The Brazilian people still keep their promise to the Palestinians and show their solidarity on 29 November every year. This date was chosen by the UN in 1977 for
International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People as it was on 29 November 1947 that the General Assembly adopted Resolution 181, the UN Partition Plan for Palestine. The significance of 29 November reinforces the importance of international solidarity in the fight against Israeli apartheid and the occupation state's other crimes against humanity in Palestine
The Brazilian Congress held a special session for Palestine to express solidarity with the Palestinian people against the continuous aggression of the Israeli occupation. The session followed an invitation by a number of deputies who support the Palestinian cause, such as Paulo Pimenta, in partnership with the Brazil-Palestine Institute (IBRASPAL). It was also attended by a number of diplomats from Arab, Islamic and Latin American countries.
"With the election of its new president, Lula da Silva, Brazil has returned to influence the international arena and play an important role in the Middle East," said Pimenta during the session. "The Palestinian people have the full right to live on their land and enjoy all their rights there. We need to raise our voices every day and condemn the persecution and killings committed by the government of Israel against the Palestinian people."
The session opened with the Palestinian national anthem, followed by images of the ongoing crimes committed by Israel against the Palestinian people in their occupied land, the theft of land through illegal settlements and the demolition of Palestinian homes.
Senator Omar Aziz is a Brazilian of Palestinian descent who served as the Governor of the Brazilian state of Amazonas. "Some of you may not know that I am a Palestinian son of a father who came to Brazil from Palestine," he explained. "I still have relatives there in Palestine who suffer under the occupation to this very day." Aziz pointed out that he watched his father suffer every day because of the atrocities committed by the occupation against the Palestinian people.
The Brazil-Palestine Institute in Brasilia state organised a week of activities to mark the International Day of Solidarity. Events included film shows highlighting the Palestinian cause; the launch of books about Palestine; meetings with Palestinian communities and officials in various cities around Brazil; and the special session in Congress.
The Institute's president, Ahmed Shehada, noted that the session in the Brazilian parliament was important to enable the Palestinian voice to be heard, and to convey to all members of Brazilian society the details and extent of the suffering of the Palestinian people. He stressed the need to broadcast the session live on as many social media platforms a possible. "The Palestinian cause has returned to the corridors of the Brazilian parliament thanks to the efforts of advocates and believers in the cause after years of absence," added Shehada.
According to the Institute's vice president, Sayid Marcos Tenorio, holding a session for Palestine in the Congress is a traditional opportunity for deputies to show solidarity with people struggling for their freedom. "There has been a hiatus in the proactive role of the Brazilian Parliament over the past four years of the Bolsonaro government and its alignment with Israeli policies," Tenorio told me."
"Although introduced by the UN, the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People actually highlights the organisation's injustice and illegality. All people who defend the legitimate human, civil and political rights of the Palestinian people need to take a stand against the Israeli apartheid regime, and demand the establishment of a viable, independent State of Palestine after 74 years of occupation."