Beirut, 20 November 2003 (United Nations Information Service)--Official
personalities, diplomats as well as representatives of civil
society organizations will gather on 1-2 December 2003 at the
United Nations House, Riad Solh Square, Beirut, to express
solidarity with the Palestinian people upon the invitation of the
Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA).
In an unprecedented step, the UN regional body will be
commemorating the International Day of Solidarity with the
Palestinian People (29 November) in a series of activities, which
will begin by an official meeting on Monday 1 December. Speakers
will be Palestinian Minister of Foreign Affairs Nabil Shaath,
ESCWA Executive Secretary Mervat Tallawy and Ambassador Antoine
Shedid, representing Lebanese Minister of Foreign Affairs Jean
Following the meeting, Shaath, Tallawy and Shedid will be
inaugurating an exhibit of photos, books and handicrafts to which
Palestinian non-governmental organizations will be contributing.
The exhibit will be open until Wednesday 3 December 2003.
On Monday 1 December, a panel discussion is scheduled at 7:30 pm
on “Arab-Israeli Conflict and the Making of a New Regional Order”.
Speakers at this panel, which will be chaired by Tallawy, will be
Minister Shaath and Political Analyst Patrick Seale.
Another panel is organized on Tuesday 2 December at 7:30 pm on
“Edward Said and the Question of Palestine: Criticism and
Solidarity”. Speakers will be Ms. Jean Said Makdisi, writer, Mr.
Shafiq Al Hout, Member of the Palestine National Council, and Mr.
Samah Idriss, Editor-in-Chief of Al-Adab Magazine. The panel will
be chaired by Mr. Tarif Khalidi, Professor of History at the
American University of Beirut.
It is worth noting that the date of 29 November was chosen as the
International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People
because of its meaning and significance to the Palestinians. On
that day in 1947, the United Nations General Assembly adopted
resolution 181(II), which came to be known as the Partition
Resolution. That resolution provided for the establishment in
Palestine of a "Jewish State" and an "Arab State", with Jerusalem
as a corpus separatum under a special international regime. Of the
two States to be created under this resolution, only one, Israel,
has so far come into being.
The Palestinian people, who now number more than 8 million, live
primarily in the Palestinian territory occupied by Israel since
1967, including East Jerusalem, part of which is now administered
by the Palestinian Authority; in Israel; in neighboring Arab
States; and in refugee camps in the region.
The International Day of Solidarity has traditionally provided an
opportunity for the international community to focus its attention
on the fact that the question of Palestine is still unresolved and
that the Palestinian people is yet to attain its inalienable
rights as defined by the General Assembly, namely, the right to
self-determination without external interference, the right to
national independence and sovereignty, and the right to return to
their homes and property from which they had been displaced.