroms that turn their lives into lives of fear."
Palestinian Ambassador Mansour clapped Miller's rant finally ended.
The Published Messages of Support
The 60-plus year rejection of the Jewish state by Arab and Muslim countries and their UN-based campaign to destroy Israel - given full vent on Palestinian Solidarity Day - also took other forms. The UN published "Messages Received on the Occasion of the International Day of Solidarity With The Palestinian People." Again, they included statements in support of the destruction of Israel and objection to 60 plus years of Jewish "occupation."
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, President of the Islamic Republic of Iran:
"...has been an ever-growing call, echoing everywhere, and making the illegitimate occupying Zionist regime shudder more than ever. The sound of the collapse of the Regime's shaky foundation can clearly be heard now...[T]he usurping Zionist regime..."
Asif Ali Zardari, President of Pakistan:
On this International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People,...we also share the concerns of the international community about the continued sufferings of millions of Palestinian people, who have been dispossessed of their homeland for over 60 years and continue to face hardships of the Occupation.
The Organization of Solidarity of the Peoples of Asia, Africa and Latin America:
"29 November 1947...That date marks the birth and acknowledgment of the State of Israel, which immediately became the occupying power, and the beginning of more than six decades marked by Zionist expansionism and genocide..."
The Panels Displayed
The carefully orchestrated day also had other components. The UN event room prominently featured a set of six-foot high information panels.
They described successive attempts at the Arab annihilation of Israel as random acts of spontaneous combustion: "In 1948 as a result of the war between Israel and its neighboring Arab states, almost 750,000 Palestinians...became refugees." "1967 and 1973: Following two wars, the Security Council [adopted] resolutions..." At the same time, Palestinian violence was justified: "1987: The first Palestinian uprising against Israeli occupation begins."
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There was noo mention of how the General Assembly's 1947 partition resolution was received - its acceptance by Jews and rejection by Arabs, the 1947-8 war launched by Arab states to prevent the creation of a Jewish state, or who started the 1967 and 1973 wars.
None of these attempted annilihation of the UN member state of Israel was a "contravention of international law." The only "contravention of international law" was "the building of Israeli settlements...after the 1967 war."
Settlements were built on "Occupied Palestinian Territory" - regardless of whether in law the territory's ownership is disputed and supposedly to be decided by negotiations.
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There is no mention (at least the same number) of Jewish refugees expelled from Arab states after the creation of Israel.
Palestinian refugees "were uprooted" - there was no mention that Arab inhabitants of historic Palestine were advised to leave by Arab organizations and states, pending the anticipated imminent destruction of Israel.
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The familiar appropriation of Jewish history - the Palestinians are said to have suffered an "exodus."
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Suicide-bombing, murder of Israeli civilians at home, on buses, at worship, is called an "uprising" - and, moreover, a justifiable uprising in response to Israeli occupation.
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The Israeli military operation is carefully dated from beginning to end. Eight years of rocket attacks are unrecorded. There is no start date or quantification of the rocket attacks against Israel's civilian population - setting up the alleged moral equivalence between aggression and defensive response.
No mention is made of Goldstone's retraction of his primary allegation against Israel six months before this event.
The Film Screened
At the conclusion of the speeches, the Senegalese Chair of the UN Committee on the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People encouraged everyone to attend the screening by the UN of the film "La Terre Parle Arabe" or "The Land Speaks Arabic" - "in order to show solidarity with the Palestinian people." Advertised in the UN daily journal and shown over the lunch break to ensure maximum attendance by UN staffers, the film draws parallels between the Nazis' final solution and the alleged Zionist "brutal plans" for Palestinians.
Parts of the film can be watched here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3
Comments made in the film include:
"Christians and Muslims alike...unite in their hatred of Zionism...I preferred to die as a martyr rather than be governed by the Jews ...We were against the Jews...The number of Jews increased constantly...The children cried ...The Hagana had no mercy, no pity. Zionists! They were Zionists!... The Jews were shooting at us, they were facing us...The Jews yelled "turn around you bastards, you dogs." They machine gunned us...They started killing people who were asleep...[We]...found a poor woman...pregnant. They had killed her and the baby came out of the womb. They started slaughtering them until morning."
