A letter from Samia Khoury
Dear Family and friends:
November 29 is the day that the UN has designated for the Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people This date is actually the commemoration of the UN resolution 181 on November 29, 1947 to partition Palestine. A resolution that ended up with the establishment of the state of Israel and the creation of the Palestinian Nakba which saw the exodus of around 750,000 Palestinians ending up as refugees in Jordan, East Bank, and West Bank, Syria, Lebanon, the Gaza Strip, Egypt, and the diaspora, and who were never allowed to return home in accordance with the UN general assembly resolution 194 adopted on December 11, 1948.
After the Israeli occupation of the rest of the Palestinian territory in the wake of the June 5, 1967 war, UN security council 242 which emphasized the “inadmissability of the acquisition of territory by war” was adopted unanimously on November 22, 1967. And with the establishment of the Palestinian National Authority in the wake of the Oslo Accords and the peace process, the UN general assembly voted overwhelmingly on November 29, 2012 to accord Palestine a non-member observer status. And in a special ceremony on September 11, 2015 the Palestinian flag was raised at the UN building in New York.
On November 15, 1988 the Palestine National Council in its meeting in Algiers adopted a resolution to establish the Palestinian State on the 1967 borders, and November 15 was declared officially as the day of Palestinian independence.
Ironically we have a so-called state whose borders, and 61% of its area, are not under our control. We have a flag which is raised in New York, but cannot be raised in East Jerusalem. And of course we take a day off on November 15 celebrating our independence while we are still under a brutal occupation. After sixty seven years of dispossession, and 48 years of Israeli military occupation, all that the UN was able to grant the Palestinians were symbolic gestures. In the meantime it has failed to sanction Israel for not implementing UN resolutions, for its violations of human rights and international law, and it has turned a blind eye to the new realities that Israel created in the occupied territory with the building of Jewish settlements. Of course the power of veto that the US has used all along, played a substantial role in supporting the impunity of Israel.
So to our friends who are standing in solidarity with our people on November 29, we want to thank you and express our appreciation for all your support along the years, and especially for those who have taken courageous measures to support the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement. We urge you to demand protection for the Palestinian people and especially those children who have reached the limit of their endurance and were bound to rise up to resist the violence of occupation.
About Samia Khoury
Samia Nasir Khoury retired in 2003 after serving for 17 years as president of Rawdat El-Zuhur, a coeducational elementary school for the lower income community in East Jerusalem. She continues to serve as treasurer of the board of the Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center in East Jerusalem and on the board of trustees of Birzeit University in Birzeit, Palestine.
Samia was born in Jaffa, Palestine on November 24, 1933. She graduated from Birzeit College in 1950, and was awarded a BBA degree from Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas, in 1954. Samia then returned to Birzeit, and worked from 1954-1960 at her former school as executive secretary, registrar and director of women students’ activities. Birzeit, which was founded by her aunt Nabiha Nasir in 1924, would eventually develop into the first university in Palestine. In 1960 she married Yousef Khoury, an engineer. After 44 years of marriage and the blessings of two children and six grandchildren, Yousef passed away in early 2004 in their beloved home of Jerusalem.
Samia was deeply involved with the YWCA, including serving as the national president of the YWCA of Jordan for two terms (as the Palestinian West Bank had been annexed to Jordan in 1950). When Jordan severed its ties with the West Bank in 1988, the YWCA of Palestine was reestablished, and she was its first president from 1991-96. Her breadth of international experience has also included addressing two UN NGO Forums: in New York in 1996, and in Athens in 2000.
Samia writes about justice, truth, and peace for the Palestinian people, the relationships between people and the land, the context of Christian-Jewish-Muslim relationships in the Holy Land, concerns for children in conflict, and gender issues.