UN Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, November 24, 2008

Blowing the Cover on the UN's Idea of a Two-State Solution

On November 24, 2008 the United Nations held its annual Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. This was the 60th anniversary of the UN General Assembly resolution which partitioned Palestine into a Jewish and an Arab state - a resolution rejected across the Arab world. At UN Headquarters the day was marked by speeches from UN leaders in a room 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.

The Meeting

On the left is a flag of "Palestine" and on the right is the flag of the United Nations. There is no flag of the UN member state of Israel. Not one speaker objected to the omission of an Israeli flag.

(Left to right) Riyad Malki, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Palestinian Authority; Jorge Urbina, Representative of the President of the Security Council; Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann, President of the General Assembly; Paul Badji, Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People; Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations; H.M.G.S. Palihakkara, Chairman of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories; and the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs.

The Speeches

Speakers included the President of the UN General Assembly, Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann of Nicaragua. He accused Israel of apartheid, and in an unprecedented abuse of the office of the GA President, he called for "a campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions" against a UN member state. A Catholic priest and former official of the World Council of Churches, Brockmann also used a line reminiscent of a classic antisemitic slur, claiming our Palestinian "brothers and sisters are being crucified" by Israel.

Video of Brockmann statement

Text of Brockmann statement

Brockmann's offensive remarks are completely at odds with the facts. One-fifth of Israel's population is Arab with more democratic rights than in any Arab state. Arab states have been essentially rendered Judenrein since the creation of Israel. UN resolutions denounce Jews living in Arab-claimed territory as "Judaization," but make no mention of their clear goal of "apartheid Palestine.""

In addition, the UN Committee on the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People invited only one representative from "civil society" to speak. . Rev. Edwin Makue, General Secretary of the South African Council of Churches charged Israel with the crime of apartheid: "Israel, like South Africa, is an apartheid State...[T]he Campaign to End the Occupation is calling for divestment..."

Text of Makue statement

The published messages of support

The rampant hatred of Israel - given full rein on Palestinian Solidarity Day - also took many other forms. The UN published "Messages Received on the Occasion of the International Day of Solidarity With The Palestinian People" from states. Here are some examples, including the publication of a denial of the Holocaust and a call for "a final solution" to Israeli occupation.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, President of the Islamic Republic of Iran

    What is the relationship between the issue of some alleged victims of the Second World War and the Palestinian People?...[T]he philosophy behind the occupation of Palestine is null and void in principle and consequently, there remains no reason for the continuation of the occupation of the Palestinian territory...[D]eclare the Zionist occupiers as an illegitimate regime...[T]he opportunity also should be provided for the return of millions of the Palestinian refugees, the real owners and inhabitants of Palestine...The Islamic Republic of Iran is alongside all other nations and States who support the Palestinian people and calls on all to support a final solution to end this immense historic tragedy: holding a general referendum with the participation of all Palestinians ...with the aim of enabling them to...put an end to this historical oppression.

Abdurrahman Mohamed Shalgham, Secretary of the General People's Committee for Foreign Liaison and International Cooperation of the Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya:

    "We should like to take this opportunity to commend the staunch determination of the Palestinian people in confronting occupation...A single democratic State should be established in which Christians, Muslims and Jews can live in security, peace and prosperity, with equal rights and duties."

Felipe Pérez Roque, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Cuba, speaking Movement of Non-Aligned Countries; message delivered by Ileana B. Núñez Mordoche, Deputy Permanent Representative of Cuba to the United Nations:

    "...the General Assembly's adoption of resolution 181 (II) in 1947...partitioned historic Palestine and led to the injustice and tragedy imposed upon its people in 1948, known as the nakba."

Michel Suleiman, President of Lebanon:

    "On this day we look back at painful episodes in the history of the Palestinian people and the Arab world. We remember the Nakba and how the Palestinians were expelled from their land. Their suffering, which began at that point, has continued to the present day."

The Film Screened

UN Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People did not end there. The UN had a public screening on UN premises of one film - a film carrying the message that Zionists are Nazi equivalents. It was entitled "La Terre Parle Arabe," or "The Land Speaks Arabic."

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."

