Palestinian Days of Celebration

At this time of the year, we live important days of Palestinian celebration. While the Palestinian people may not have many reasons to rejoice at this time, these days nevertheless are celebrated as a part of our history, our present and as a source of inspiration for our future.

By the end of this month, specifically on the first of January, the Palestinian people will be receiving the new year, celebrating the 32nd anniversary of the beginning of the struggle of Fatah, marking the start of the contemporary Palestinian revolution - al intilaqa. It is the revolution that transformed the Palestinian cause from a cause of refugees to a cause of a proud people seeking to achieve their inalienable rights.

Along with many peoples of the world, the Palestinian people will also celebrate the 25th of December, the day of Christmas. Although the majority of Palestinians are Muslims, for us Christmas has a special Palestinian dimension as Palestine is the Holy Land and Bethlehem is the birthplace of Jesus. Moreover, the Palestinian people are now engaged in preparations for the momentous start of the 3rd millennium to be marked in the celebration "Bethlehem 2000".

Also in December, specifically the 7th of each year, the Palestinian people commemorate the start of the intifada, which gloriously began on that day in 1987. The intifada marked a turning point in the history of the Palestinian people and in wider world recognition of their continuing struggle.

Last month our people celebrated the 29th of November, the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, a day marking the adoption by the General Assembly of resolution 181 (III) of 1947 which partitioned Palestine. Traditionally on that day the international community reaffirms support and solidarity with the struggle of the Palestinian people and emphasizes the need for the implementation of the second half of the partition resolution by establishment of the Palestinian Arab state.

Also in November, on the 15th of the month, our people celebrated the declaration of the independence of Palestine. This historic decision was declared in Algiers on that day in 1988 by the Palestinian National Council (PNC), the representative of the Palestinian people. As such, the Palestinian state is not going to be declared in the near future, as some Israelis warn, because it has already been declared and it has been recognized by the majority of nations of the world. What remains to be done is the exercise by the Palestinian people of sovereignty in their state with its capital Jerusalem.

It is our strong hope that this will happen through the current peace process to which we remain committed. It is also our hope that the Israeli side will not persist in its attempts to push aside agreements reached and to destroy the process as a whole. The existence of our state is not subject to question and the exercise of our sovereignty shall take place.