Forty-five years ago, the United Nations General Assembly deemed November 29 as the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. The chosen date was no accident; it came thirty years to the day after the original plan to partition Palestine was adopted by the same United Nations body in 1947. The day is meant to allow time and energy for the international community to show solidarity with Palestinians, acknowledging that their historical trauma is ongoing with no just resolution in sight.
Along with decades of dispossession, violence, and de-development, however, Palestinians increasingly face an international community that, on the state level, appears uninterested in meaningfully addressing their plight. By contrast, however, the enduring grassroots solidarity around issues of Palestinian liberation from around the world remains a significant indicator of global support for what Palestinian scholar Edward Said called “a just cause, a noble ideal, a moral quest for equality and human rights.” This solidarity has come in many forms, crossing geographies, and providing a sustaining force in the slow march to justice for Palestinians. In addition to generating direct support to Palestinians themselves, solidarity efforts help to de-exceptionalize the Palestinian struggle, situating it firmly within broader contexts of oppression, racism, settler colonialism, and dispossession.
Health and well-being more generally, are highly affected by the political and social context of the individual and the population in question. For decades, there have been efforts to monitor and document the many threats to Palestinian health posed by both oppressive Israeli structures and the ineffectiveness of Palestinian governance. Such efforts have been led by human rights advocates, scholars and practitioners across disciplines, both inside and outside of Palestine, generating a body of evidence that offers a relatively holistic view of Palestinian health and the many determinants involved in health practice and outcomes.
Building on the work of these experts, the Palestine Program for Health and Human Rights (PPHHR) was established as a partnership program between the FXB Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard University and the Institute for Community and Public Health at Birzeit University. Through knowledge production, education, and community engagement, the PPHHR serves as an academic hub committed to developing new approaches to understanding the health of Palestinians through historical, political, and social science lenses. The program builds upon widely used frameworks in health and human rights to link drivers of Palestinian health to those of similarly impacted populations around the world, and contributes to the international network of institutions, organizations, and individuals engaged in elucidating the structural determinants of health.
On this international day of solidarity with Palestinian People, the PPHHR invites you to follow our ongoing projects and stay informed about upcoming webinars and scholarly opportunities: https://fxb.harvard.edu/racial-justice/palestine-program/.
— Leadership Collective of the FXB Center Palestine Program for Health and Human Rights