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8 Nov, 2014

ASEAN travel industry invited to event marking solidarity with Palestinian people at UNHQ in Bangkok

Bangkok – Travel industry personnel and executives from around the ASEAN region are invited to attend a special event being organised at the United Nations regional headquarters in Bangkok to mark the UN International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people on Tuesday 25th November 2014.  To be held between 9 am – 12 noon, the event will focus on the Royal Thai Government’s recognition of Palestine as a State; the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Campaign; and the Jewish National Fund (JNF). The UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia-Pacific is located at Rajdamnern Nok Avenue, Bangkok 10200.

The following is the programme for the day:

09.00 Welcoming Remarks.

09.10 Statement from UN Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon. Read by a representative of UN ESCAP.

09.20 Screening of the documentary Gazonto. In this compelling new video, Canadian filmmaker John Greyson reimagines Israel’s massive bombardment of the besieged Gaza Strip as if it were an attack on his home city Toronto. Greyson imagines specific attacks on Palestinian homes, schools, mosques, hospitals and other institutions that Israel perpetrated since 7 July as if they had occurred on real-life Toronto sites. Gazonto asks viewers a simple question: what would happen to Toronto, or to your city, if, like Gaza, six thousand places had been heavily bombed in just a few weeks?

09.30 Dr. Amara Pongsapich, the Chairperson of the National Human Rights Committee of Thailand.

09.40 General Ekachai Srivilas, Director of the Office of Peace and Governance, King Prajadhipok’s Institute.

09.50 Performance(s) by Palestinian Musician(s)/Singer(s). Recital of his poems on Palestine by Mr. Zakariya Amataya, South-East Asia Write Award Winner 2010, and read in English by Mr. Marut Mekloy.

10.00 Message from the Prime Minister of Thailand, Prayut Chan-o-cha.

10.10 Keynote Speaker: Kasit Piromya, Former Minister of Foreign Affairs who took the initiative to recognise Palestine when a member of the Thai government of Abhisit Vejjajiva.

10.20 Statement from the Government of the Republic of South Africa. Read by a representative of the Embassy of the Republic of South Africa.

10.30 Coffee Break, with performance(s) by Palestinian musician(s)/singer(s).

10.40 Screening of the documentary Village Under The Forest. This film explores, amongst other things, the role of the controversial Israeli parastatal, the Jewish National Fund (JNF), in building a forest (the “South Africa Forest”) over the Palestinian village of Lubya, destroyed by Israeli forces in 1948, during the Palestinian “Nakba”. The JNF is celebrated by Israel and its supporters for its forest building work, however, the JNF is also criticized by human rights activists for its involvement in the Israeli oppression and “ethnic-cleansing” against the indigenous Palestinian people, and specifically the construction of forests above Israeli-destroyed Palestinian villages in an attempt to erase all traces of Palestinian life. Village Under the Forest, while explosive in content, is at its heart, a moving and human story.

It is directed by the Emmy-award winning South African filmmaker, Mark Kaplan and is written and narrated by Cape Town based Jewish scholar and author Heidi Grunebaum. Grunebaum had visited the “South Africa Forest” in Israel in the mid-1980s but when she discovered the ruined Palestinian village of Lubya beneath South Africa Forest, she says, “it felt like the rug being pulled out from under my feet. I knew I’d been there before, but I’d had absolutely no understanding or ability to imagine then that my trees were erasing the presence of [the Palestinian] people who had lived there and been forcibly removed [by Israel]…the quiet violence of using trees to hide something felt like a deception.”

11.50 Phone-in with Mr. Khalid Turaani, Advocate for Palestinian Rights, on the Jewish National Fund (JNF).

12 noon Closing Remarks.

Organizer: Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) Thailand with the support of The Council of Muslim Organizations in Thailand (CMOT).

Contact: palestinesolidaritythailand@gmail.com www.palestinethailand.org. Facebook: Psc Thailand; Twitter: @PSCThailand; YouTube: PSCThailand

The PSC Thailand exists to create awareness in Thailand of the injustices being constantly inflicted on the Palestinians since the imposition of Israel more than sixty years ago and to solicit support for them in their struggle for their human rights, their human dignity and the creation of a viable, independent, sovereign and contiguous state of Palestine.