Beirut, 26 November 2018 (Communication and Information Unit)--This morning, poetry and photography came together to highlight the ordeal of the Palestinian people at the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) where verses of renowned poet Mahmoud Darwish opened the floor: "Peace be upon a land created for peace, yet never witnessed a peaceful day."
Alongside the Acting Executive Secretary of ESCWA, Mr. Mounir Tabet, who cited these verses, the Palestinian Minister of Culture, Mr. Ehab Bseiso and the Lebanese Minister of State for Women’s Affairs, Mr. Jean Oghassabian representing Prime Minister Saad Hariri, joined the ceremony.
On the sidelines of the event and until 29 November, people at the UN House in Beirut delved into the past and present of Palestine thanks to an archives exhibition under the theme of ‘Nakba… On the Road to Return’ organized by the Institute for Palestine Studies and a photo exhibition by Palestinian photojournalist from Gaza, Mustafa Hassouna from the Anadolu Agency.
The director of the Emerging and Conflict Related Issues (ECRI) Division at ESCWA, Mr. Tarek Alami, read the message by the Secretary General of the United Nations, Mr. Antonio Guterres, who called for ending the decades-long Palestinian struggle. “Let us reaffirm our commitment to upholding the rights of the Palestinian people and to building a future of peace, justice, security and dignity for Palestinians and Israelis alike,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mr. Tabet underscored that “the symbolic solidarity that we commit ourselves to every year is insufficient. It must be complemented with action to free the Palestinians from injustice and help them exercise their rights in full.”
He outlined the numerous transgressions underwent by the Palestinian people under occupation, in diaspora or in refugee camps. “Today is an opportunity to stress the right of the Palestinian people to a life like other peoples across the world, and the need to support the Palestinian people in their decades-long tireless struggle for their rights. They have become a role model for patience, determination, will and commitment to their right to life,” he added.
A report issued by ESCWA in June 2018 categorized the Israeli practices and policies as follows: land grab, land confiscation and seizure, displacement, revocation of residency permits, deportations, home demolitions, evictions and forced relocations, oppression, excessive use of force with impunity, arbitrary detention and ill-treatment, and collective punishment.
In this context, Mr. Bseiso believed that a victorious Palestine would mean victory to justice. “It is within our right to say that the villages which have been destroyed are part of our history, that those who were forcefully evicted have the right to return, and that Palestine deserves to be on the map, not just as a people but also a State.”
He concluded: “Palestine needs more support and there is a chance for hope.”
Currently, millions of Palestinians are still living away from their homeland. Mr. Oghassabian stressed the Lebanese solidarity with the Palestinian people to recover its lands and independence. “We affirm that the right of return for all Palestinians is a sacred right that bears no concession,” he said while stressing the need to concert Arab efforts to bring the Palestinian cause back to the forefront of the regional and international agendas and overcome all attempts to eliminate it.
“Jerusalem remains the city of light and peace and the capital of the free State of Palestine,” he said.
The International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People is marked on 29 November according to a General Assembly resolution issued in 1977 and is an annual opportunity trying to preserve hope for the Palestinian people and territories.
For pictures: https://bit.ly/2RlFjhy
For more information:
Nabil Abu-Dargham, Head, ESCWA Communication and Information Unit
+961-70-993-144; email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ms Rania Harb +961-70-008-879; email: email@example.com
Ms Mirna Mahfouz: +961-70-872-372; email: firstname.lastname@example.org