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The Embassy of the State of Palestine in the Republic of Bulgaria, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Organization of the United Nations organized a celebration of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People (29 November)

with a solemn evening and a concert at Lumiere Cinema at the National Palace of Culture on December 5. The event was honored by dozens of ambassadors, officials, Palestinians and their friends.

Speeches were delivered by H. E. Dr. Ahmed Al Madbuh, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the State of Palestine to the Republic of Bulgaria, Mr. Mathijs le Rutte, Representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Bulgaria and Mr. Kostadin Kodzhabashev, Director General of the Bilateral Relations General Directorate at the MFA. They addressed aspects of the Palestinian issue in historical and contemporary terms, the situation of the Palestinian people today, the millions of refugees around the world, the bilateral relations between Bulgaria and Palestine.

We offer you the full text of the speech of the Palestinian Ambassador H.E. Dr. Ahmed Al Madhuh:

"Seventy years ago, on the 29th of November 1947, the General Assembly adopted resolution 181(II), unjustly deciding to partition Palestine, without the consent of its people, against their will and in blatant disregard of their right to self-determination. A few months later, Israel forcibly uprooted two-thirds of the Palestinian people from their land and destroyed  over 400 towns and villages, violently clearing the way  for  its  forced  acquisition  of more than three-quarters of Palestine's territory, far beyond what was allotted to it the partition plan. Then, in 1967, fifty years ago, Israel occupied what remained of Palestine's territory, constituting  22% of historical Palestine, comprising the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip.

While Israel was established in 1948 and was received into the United Nations soon thereafter - even while the Palestinian people were tragically enduring their Nakba and even though the Palestine question remained unresolved - seventy years later, the Palestinian people are still awaiting their long-overdue freedom and independence and their rightful place among the community of nations.

On this occasion, each year, we honor the resilience of the Palestinian people and honor the global solidarity with our just cause, one of the greatest solidarity movements in recent times. This solidarity is grounded in the core principles of justice, freedom, equal rights and dignity enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations, international law and the constant, shared goal of peace.

The Palestinian people have stood side by side with and supported many nations in their struggle for freedom and independence. We are honored that these countries and their peoples stand by the Palestinian people today. We recall on this day the words of the heroic Nelson Mandela, who, reflecting upon the indivisibility of freedom, stated: "Our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinian people".

We have never stopped seeking our freedom through all peaceful, political, diplomatic, legal means possible. Twenty-four years have passed since the signing of the Oslo Accords, interim agreements that were supposed to lead within 5 years to the independence of the State of Palestine and a peace treaty resolving all final status issues.

Only ending Israeli impunity can pave the way to peace. Individual and collective action is vital for deterring further violations, securing justice for generations of Palestinian victims and saving future generations from oppression, subjugation and forced exile, allowing them to fulfill the promise of their own existence, of their self-determination. Only such action can open a new chapter wherein genuine and lasting Palestinian-Israeli peace will be possible.

Peace is the most noble of  purposes, and we continue striving for its achievement. We have adopted, together with Arab and OIC Member States, the Arab Peace Initiative, stipulating that once Israel ends its occupation and withdraws from the Palestinian and other Arab territories it has occupied in 1967, there will be in exchange a recognition of and normalization of relations between all the States of the region and Israel.

Moreover, we have supported all other peace initiatives, including the French initiative to salvage the two-State solution and advance peace, which led to the convening of the Paris Conference, as well as the initiative of Russian President, the initiative of the Chinese President and the efforts of United States President in the hopes that such efforts would lead to a historic peace deal in fulfilment of the two-State solution on the basis of the pre-1967 borders with Palestine and Israel living side by side in peace and security and good neighborly relations. However, Israeli leaders have duplicitously and deliberately undermined all peace efforts, preferring instead to declare and pursue their absolute commitment to colonialism of our land and dehumanization of our people to the detriment of peace.

We are fully committed to international law and legitimacy and to the two­ State solution on pre-1967 borders, and we remain ready to give every chance to regional and international efforts, based on the longstanding terms of reference, to achieve a just peace. But if the efforts for such a solution fail, the Palestinian people will neither disappear, nor will they accept subjugation and oppression as their future. Our people will continue their legitimate struggle to fulfill their inalienable rights, and will be entitled to strive for equal rights for all in historic Palestine, without discrimination. We reiterate, on this occasion, that our struggle was never directed against Judaism as a religion, as we respect all faiths, but against the colonial occupation of our land and people and denial of our inalienable human rights, including our right to self-determination .

On this centennial of the ignoble Balfour Declaration; on this seventieth anniversary of resolution 181; on the eve of seventy years of the Nakba, as millions of Palestine refugees continue to suffer in exile, awaiting a just solution for their plight in accordance with resolution 194; and after the passage of more than fifty years of the foreign occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip, we appeal once again for international protection of our people, for the enforcement of UN resolutions, and for the adoption of measures by all States in compliance with their international obligations to help usher an end to Israel's colonization and occupation of our land.

Respect for international law is the cornerstone for achieving peace. But, neither that respect, nor the goal of peace can be achieved by statements alone; words and commitments must be matched by action to implement the law. On this day of International Solidarity with the Palestinian People, we stress that this is a matter of urgency and urge that no effort be spared, and remain grateful to all those who firmly and nobly stand for international law and the achievement of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and peace.

We await the day when we may together celebrate the freedom of our people in the independent State of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital, and welcome you all in a Jerusalem reconciled with its original name, the City of Peace.

Finally I would like to express my deepest gratitude to the Bulgarian institutions, Presidency, Government, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Political Parties and Non-governmental organizations, for the continuous support that they provide in Bulgaria and in the international arena."

 After the speeches all present enjoyed the wonderful performances of the National Folk Arts Ensemble from the city of Ramallah. 

The photos are provided by the Embassy of the State of Palestine in the Republic of Bulgaria.