In 1977, the UN General Assembly declared, under Resolution 32/40 B, that 29 November would mark the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. On that day in 1947, the General Assembly adopted Resolution 181 (II)—also known as the “Partition Resolution”—which provided for the partition of Palestine into two States.
Yet, forty-three years on, Israel still denies Palestinians the exercise of their inalienable and collective right to self-determination, a cornerstone and peremptory norm of international law, as well as the right to return of Palestinian refugees, as explicitly recognized in several UN resolutions.
Israel, the Occupying Power, continues to maintain a racialized system of dispossession, forced displacement, and fragmentation of the Palestinian people. The continuation of these practices has been made possible by both the inaction of the international community and by Israel’s systemic impunity, which enables the State to perpetrate systematic human rights violations against Palestinians.
The construction of the wall by Israel in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, along with the incessant establishment of illegal settlements, severely impedes the right of the Palestinian people to national sovereignty over their natural resources. As a result, the Palestinian economy continues to deteriorate and poverty levels are rising, thus adding additional barriers to Palestinians’ ability to fully enjoy their socio-economic rights.
While Israel’s impunity persists, its annexation of Palestinian land accelerates as part of the United States’ so-called “Deal of the Century”. At this same time, violent acts committed by Israeli settlers against Palestinian civilians and their property have increased. For instance, on numerous occasions, Israeli settlers have uprooted and set fire to Palestinian crops, especially olive trees. Notably, any form of defense by Palestinians is responded to with administrative detention for prolonged periods, during which Israeli authorities deprive Palestinians of several procedural and human rights.
The US administration’s alliance with Israel and endorsement of annexations is normalizing Israel’s colonial project and further emboldens its impunity. Moreover, the US administration has repeatedly designated as “anti-Semitic” and blacklisted human rights organizations that engage in peaceful means to end human rights violations against Palestinians. The US is also a longstanding critic of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and has lately imposed sanctions normally used to penalize perpetrators of human rights violations on senior ICC officials, including Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, for prosecuting war crimes.
In the context of the Gaza Strip, Israel has maintained a comprehensive land, sea, and air blockade and closure since 2007, which is considered an unlawful collective punishment of the two million Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip. The closure has led to the collapse of essential services, profound levels of poverty, food insecurity, unemployment, aid-dependency, and the contamination of most of Gaza’s water supply. Compounded by Israel’s active de-development of the Strip and repeated military bombardments, the closure has also crippled Gaza’s healthcare system, and violated Palestinians’ right to health, thereby weakening their capacity to adequately prevent and mitigate the impacts of what could be a catastrophic COVID-19 outbreak.
On this International Day, Al Mezan calls on the international community, especially the States Parties to the Geneva Convention, to uphold its moral and legal obligations towards the Palestinian people by taking all possible measures to end Israel’s international crimes, to activate the relevant mechanisms for the protection of Palestinian civilians, and to guarantee the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, including the right of return to their homes and property.