A Photo Exhibit

A photo exhibit was mounted in the public entrance to the United Nations, through which hundreds of school children and tourists pass every day. The title of the exhibit was "The Palestinians: 60 years of struggle and enduring hope". The "sixty years" of struggle puts a lie to the alleged root cause of the Arab-Israeli conflict as an "occupation" that began with the 1967 war. The real complaint is the alleged wrong of the creation of the State of Israel itself. The "struggle" which is glorified actually consists of a series of deadly wars launched by Arabs seeking to annihilate Israel, and the ongoing "struggle" of Arab terrorists dedicated to the same end.

The exhibit was launched with an opening ceremony which featured a UN secretariat official as well as diplomats: Kiyo Akasaka, Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information, Paul Badji, Ambassador of Senegal and Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and Riyad al-Malki, the 'Minister of Foreign Affairs' of the Palestinian Authority. Akasaka said "the Palestinian people still remain denied their unalienable right." Al-Malki told the crowd "the pictures represent our efforts....[W]hat is important for you is to be able to witness what's happening at the scene with your eyes..."

The photos indeed represent Palestinian and Arab efforts - to destroy the Jewish state. The UN-fostered narrative goes like this: instead of peaceful coexistence, Palestinian children are rightly encouraged to think that the land upon which the Jewish state sits belongs to them, that they should spend their lives thirsting to return to it, and thereby terminate any right to Jewish self-determination. (In 2008 Israel had approximately 5.5 million Jews and 1.2 million Muslims; calls for the "return" of what the Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA said at that time were 4.6 Palestinian refugees, would end Jewish statehood.) The end of a Jewish state is justified, the UN-driven story line continues, by representing Israelis as children-hating villains. The exhibit casts Israeli Jews as people who erect evil barriers for no purpose other than to deny Palestinian children and their parents - who simply fly kites, throw snowballs, make tea and plant olive trees - their happiness.

Here is a sampling of the exhibit.

i. The message: the right of return

Caption: "The key on top of the gate at the entrance to Aida camp symbolizes the right of return for Palestine refugees, "They say when the older generation dies our case will die; yet, as the younger generation grows up, our case grows with them", Odai Taysser Elmashayekh, 17-years-old, 2008"

Caption: "Keys of the lost homes of refugees displayed during a demonstration commemorating the Nakba [ed. The catastrophe of Israel's creation], Ramallah, 2006 Photo by Anne Paq"

ii. The message: the terrible wall erected by the Jews to harm children

The security fence erected by Israel as a non-violent measure to keep terrorists from blowing up Israeli children is depicted here as an ominous backdrop to innocent children. Before construction of the security fence, between 2000-2003 there were 73 major terrorist attacks, killing 293 Israelis and wounding 1,950. After construction of the fence, from 2003-2006, there were 12 such attacks, killing 64 Israelis and wounding 445. (see for example: Saving Lives: Israel's anti-terrorist fence - Answers to Questions and Israel's Security Fence). As opposed to celebrating the preservation of Jewish life that this fence has afforded - including the lives of Jewish children deliberately targeted by terrorists - the UN depicts it as an obstacle to peace and a "threat"to Palestinian children.

Caption: "Threatened by the Wall
- Jahalin Bedouins, 2006

Caption: "Affected by the Wall - the children of Wadi Ar-Rasha, near Qalqilya, 2004"

iii. The message: Palestinian innocence versus Israeli villains

Caption: "Flying kites in front of the Wall," 2005

Caption: "Throwing snowballs for a change, Bethlehem," 2008

Caption: "The traditional Palestinian way of making tea, "A time-honored ritual of welcome and friendship, even in a cave," 2008

Caption: "My olive tree, If just one of my olive trees remains it will be like a grain of wheat that just began to sprout," 2008

iv. The catastrophe of the creation of Israel - the "naqba" - is analogous to the Holocaust

One of the plaques contains the words of one of the photographers responsible for the exhibit's content, Anne Paq.

Part of a larger plaque: "...Sixty years have passed...It is the time. Let us not wait for another "Nakba" for both peoples."

