NEW YORK – UN General Assembly president Peter Thomson was criticized Tuesday for wearing a Palestinian flag scarf on the occasion of International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People at the UN.
Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon reacted shortly after Thomson was seen with the scarf, saying he is “supposed to stand for diplomatic neutrality.” “It is unfortunate that [Thomson] chose to wrap himself in the Palestinian flag at an event whose sole purpose is to spread lies and deceit about Israel,” he said. “This is proof of the bias against Israel and the slander spread about us on a daily basis at the UN.”
When asked by The Jerusalem Post about Thomson’s choice to wear the scarf, Thomson’s office said he did so simply to “support the day,” as it is an official event marked by the United Nations. The word “Palestine” was also printed on the scarf.
The International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People is observed November 29, the date of the General Assembly vote on Resolution 181 in 1947, recommending the creation of independent Arab and Jewish states in Mandatory Palestine.
The day started with a meeting of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, which included dozens of representatives of the UN and of UN member states. The Palestinian mission to the UN also hosted the exhibit “Palestinian Embroidery: Threads of Continuity, Identity and Empowerment” and envoys participated in the annual General Assembly debate on “the Question of Palestine.”
The event has also been used as an annual occasion for the Palestinian representatives to pass anti-Israel resolutions.
During his speech to the General Assembly, Danon said the real goal of the Palestinian Authority is to “continue to exist as a corrupt entity living off the goodwill of the international community without the responsibilities of governing. Do the Palestinians even want a state? History tells us that the answer is no.”
If the Palestinians really wanted peace, there could have been peace decades ago, he said.
“The Palestinians reject every Israeli offer and every plan and respond with waves of violence and terrorism,” Danon said.
Regarding the Palestinians’ constant push to achieve a state through Security Council resolutions instead of direct negotiations with Israel, Danon accused the PA of “paying lip service to these initiatives because it pays well.”
“It is time to put an end to this lie, once and for all,” Danon told the assembly. “If you really want to show solidarity with the Palestinian people then end this charade, and demand that the Palestinian leaders finally return to the negotiating table.”
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who is finishing his term at the international body at the end of December, called the Israeli-Palestinian conflict a longstanding, gaping wound that has fed tension and conflict throughout the Middle East.
“Israeli and Palestinian leaders still voice their support for the two-state solution. However, without urgent steps to revive a political perspective, they risk entrenching a onestate reality,” he said. “All this has led to growing anger and frustration among Palestinians and profound disillusionment among Israelis.”
Ban also called on the international community to make clear it remains committed to “helping the parties to rebuild trust and create the conditions for meaningful negotiations.”
He explained that this is particularly important with “the Israeli occupation approaching its 50th year, and the prospects for a twostate solution threatening to slip out of reach.”
“On this International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people, let us all reaffirm our commitment to upholding the rights of the Palestinian people and working to build a future of peace, justice, security and dignity for Palestinians and Israelis alike.”