Saturday, 25 November 2017

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Let’s not forget the plight of Palestinians

Palestine

23.11.2015 – 7.1 million Palestinians are displaced worldwide. Around 1.26 million Palestinians don’t have food security. Nearly one million consumes less than 60 litres of water per day, far below WHO’s recommendation of 100. This is the current situation of Palestinian people.

On 29 November 1947, the General Assembly adopted the ‘Partition Resolution’, which envisioned the establishment in Palestine of a “Jewish State” and an “Arab State”. In 1948, the State of Israel was built but the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people went unheard: the State of Palestine was never realized and the regional conflict remains unsolved to this day.

Due to the symbolic significance of the date, on or around 29 November each year the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People is observed by the United Nations with the aim of calling attention to this issue in the international community.

The UN has struggled to bring a two-state solution to life. The UN came together with the US, Russia and the EU, forming a diplomatic Quartet to present a road map towards peace in Israel-Palestine. In 2011, UNESCO admitted Palestine as a Member State and in 2012 the UN General Assembly granted to Palestine non-member observer State status in the United Nations.

Soon after the 1948 Arab-Israeli conflict, the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) started working to carry out direct relief and works programmes for Palestinian refugees in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Today, some 5 million Palestinians living in this area are registered with UNRWA.

The agency operates nearly 700 schools and has been the main provider of free-of-charge basic education to Palestinian refugees for over 60 years. Its students are amongst the most highly-educated in the region. Alongside UNRWA, other UN agencies and programmes such as the World Bank, UNICEF, UNDP, WFP and UNFPA provide assistance to the people of Palestine.

This year the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People will be commemorated on 23 November at the UN Headquarters, and across the world through screenings of films, panel discussions, meetings and other outreach activities.

On Monday 23 November, the UNRWA exhibition ‘The Long Journey’ will be officially opened at BOZAR in Brussels. The Long Journey is a travelling exhibition of photos and films that the agency has collected over the years, depicting many aspects of Palestinians’ lives from the 1948 Arab-Israeli War to the war in Syria. Now part of the UNESCO Memory of The World Register, the Long Journey is a precious testimony of the challenges and resilience of the Palestinian people. The Brussels edition also pays tribute to the European Union’s support of Palestinian refugees and to UNRWA throughout the years.

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UNRIC’s Related Links:

•   International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People

•   UNRWA Photo and Film Archive

•   The Long Journey at BOZAR

•   Partition Resolution

Photo Credits:

•   Cover: Tijen Erol

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