The bid to recognise Palestine
A historic bid to recognise the right of Palestine as a non-member observer state in the United Nations took place on Friday Nov. 30, giving Palestinians a certain degree of statehood recognition, similar to the recognition given to the Vatican.
One-hundred and thirty-eight countries, over two-thirds of the UN’s member states, voted in favour of recognising the state of Palestine. Canada, the United States, Israel, and six other countries voted against the recognition. Palestine applied to be recognised as a full UN member state in Sept. 2011, but it’s recognition was vetoed by the UN Security Council.
Here at home, the Regina Solidarity Group, an organisation of students and community members whose aim is to engage and support anti-colonial struggles in Canada and around the world, were disappointed in Canada’s stance in the UN bid, stating that Canada’s decision was shameful.
Valerie Zink, a member of the Regina Solidarity Group, stated that countries like the U.S. and Canada, and the mainstream media in these countries, are strong allies of Israel, and have “strategic interests in the region.” Zink went on to say that often, “anyone who dares to challenge the official narrative that we’re hearing from the Canadian government or from mainstream media with respect to Palestine,” is often threatened.
Despite this, Zink says the solidarity movement towards recognising Palestinian rights is growing nationally, despite the Canadian government’s lack of support on the issue.
“Given the failure of the Canadian government and [their] failure on the world stage to have any public influence, I think it’s up to us to increase the pressure from a community level to a national level through grassroots organising through our campuses, in our workplaces, in our churches and mosques and synagogues and what have you.” – Valerie Zink
“Given the failure of the Canadian government and [their] failure on the world stage to have any public influence, I think it’s up to us to increase the pressure from a community level to a national level through grassroots organising through our campuses, in our workplaces, in our churches and mosques and synagogues and what have you,” she said. “And we’re seeing increases in number, in hundreds of thousands of people all over the world, becoming more and more involved in the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement.”
Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) is a global movement that was issued in 2005 by the Palestinian civil society, calling the international community to campaign against the Israeli government through BDS, until Israel obeys international law, and recognises the right of Palestinians in the region.
According to the BDS movement website, the goals of these campaigns are to end Israel’s “occupation and colonization of all Arab lands” that have been occupied since 1967, to ensure Palestinian citizens have the same rights as Israeli citizens and to protect the rights of Palestinian refugees and allow them to return to their homes.
In February of last year, the University of Regina’s Students’ Union passed a motion in support of the Palestinian civil society’s call for boycott, divestment and sanctions. Zink believes that this is a step in the right direction, and by continuing to support the BDS campaign, and strive to implement it on campus, Canadians can move towards the non-violent resistance and support of the Palestinian state.
Photo courtesy cbc.ca