The General Assembly continues the Palestinian Solidarity Day theme

Later in the day on November 24, 2008, the General Assembly took up the "Question of Palestine" and the "Situation in the Middle East." During the discussion the President of the UN General Assembly launched an unprecedented attack on a UN member state from the Assembly podium. Going beyond even existing UN resolutions, Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann of Nicaragua, a former Sandinista foreign minister, said Israel was guilty of apartheid and called for a boycott, divestment and sanctions against it - all translated into six languages and webcast around the world. In his words:

    "I spoke this morning about apartheid and how Israeli policies in the Occupied Palestinian Territories appear so similar to the apartheid of an earlier era, a continent away. I believe it is very important that we in the United Nations use this term. We must not be afraid to call something what it is. It is the United Nations, after all, that passed the International Convention against the Crime of Apartheid, making clear to all the world that such practices of official discrimination must be outlawed wherever they occur."

Brockmann then made the call in effect for the political destruction of Israel in the same vein as apartheid South Africa.

    "More than twenty years ago we in the United Nations took the lead from civil society when we agreed that sanctions were required to provide a non-violent means of pressuring South Africa...Today, perhaps we in the United Nations should consider following the lead of a new generation of civil society, who are calling for a similar non-violent campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions to pressure Israel..."

Video of Brockmann:

Text of Brockmann:

The General Assembly adopts the resolutions put forward by the CEIRPP committee

Following the days of hate speech, 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 26, 2008. They are:

  1. Resolution on the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, adopted by a vote of 107 in favor, 8 against, and 57 abstentions.

    Among other things, this Resolution calls for "...the Committee to continue to extend its cooperation and support to Palestinian and other civil society organizations and to continue to involve additional civil society organizations in its work in order to mobilize international solidarity and support for the Palestinian people." The civil society organizations to which this resolutions refers include those that have been accredited to the UN through the Committee. The list of Palestinian accredited NGOs includes Al-Awda: The Palestine Right to Return Coalition which for example, describes known terrorist Abdul Aziz Ali Rantisi as a pediatrician who was the victim of assassination by the Israelis, without mention of his record of directing dozens of terrorist attacks against Jews. The list also includes the group Friends of Al-Aqsa which accuses Israel of genocide and ethnic cleansing. These are but two of hundreds if not thousands of examples of civil society organizations working to delegitimize the existence of Israel. This Resolution confirms that this will continue for yet another year.

  2. Resolution on the Division for Palestinian Rights of the Secretariat, adopted by a vote of 106 in favor, 8 against, and 57 abstentions.

    This Resolution mandates the Division for Palestinian Rights of the Secretariat with the "organization of international meetings and conferences in various regions with participation of all sectors of the international community; liaison and cooperation with civil society; further development and expansion of the documents collection of the United Nations Information System on the Question of Palestine; preparation and widest possible dissemination of publications and information materials on various aspects of the question of Palestine; and conduct of the annual training programme for staff of the Palestinian Authority." The holding of international meetings focused on the "Question of Palestine" has featured calls for a one-state solution and one-sided panels with so-called experts conveying the UN-Arab narrative that the root cause of the Arab-Israeli conflict is the occupation of Palestinian land. This resolution guarantees that the story of Palestinian victimhood travels beyond UN headquarters to cities around the world, spreading outrage against the Jewish state and mobilizing international civil society to act on anti-Israel agenda.

  3. Resolution on the Special information programme on the question of Palestine of the Department of Public Information of the Secretariat, adopted by a vote of 162 in favor, 8 against, and 4 abstentions.

    This resolution mandates the Special Information Program on Palestine "To organize international, regional and national seminars or encounters for journalists, aiming in particular at sensitizing public opinion to the question of Palestine..." All of the one-sided UN reports, resolutions, papers are handed over to journalists at international seminars furthering the spread of anti-semitism via the UN - and the message that Israel is a land-hungry aggressor seeking to harm innocent Palestinian victims.

  4. Resolution on the Peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine, adopted by a vote of 164 in favor, 7 against, and 3 abstentions.

    The resolution does nothing to further peace, but instead condemns Israel repeatedly and worries about Palestinian freedom of movement that is apparently being limited in a vacuum. Among other things, the resolution expresses concern for "the large number of deaths and injuries, mostly among Palestinian civilians, the acts of violence and brutality committed against Palestinian civilians by Israeli settlers in the West Bank, the widespread destruction of public and private Palestinian property and infrastructure, the internal displacement of civilians and the serious deterioration of the socio-economic and humanitarian conditions of the Palestinian people..." It makes no mention of "Palestinian terrorism."