Trending Topics:

International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People: An indigenous rights perspective

on 8 Comments

November 29 has been designated as a day for Annual Observance for the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People called for through the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 32/40B in 1977.

The General Assembly resolution calling for this day was as a result of an event three years prior; the famous speech of former and deceased revolutionary Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat given at the United Nations General Assembly on November 13, 1974 whereby he moved the international body-politic with him saying: “Today I come bearing an olive branch and a freedom fighter’s gun. Do not let the olive branch fall from my hand. I repeat. Do not let the olive branch fall from my hand.”

It is been over four decades and the world has continuously misunderstood the significance of this statement and the overall speech as he was discussing and demonstrating a much deeper phenomena. Although the world has understood the significance of the inalienable rights of Palestinians including their right to self-determination and thus the observance of this day, the world including Arafat have intentionally or unintentionally confined this understanding of sovereignty and self-determination to statehood, a Westphalian Eurocentric model that is problematic due to the culturally foreign understanding of sovereignty based on individual state rights and an institutionalized form of self-determination as opposed to a human rights understanding to sovereignty and self-determination based on collective rights and nationhood. Setting aside the death of the two state solution as a result of the continuous settlement expansion that has reconfigured and violated the territorial integrity of a defined territories, the platform for statehood is exclusive to the “1967 borders” meaning that Palestine and Palestinians of 1948 did not exist which is farcical.

If the world went back to read Arafat’s speech carefully they would understand that Arafat was instead calling for the respect for the indigeneity and indigenous rights of the Palestinians denied to them via the Nakba or the ethnic cleansing process that and continues to take place to this day as he stated the following:

“Palestine was then a verdant land, inhabited mainly by an Arab people in the course of building its life and dynamically enriching its indigenous culture. Their terrorism [The Zionists] fed on hatred and this hatred was even directed against the olive tree in my country, which has been a proud symbol and which reminded them of the indigenous inhabitants of the land, a living reminder that the land is Palestinian. Thus they sought to destroy it. How can one describe the statement of by Golda Meir which expressed disquiet about the Palestinian  born every day? They see in the Palestinian child, in the Palestinian tree, an enemy that should be exterminated. For tens of years Zionists have been harassing  our people’s cultural, political, social and artistic leaders, terrorizing them and assassinating them. They have stolen our cultural heritage, our popular folklore and have claimed it as theirs. Their terrorism even reached our sacred places in our beloved and peaceful Jerusalem. They have endeavored to de-Arabize it and make it lose its Muslim and Christian character by evicting its inhabitants and annexing it.”

The Palestinian Right of Return, the Olive Branch and Indigeneity

It is at this juncture that discussion of the sacredness of the right of return for Palestinians comes in. When the Palestinian right of return is discussed or advocated for it is not only guaranteed by International Law through the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 194 but also within the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous peoples, particularly Article 10. Indigenous peoples cannot be forcibly removed from their lands without their free, prior and informed consent and this is exactly what took place which violated the rights of the Palestinians. The Palestinians were subjected to plans for the implementation of a ready-made state for the Zionists to take over regardless of what the indigenous peoples of the land — the Palestinians — felt at the time. This was legitimized by the United Nations Partition Plan of 1947 which gave way to the execution of the Nakba or the ethnic cleansing of Palestine and the Palestinians; a process of incremental genocide that continues to this day.

Part of the implementation of the ethnic cleansing process included the Zionist exportation of European pines to replace the olive trees of the land as an attempt to annihilate the indigeneity and Palestinian cultural and territorial identity; reinforcing the Doctrine of Discovery that is imposed on indigenous peoples and their territories. Such a narrative articulates that the Zionists came to a land with no people for a people without a land and made a desert bloom. However, not only was it not a desert and had inhabitants already living there, it was and continues to be a fertile land with olive trees that date back thousands of years and lived through and are connected to generations and generations of Palestinian ancestry; with the said olive trees resurfacing today from the roots and ground up against the imposed European pines.

The Palestinians are and will do the same. They will and are resurfacing against and fighting to recover from the past and continued Zionist suffocation and attempted intergenerational memoricide packaged in the form of incremental genocide and an ethnic cleansing process known as Al Nakba. The Palestinians will do so through the preservation of their indigeneity, symbolically reinforced and reflected through the olive trees of the land in relation to the European pines.

Therefore, on this day and in solidarity with Palestinians and their indigeneity, it is important that understanding the significance of all of this brings us to the following coherence that Arafat was saying to the world in relation to this day and the olive branch. “Today I come bearing indigeneity and a freedom fighters gun. Do not let our indigeneity fall from my hand. I repeat. Do not let our indigeneity fall from my hand.” This is what Palestinians have been fighting and resisting; the Zionists theft and attempt to wipe out the indigeneity of Palestine and the Palestinians.

