On the occasion of International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, 29 November, the Palestinian Return Centre has called upon the international community to step up efforts to enable the Palestinian people to exercise their right to return to their homes.
International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People was first called for by the United Nations General Assembly in 1977 as a reminder to the international community of the Palestinian struggle for self-determination, independence, and the right of return.
In a statement issued to mark the occasion the PRC said "This year, the annual observance comes amidst an alarming situation exacerbated not only by Israel's escalating policy of mass collective punishment, mass demolitions, and ethnic cleansing but also by simmering ad hominem campaigns seeking to criminalise solidarity with Palestine."
It noted that despite these campaigns, support for Palestinian rights continues to pour through, most recently at the Qatar 2022 World Cup, where almost every match has witnessed fans either raising the Palestinian flag, wearing a Palestinian keffiyeh, or chanting slogans in solidarity with the people of Palestine.
"Although Palestine and Israel did not participate in the World Cup 2022, the Palestinian cause imposed its prominent presence in the events and stadiums of the World Cup, which has been organized for the first time in a Middle East country;" the statement read.
This year's observance, the PRC said, is also a stark reminder that Palestinians living inside the state of Israel are increasingly treated as second-class citizens with state-sectioned laws that continue to deprive them of the equality citizens are granted in democracies.
"At the same time, we must not forget about the Palestinian refugees in exile across the Arab region and the world, living in poorly-equipped refugee camps and substandard migrant facilities, where they have been facing discrimination. In particular, Palestinian refugees from Syria have been caught up in the violence of the war-torn country, as the conflict enters its 12th year. Their status and ability to return to their homes remain uncertain."
The PRC statement concluded with a call for UN bodies, world governments, NGOs, and civil society representatives to speak up for the Palestinian cause, particularly the refugees' plight, and to increase their support for UNRWA until the occupation of Palestine is ended, refugees return to their homes, and an independent Palestinian State with Jerusalem as its capital is established on the 1967 borders, as per international law and relevant UN resolutions.