International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People is Commemorated

On 29 November 2000, the U.N. observed the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. This date coincides with the adoption by the General Assembly (GA) of resolution 181 (II) of 29 November 1947, which partitioned Palestine into two states, one Arab and one Jewish. The day began with a solemn meeting, presided over by Amb. Ibra Ka of Senegal, Chairman of the Committee of the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (CEIRPP), who also delivered a statement.

The meeting was also addressed by Mr. Harri Holkeri, President of the GA, Mr. Kofi Annan, U.N. Secretary-General; Amb. Peter van Walsum of the Netherlands, President of the Security Council; Amb. John de Saram of Sri Lanka, Chairman of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices; Amb. Dumisana Kumalo of South Africa, Chairman of the Non-Aligned Movement; Mr. Syed Hamid Syed Jaafar Al-Bar, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Malaysia on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), Amb. Amadou Ke be , Permanent Observer of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) to the U.N.; and Mr. Said Kamal, Under-Secretary-General for Palestine Affairs of the League of the Arab States. A statement was also read by Mr. Don Betz, Chairman of the International Coordinating Committee on Palestine, on behalf of the many NGOs supporting the Palestinian people and their just cause.

At the meeting, the Permanent Observer of Palestine to the U.N., Amb. Nasser Al-Kidwa, delivered a message sent by President Yasser Arafat in observance of the occasion. Mr. Farouk Kaddoumi, Head of the Political Department of the PLO, delivered concluding remarks, conveying gratitude for the numerous affirmations of support and solidarity with the Palestinian people by the international community.

Amb. Ka also announced letters for the occasion received by from Heads of State and Government, Foreign Ministers and regional organizations. Letters were sent by: Venezuela, Guinea, Brazil, Philippines, Afghanistan, Namibia, Cyprus, Laos, Vietnam, Tunisia, Jordan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Senegal, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Morocco, Egypt, Algeria, Russia, Cuba, Iran, Peru, Turkey, Lesotho, Thailand, China, Mauritius, India, Cambodia, Bangladesh, Belarus, Oman, Hungary, Japan, Romania, Madagascar, Colombia, Syria, Iraq, Ukraine, Argentina, Uruguay, Central African Republic, Burkina Faso, Zimbabwe, EU, OIC, OAU, and a few NGOs.

Midday, two films on Palestine were screened at the U.N., Behind the Walls and an UNRWA film entitled Despite the Odds. Later that afternoon, the GA began its debate on item 41 of its agenda, the Question of Palestine. A total of 48 countries, including Palestine, participated in the debate, reaffirming their unwavering support for the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people and the urgent need for a just settlement of the question of Palestine.

In the evening, an annual exhibit in commemoration of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People was inaugurated by Amb. Ka and Minister Kaddoumi. The exhibit, featuring the works of 12 Palestinian artists, was displayed in the U.N. visitors lobby and was sponsored by the CEIRPP in cooperation with the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine. The theme of the exhibit was The Land and it included approximately 40 works of art in which the artists used earth, herbs, pieces of ancient pottery, pieces of old embroideries with motifs of land and trees, and depictions of ancient legends from the history of the area.