Friday, September 23, 2011

Palestinian Statehood

I hope that you each had a chance to listen to Mahmoud Abbas' speech to the United Nations today. As the President of the State of Palestine and Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, he was responsible for submitting an application for the admission of Palestine as a member of the United Nations. Essentially, Palestine wants to be recognized as an Independent State in hopes that through this they can reclaim their land and gain their freedom. They are currently the only occupied nation in the world. 

Unfortunately, President Obama has already said that even if this application gets approved, the United States, as a staunch supporter of Israel, will use its power to veto the decision. I have found that despite this harsh reality, the Palestinians that I have talked to are incredibly excited about the vote, and seem to hope that this will bring new light and awareness to the injustice that they face every day. Currently, more than 120 countries in the world support the Palestinians by recognizing Palestine as a state. The following map does a good job of showing these countries - the dark green countries recognize Palestine, the silver countries do not, and the lime and olive green countries either outright do not recognize Palestine OR are abstaining from the decision/refusing to comment.

Today was definitely a day filled with joy here in the West Bank. Here is a tiny glimpse into the town of Ramallah during the speech: 


And, for your viewing pleasure, here are two stellar pictures of me in Nativity Square in Bethlehem right before Abbas' speech started:

If you didn't hear the speech, I encourage you to read the transcription of the English translation HERE!

I'll leave you with a quote from the speech that both touched me and hurt my heart:

"The time has come for our men, women and children to live normal lives, for them to be able to sleep without waiting for the worst that the next day will bring; for mothers to be assured that their children will return home without fear of suffering killing, arrest or humiliation; for students to be able to go to their schools and universities without checkpoints obstructing them. The time has come for sick people to be able to reach hospitals normally, and for our farmers to be able to take care of their good land without fear of the occupation seizing the land and its water, which the wall prevents access to. Or fear of the settlers, for whom settlements are being built on our land and who are uprooting and burning the olive trees that have existed for hundreds of years. The time has come for the thousands of prisoners [often only accused of organizing peaceful demonstrations or throwing rocks as they are being attacked] to be released from the prisons to return to their families and their children ... My people desire to exercise their right to enjoy a normal life like the rest of humanity."

1 comment:

  1. Meredith so cool your posts adds such a personal element to a global issue. I can't imagine how amazing it was to be there. Thank you for sharing this moment. Miss you bunches but so proud of you.