On this year’s International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, Brazilian parliamentarians, institutions, committees and movements have signed a manifesto rejecting Britain’s designation of the political wing of the Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, as a “terrorist” organisation. The manifesto was signed by more than 100 notable individuals in Brazil under the heading “Resistance is not terrorism!” The manifesto reaffirmed that resistance is a legitimate right of all people living under occupation, including the people of occupied Palestine. The Palestinians also have the right to struggle against those who violate their human rights and commit war crimes against them.
“The Palestinian people shouldn’t give up their struggle to fulfil their rights,” said the signatories. “They can count on our support, solidarity and endorsement of their fight for freedom and an independent State of Palestine.”
The vice president of the Brazil-Palestine Institute, Sayid Marcos Tenorio, pointed out that, “Designating Hamas as a ‘terrorist’ organisation is totally rejected by the majority of the Palestinian people who oppose the occupation and gave the movement a majority of votes in the 2006 election.” He is one of the signatories of the manifesto, and was responsible for getting so many others to do likewise. “If President Mahmoud Abbas had not unilaterally cancelled this year’s Palestinian presidential and legislative elections, as Israel wanted, Hamas would have won once again.”
Despite the difficult circumstances in Brazil due to the coronavirus crisis and President Jair Bolsonaro’s foreign policy that promotes a relationship with Israel, the Brazilian people still keep their promise to the Palestinians and show their solidarity on 29 November every year. This date which was chosen by the UN in 1977 as it was on 29 November 1947 that the General Assembly adopted Resolution 181, the UN Partition Plan for Palestine. Entire Palestinian-Brazilian communities, as well as political leaders and well-known individuals, show their support on this tragic date.
The Palestinian Arab Federation of Brazil (FEPAL) is one of the groups which did so this year. The federation organised a week of activities to mark the International Day of Solidarity. The schedule started on 27 November in Sao Paulo. Events include film shows highlighting the Palestinian cause; the launch of books about Palestine; and meetings with Palestinian communities and officials in various cities around Brazil.
FEPAL’s President Ualid Rabah delivered a speech about the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People in the Council Chamber of Santa Maria at the invitation of Councilman Ricardo Blattes. He also attended meetings with members of the local Palestinian community in the city.
The week’s programme is due to close with the launch of the documentary film about Palestine called Fragments of a History in Foz do Iguaçu State. The showing will be attended by the Palestinian Ambassador to Brazil, Ibrahim Alzeben.
Solidarity with the Palestinian people has also been demonstrated by individual initiatives. Samir Frazzon Samara, who is a long-time activist with the Palestinian movement in Santa Maria, donated dozens of “Free Palestine” t-shirts to promote the International Day of Solidarity. The son of a Palestinian who migrated to Brazil, Samara has never stopped talking about the Palestinian cause. He is just one example of the many members of refugee families who maintain a strong sense of Palestinian identity and the importance of the struggle for justice. They believe that the International Day of Solidarity reminds them and the rest of the world that the Palestine question remains unresolved and that the Palestinian people are still waiting for their legitimate right of return to become reality.
Brazil may have a number of domestic problems of its own, not least the effects of the pandemic, but its support for the right to self-determination of the Palestinian people remains strong. According to FEPAL’s Rabah, the significance of 29 November reinforces the importance of international solidarity in the fight against apartheid and Israel’s crimes against humanity in Palestine.
“It is time for the world to end Israel’s ability to act with impunity,” he insisted. “We cannot remain silent in the face of the violence and disregard for Palestinian rights. Justice for Palestine is needed now. This Day of Solidarity is one way to make Israel understand and accept Palestine’s right of self-determination and the implementation of UN resolutions on the Palestine question.”