UN Day of Solidarity with Palestinians: Palestinian Lives Matter

UN General Assembly President Peter Thomson of Fiji wrapped in a Palestinian flag scarf in honor of UN Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. (Photo: screenshot United Nations Webcast)

NEW YORK — After one minute of silence to honor Cuban Dictator Fidel Castro, the United Nations Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People kicked off with representatives proposing six resolutions on Israeli-Palestinian-related issues, all of which were adopted.

One resolution sponsored by Saudi Arabia, Cuba, and Yemen, among others, accuses Israeli administration over Jerusalem of hindering religious freedom. Similar to two UNESCO World Heritage Committee resolutions proposed last month in Paris, the resolution from Tuesday’s session also ignores Jewish and Christian religious heritage in the city.

“Any actions taken by Israel, the occupying Power, to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration on the Holy City of Jerusalem are illegal and therefore null and void and have no validity whatsoever,” the resolution states.

Other resolutions call for complete Israeli withdrawal from all territory acquired in the 1967 war, condemn “with deep regret” 50 years of “Israeli occupation” and call for the UN Department of Public Information of the Secretariat to increase awareness of the plight of the Palestinian people.

Fodé Seck, chairman of the Committee on Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, claimed that every Palestinian civilian killed only serves to fuel the extremist groups such as ISIS and al Qaida.

“No individual is free unless all individuals are free,” Seck said. “Palestinian lives matter.”

Permanent Observer for the State of Palestine Riyad Mansour urged the Security Council to act with political courage “to ensure respect of the law in the face of Israel’s intransigence and disrespect.”

“Lip-service to the cause of peace is not enough; empty promises and claimed commitments, contradicted by every action by Israel, must not be accepted in place of actual respect for the law and genuine efforts for peace,” Mansour said.

Israel’s Permanent Representative Danny Danon responded strongly at the session, calling the annual Day of Solidarity a “cynical Israel-bashing festival” which does nothing to help the Palestinian people.

Danon noted that Palestinians have received $21.7 billion in development assistance since the Oslo accords in 1993. Instead of using the funds as intended—to improve Palestinian lives—Danon said that in 2012 the Palestinian Authority had paid more than $75 million to terrorists in Israeli prisons and $78 million to the families of deceased terrorists.

“Taxpayers around the world should know that their hard-earned money is helping to fund stabbings, shootings and suicide bombings,” he said.

Plenary votes on the introduced resolutions have not yet been scheduled.

Wrapped in a Palestinian flag scarf, UN General Assembly President Peter Thomson of Fiji opened the session that day with a moment of silence for Castro who had passed away just days before on Nov. 25.

“I’m deeply saddened by the passing of Fidel Castro,” Thomson said. “A tireless advocate for equity in the international arena, he was an inspirational figure for developing countries in particular.”

Offering condolences to the people of Cuba, Thomson described Castro as “one of the iconic leaders of the 20th century, with a great love for his homeland and the Cuban people, he dedicated his life to their welfare and development.”