On November 29th each year, the World Young Women’s Christian Association (World YWCA) and its member association, the YWCA of Palestine, unite in urging individuals worldwide to observe the annual International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people. Since 1947, this date has also marked our commemoration of UN General Assembly Resolution 181, which advocates for the partition of Palestine into two states: one for the Jewish people and one for the Arab Palestinians.
The International Day of Solidarity highlights that the issue of Palestine remains unresolved. Palestinians are still yearning to attain their 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 have been displaced. This day urges global attention to these ongoing challenges.
Despite countless UN calls and resolutions, the escalating crisis in Palestine demands urgent attention as the situation worsens with each passing year. As an occupying power, Israel succeeded in dividing Palestine into non-contiguous cantons and creating irreversible facts on the ground that would make the establishment of a Palestinian state impossible. These Israeli discriminatory policies have systematically undermined the prospects for justice and equality, resulting in harrowing accounts of displacement and dispossession of Palestinian refugees. Since 1947, Israeli directives have persistently demolished homes and confiscated land and resources to make way for further illegal settlement expansions.
Since October 7, 2023, the indiscriminate rise in the death toll in Gaza demands immediate and urgent global action. Tens of thousands of people have been killed and wounded. In addition to the destruction of homes, residential buildings, property, and infrastructure, around 1.5 million people were forcibly displaced due to fear, protection concerns, and the destruction of their homes. A total siege was imposed on the Gaza Strip to stop all deliveries of food, water, electricity, and fuel.
This reality in Gaza, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem, urges the international community, including not only States but also non-state actors such as businesses, to do everything they can to end the Israeli apartheid and occupation of the Palestinian territory.
As one of the world’s largest women’s movements, we, the World YWCA and the YWCA of Palestine, emphatically call for the affirmation and protection of human rights and international law for all. We are committed to engaging young people, particularly young women, in pursuing positive transformation by educating them about their human rights as outlined in international resolutions such as UNSCR 2250, UNSCR 1325, and other global accords. Above all, we are devoted to instilling hope in their hearts and cultivating in them the core values essential to achieving freedom, justice, and peace for themselves, their communities, and the world at large.
It is time for the younger generations in Palestine to live in freedom, security, and peace.
The YWCA of Palestine and the World YWCA want to unequivocally emphasize that despite all these daunting realities and challenges, we uphold our hope and belief in the unwavering potential of youth and their active participation on local, national, and international levels to promote a just peace.
On this day, we call on the international community and policymakers to:
- Take immediate and effective actions to put significant pressure to end the war in Gaza, protecting the lives of civilians and allowing unimpeded delivery of desperately needed humanitarian aid to them.
- Advocate for the end of Israeli occupation and stand with the Palestinians in establishing their independent, sovereign state. There can be no peace, security, or justice under occupation.
- Implore governments to act on all the UN resolutions related to Palestine and enforce the full realisation of economic, political, and cultural rights for Palestinians.
We implore the United Nations to enforce its own resolutions on Palestine, and we call on all of you to summon the courage to stand up for the Palestinian rights of equality, freedom, dignity, and security. This is what solidarity looks like.