Ahmad Moussa

Ahmad Moussa is a freelance writer and contributor to Al Jazeera English, Middle East Eye and Counterpunch. He is an international human rights activist, scholar and consultant with a Master of Arts in International Law and Human Rights.

Other posts by .

Posted In:

8 Responses

  1. on November 29, 2015, 10:54 pm

    Indigenous people everywhere are in solidarity with Palestine, and are rising up against colonial supremacism that has blighted their land for over 500 years. From America to Brazil to Israel, the colonialists will fall. European Americans need to realize their role in this paradigm shift, and start claiming back their roots and identity from the white supremacists using them to exploit and oppress others in the US and globally, like what the Zio-supremacists are doing in Israel. Jewish people with strong ties to their religion, heritage and ancestry have long rejected Zionism and fight against its attempts to use them as a means to power. It’s time for European Americans to do the same, and jump over to the right side of history.

    • can of worms on November 30, 2015, 2:10 am

      When is it time to stop this interminable, unreadable sabotage?

      A4tech already disclosed explicitly that the endgame is that: “you are free to criticize anyone… Just don’t… .channel your criticism exclusively towards Israel”
      Ok got the message, no need to pollute additional conversations in the guise of ‘anti-Zionism’.

      • on November 30, 2015, 9:10 am

        There is no point treating symptoms without also diagnosing and treating the root cause. You, from the seat you choose to sit in, only see Israel as the issue, when it is just another branch of the supremacist tree. The roots of the tree is in America, and its brances grow much further than just Israel. But you keep on doing you, not much sense expecting a blind person to draw conclusions.

      • MHughes976 on November 30, 2015, 3:05 pm

        I know how you feel, can, though I do – having heard some one-sided arguments here and there in all their exaggeration and self-righteousness – thank the Lord (perhaps it should be Phil Weiss) for the openness of Mondoweiss to many points of view in its comments, though I let myself off reading some of them – and some are unreadable jargon, as you say.
        By ‘Zionism’ I mean the belief that people who are Jewish – and they only – have an inherent right, commonly called birthright, to a share in sovereignty over the Holy Land, others having that share only by the grace and generosity of the true heirs’. I consider this proposition to be false, to have been enforced with the utmost cruelty, and yet to be in effect defended on every hand in the Western milieu where I live. Therefore I think opposing it important, though I understand that others may choose other important arguments in which to involve themselves – we can’t all do everything.
        If other people use ‘Zionism’ in other senses I’m happy to work with them. Of couse it may be that they may define Z in such a way that I agreed with Z under that definition. It is under my definition that I disagree with it.
        I do not sympathise with the Palestinians because they are indigenous but because they are human beings suffering intense injustice. They are not alone in that, God knows, though their situation, subjection to a sovereign power that disfranchises them, daily humiliation and steady conquest (not really occupation) of the land on which they sit has few parallels and none, I think, where the situation is so awful yet so widely and shamelessly defended by means of an ideology which has no shred of good reason in it.
        People tell me that Zionism is merely an effect and that we should address the cause, as if (say) there would be no reason to insist that I pay off a particular debt if my extravagant temperament were not cured first. Making me pay would help to curb my extravagance: you can get at causes through their effects. If the Zionist experiment were replaced by something fair to people of all races and religions that would go a long way towards correcting some of the excesses in the politics of the West, well known to us on MW, which are a big part of the cause of the excesses in the Holy Land and elsewhere.

      • Mooser on December 6, 2015, 3:51 pm

        “But you keep on doing you, not much sense expecting a blind person to draw conclusions.”

        And, what, pray tell, conclusion are we to draw from this:

        “Hitler opposed slavery, imperialism and neocolonialism that a vast majority of readers here directly or indirectly benefitted from.” “a4tech” – See more at:

        Perhaps I’m blind, but I’d like to know what on earth you meant by that. I’d rather not use my own interpretation, if it’s incorrect.

  2. MaxNarr on December 6, 2015, 3:02 pm

    […] Jews are the natives of Judea and Hebron.

    • RoHa on December 6, 2015, 6:21 pm

      They are if they are born there. That is what “native” means. Those who weren’t born there aren’t natives of the place.

    • talknic on December 6, 2015, 6:46 pm

      @ MaxNarr “Jews are the natives of Judea and Hebron”

      Correction: Amongst some indigenous Muslims/Christians/atheists/etc some Jews were natives of Hebron and what was once called Judea

Leave a Reply