This day was established way back in 1977 when the UN declared that Israel's occupation of Arab territories was illegal and that peace could only come about in the region if Israel withdrew from these places. No such withdrawal has taken place.
In 2018, Maria Fernanda Espinosa (the President of the General Assembly of the UN) reported that:
- 43% of the Palestinian population were refugees - and half of them were below the age of 18
- 47% of the population of the Gaza strip were living with food insecurity
- the average water consumption of the Palestinian populations in Gaza was 66 litres per day - well below the recommended ration of 100 litres per day.
The Secretary General of the UN, Antonio Guterres, said on this day in 2018:
"Today, in particular, our hearts are heavy with the suffering of the people in Gaza.
Approximately two million Palestinians remain blocked in increasing poverty and unemployment, with limited access to adequate health, education, water and electricity.
Young people see little prospect of a better future.
I urge Israel to lift restrictions on the movement of people and goods, which also hamper the efforts of the United Nations and other humanitarian agencies, without jeopardizing legitimate security concerns.
I call on Hamas and other militant groups to halt their military build-up in Gaza, including the indiscriminate launching of rockets and incendiary devices directed at Israel. "
There seems to be little progress and, all the while, people suffer!
A PRAYER FOR TODAY
O Lord, You are the peace and peace emanates from You.
O God of Glory and Majesty grant us security and safety,
and alleviate the suffering of your people.
O Lord, bring comprehensive and just peace to our country and region
so that our people and the peoples of the Middle East and the whole world
would enjoy the fruit of peace, stability and coexistence.
We want peace for us and for our neighbours.
We seek prosperity and peace of mind for ourselves and for others alike.
O Lord, answer our prayers and make successful our endeavors
for you are most just, most merciful, Lord of the Worlds.
This prayer was offered by the Muslim President Abbas of Palestine in Rome when he met Pope Francis and Shimon Peres, the Israeli President in June 2014.
International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People