Keeping the dream for a free Palestine alive on Solidarity Day

29 Nov 2020 / 10:15 H.

KUALA LUMPUR: The global communities should join hands and solidify the efforts to push for a solution to solve the Palestine issue as Palestinians and the world mark the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People today (Nov 29), academicians said.

According to Prof Datuk Dr Rashila Ramli, Principal Fellow at the Institute of Malaysia and International Studies (IKMAS) of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, the commemoration day remains significant as it served as a harsh reminder for the world of the struggle of the Palestinian people that continue to face oppression and atrocity from Israel.

“It is important to keep the issues going, to always revive the memory of the people that this (Palestine state) is an important matter that needs to be resolved,” she told Bernama in an interview, here.

Rashila said all parties must strive to look for possible solutions to the conflict in spite of its complexity, but the solution to the conflict is very much influenced by the key players.

“It is important for us to look into possible solutions because key players keep changing. Now, we have a new US President, and of course the Arabs, and the Russians are watching too. With all these dicey situations, it is always important to see who are the latest players in the field,” she said.

She noted that the US foreign policy towards the Palestine-Israel issue is unlikely to change even under President-elect Joe Biden’s administration as the superpower will continue to side with the Israelis – but what their support would look like remains to be seen.

However, Rashila added that the recent normalisation of ties between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain with Israel may, in fact, offer a glimmer of hope to the long standing conflict.

She expects that following the decision, more channels will be open to bring more interactions and understanding between the Arab countries and Israel.

“Look at the broader picture, (with the normalisation of ties) nature of engagement seems to be more dynamic because there are possibilities of better trade, of people to people movement.

“When you have people to people relationship, more interaction, trade can happen. Informal channels can happen and that may allow for more rooms to create better understanding and that may influence the way Israel look at things,” she said.

The UAE and Bahrain have normalised their relations with Israel in August and September respectively under the US-brokered ‘Deal of the Century’.

Academician Prof Zaid Ahmad of the Faculty of Human Sciences at Universiti Putra Malaysia said while the issue remains unresolved after over six decades, the normalisation of ties between the UAE and Bahrain with Israel will only complicate matters.

He viewed this decision as counterproductive to the initiatives by the United Nations.

“This is not a good sign of solidarity especially among the Arab states. More importantly, it would be seen as insensitive to the plights of the Palestinians,” he said.

As such, he was of the opinion that the commemoration day should not just be symbolic, but rather be filled with concrete agenda, and joined by as many countries as possible so that when any action is taken against Israel, it will get a majority support from the rest.

“I think significant supports from superpowers is essential, and together with clear commitments from world community, certain effective actions must be taken against the Israeli regime, which had clearly violated UN resolutions,” he said.

In 1977, the United Nations designated November 29 as the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

November 29 was chosen because of its meaning and significance, where on that day, in 1947, Palestine was formally divided into two – a Jewish State and an Arab State.

According to the UN website, the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People this year will be observed on Dec 1 with special meetings at the UN headquarters in New York.

The UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People will launch a virtual exhibit focusing on the Wall built in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, the website said.

These events will be broadcast live via the UN Web TV, and the exhibit will be available on the United Nations’ website.

Meanwhile, Palestinian Cultural Organisation Malaysia (PCOM) chairman Muslim Imran urged Malaysians to join hands with the global communities in showing their support for the Palestinian people.

“The Palestinian struggle is one of the longest in modern history. It is impossible to end this occupation without the international solidarity and support.

“Palestinians has lost a lot, value, life, properties and country for the sake of freedom and independence. So, Nov 29 is an important day for us to remember and to highlight our struggle for a free and dignified Palestinian state,” he told Bernama.

He said commemorative events for this year will also go online due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

Among the programmes lined up include encouraging the public to share their thoughts and support for the Palestinian cause via messages, short videos and posters, as well as through discussions.

He said PCOM will also participate in the Facebook Live ‘Ummah Youth and the issue of Palestine’ discourse organised by Persatuan Progresif Palestin Malaysia (PPAM) on Sunday. -Bernama

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