“Today is the United Nations’ international day for solidarity with the Palestinian people.”

Date: 29 November 2011

I left East Jerusalem and the West Bank just a few days ago and now I sit in Durban, South Africa, the city of COP 17, and write a message to our Palestinian friends all over the West Bank and Gaza.

We are extremely proud of the high quality services you deliver to help making life better for your people in a very difficult situation.

You are running rehabilitation programmes for traumatized children and youth. You are empowering women in rural areas and in the cities. You are planting olive trees – 69 000 to try to compensate for the 1 000 000 olive trees having been uprooted and destroyed, and you are drilling wells, building dams and transporting water in trucks and tractors to enable bedouins and farmers and their families to continue to live where they feel the belong.
You have given vocational training to almost 6000 young people.

We are proud of our YMCAs in Gaza and the West Bank and in East Jerusalem and we stand together with you working and praying for justice, self determination, freedom and dignity for the Palestinian people.

Johan Vilhelm Eltvik
Secretary General – World Alliance of YMCAs