The ""cultural exhibit:" "A Palestinian Vista - Uprooted from our homeland...we rooted the homeland in ourselves"
From left: Riyad H. Mansour, Palestinian UN Observer; Saviour F. Borg, Malta UN Ambassador; Abdou Salam Diallo, Senegal UN Ambassador and Chair of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People; and Zahir Tanin, Afghanistan UN Ambassador; open the exhibit, "A Palestinian Vista - Uprooted from our homeland... We rooted the homeland in ourselves", UN Headquarters, New York, November 29, 2011
The so-called "cultural" exhibit promoted, again, the message of Palestinian suffering at Israeli hands, and no context other than gratuitous Israeli inhumanity against the innocent.
The UN General Assembly Debate: November 29-30, 2011
When the UN Committee on the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People was finished with its meeting, Solidarity Day moved to the General Assembly and the debate on its agenda item "The Question of Palestine." For a day and a half, antisemitism and the delegitimization of a UN member state were permitted in the primary policy-making body of the UN - the global organization founded on the ashes of the Jewish people, and theoretically dedicated to "the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small:"
The usual themes:
- Opposition to Israel is not rooted in a 1967 "occupation" - the "occupation" began more than sixty years ago with the illegitimate birth of Israel
...implement the resolutions of international legitimacy relevant to the question of Palestine. Those resolutions that call for an end to...more than six decades of occupation, murder, oppression and racism.
"...64 years to date. On the 29th of November 1947, this General Assembly adopted resolution 181 which partitioned Palestine to an Arab and a Jewish state and a separate entity for Jerusalem. That resolution was unfair for Arabs and Palestinians. Yes, that resolution was unfair, unjust for Arabs and Palestinians."
Peaceful Settlement of the Question of Palestine...This item was included for the first time on the General Assembly's agenda 64 years ago in 1947, most likely when the majority of the delegates present here today had not even been born."
"...the Zionist regime, a regime which has based its policies, practices and behavior on occupation, state terrorism, torture, violence, bloodshed..."
- The Jewish state should be eliminated; Israel must be forced to accommodate enough Palestinians so as to eradicate its Jewishness
"...the 1948 Al-Nakba...resulted in the uprooting of the majority of the Palestinian people from their homeland, who now number nearly 5 million Palestine refugees...The wound of this tragedy and injustice remains gaping and bleeding...That is why we continue to come before the Assembly and all other UN organs...appealing for...the inalienable rights of our people, including their rights of return..."
"...the right of the Palestinian refugees to return to their homeland from which they were forcibly evicted by the Zionist gangs."
"...how to achieve productive negotiations so long as the Israeli leadership reiterates...conditions on the Palestinians to recognize Israel as a Jewish state..."
- The Jewish state is racist
"The Israeli occupation authorities have used all methods to empty Palestine of its original inhabitants and settle Jews brought from all parts of the world in it. It seeks through all means to control every inch of Palestine's land so that Israel will expand as a racist state that is strictly for Jews."
"...Israel's...continued policies of...racism..."
"the apartheid wall"
- The Jewish state - which contains 1.5 free Arab citizens - is racist, while the presence of any Jews on Arab-claimed land is repugnant "Judaization"
"...unprecedented campaign to Judaize the holy occupied city...violating the sanctity of...holy sites and the attempts to Judaize them..."
"...the serious humanitarian suffering caused by...the Judaization of land..."
- Demonize Israel: Israel is guilty of the world's worst crimes
"...crimes against humanity perpetrated by Israel against the Palestinian people for decades."
"...crime against humanity"
"...the violations...have become more evil"
"...Israel's malicious policies..abject disregard for human life...torture widely used...[T]he occupying power..continue[s] its actions aiming at cleansing the occupied Palestinian territory of its indigenous Palestinian population..."
The UN General Assembly Resolutions - November 30, 2011
The Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People transmitted four draft resolutions to the General Assembly (under the agenda item "The Question of Palestine.") The drafts were all adopted by the General Assembly on November 30, 2011.