Scores of people waved Palestinian flags as they gathered in the city of Santa Clara del Mar, in Argentina's Buenos Aires State. They had come together to celebrate the renaming of one of its main roads in the city to "Palestine Street" and to mark the 34th anniversary of the Palestinian Declaration of Independence.
The local government of Santa Clara del Mar took the initiative in cooperation with the Embassy of the State of Palestine in Argentina. While the celebration included traditional Palestinian dancing, the dabke, live singers and people wearing traditional Palestinian dress.
"We appreciate this step that strengthens the ties between Argentina and Palestine. I expressed solidarity on behalf of the people of this city with the struggle of the Palestinian people living under Israeli occupation and apartheid rule," Mayor Jorge Parede said.
According to Sheryn Barham, a Palestinian embassy official, the renaming of such an important street in Santa Clara del Mar to 'Palestine Street' is intended to boost the Palestinian identity. "The Palestinian residents of Santa Clara del Mar add historical and cultural significance to the city," she tells MEMO.
"It highlights Argentina's support for Palestine and the two-state solution. Argentina recognised the State of Palestine within the 1967 borders in December 2010. This is a reminder of a state policy towards ending the occupation and freeing the Palestinian State," she adds.
After recognising the State of Palestine 12 years ago, Argentina has gone on to support the occupied country at international forums, voting in favour of the UN investigating possible human rights abuses in the Palestinian territories.
"Our bilateral relations are solid. Two elements can attest to that: the historical and still present Argentine support towards Palestine and the dozens of resolutions voted for annually within the many UN bodies and specialised agencies and the fact that just weeks ago, on 28 October we celebrated the first round of Political Consultations," Barham says.
"Palestine is very much present in Argentinian society. We have struggles in common: the observance and respect towards human rights, the end of colonisation and occupation given that the Argentine Malvinas are still subjected just as Palestine is. We share many values in common."
In Argentina, solidarity with Palestinians is fast becoming a regular feature of daily life. The naming of streets and public squares is part of the ongoing process of mapping the close ties between Argentina and Palestine. Barham believes the importance of this step lies in three facts; it demonstrates the presence of Palestine and its just struggle within Argentina's society and in its institutions. Second, it solidifies the bilateral relations among both nations. Lastly, it cements the presence of the State of Palestine , its people, culture, history and legacy in Argentina.
"Our presence is felt everywhere! This reiterates that after almost 75 years of Zionist efforts to wipe Palestine from the world, we are more present than ever and we are here to stay," Braham says.