A Decent Life

With Richard Cook, Director of UNRWA representative office in New York

By Yousef Al-Helou

New York, DPI

“It’s unfortunate that we don’t have a solution yet,” said Wolfgang Grieger, acting Director of the Division for Palestinian Rights, in an interview last week. “The committee is in existence for more than 35 years and the time is overripe that the Palestinian people can exercise their right to a self-determination created state. Unfortunately there is no consensus in the international community.”

I personally assume that this failure is the result of the inaction of the international community. That and the culture of impunity common to this armed conflict, which allows the Israeli occupation forces to ignore International and humanitarian law.

But the struggle has taken different shapes– armed resistance, but also popular resistance or nonviolent struggle. The latter tactic has worked in drawing the attention of the international activists and organizations to the plight of the Palestinian people. Hundreds of peace activists from all over the world pour into the occupied territories every year to show solidarity and support.

Local Palestinians welcome these activists and human rights defenders, saluting them for their courage in protesting, for example, against the construction of the apartheid wall and illegal settlements across the West Bank. But being an international activist does not mean that you are immune from intimidation and the use of violence–this mission is full of hazards. It is the price you pay for standing on the side of justice.

The Palestinian people, who are often described as a resilient nation, now count on peace loving people from nations around the world to uphold their cause in the international arena.

I want to finish my article with a quote from Martin Luther King who said: Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

*Why do you think the UN Palestinian Rights Committee hasn’t had more success? How can international activists best support the Palestinian people?

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