Speaking at the first official United Nations' commemoration of “Nakba Day” – when Palestinians commemorate the “catastrophe” of the creation of the State of Israel, as they view it – Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas called on the body to remove Israel as a member and compared the Jewish state to the Nazis.
“The decision to mark the anniversary of the Nakba, after years of ignoring the event, signifies international recognition of the tragedy and contradicts the Zionist narrative that denies the Nakba,” Abbas claimed in his speech.
Abbas said the UN should force Israel to accept the establishment of a Palestinian state and the “right of return” for Palestinian refugees, or face suspension from the international body.
Abbas specifically called on the UN to force Israel to adopt Resolution 181 in 1947, which calls for the establishment of an Arab state “for the Palestinian people.”
Jewish leadership did, however, vote in favor of the UN Partition Plan for Palestine that same year. Arab states, the Arab League and local Arab leadership rejected the resolution, not willing to accept a Jewish state. Those Arab states then launched a war against the newly-declared Jewish nation in 1948, which became known as the War of Independence following Israel's victory.
Abbas denied any historical link between the Jewish people and the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, alleging that Israel “dug everywhere, and they could not find anything.”
He repeated the Islamic Waqf claim that the entire site, including the Western Wall, belongs to Muslims.
“Ownership of al-Buraq Wall [the Western Wall] and al-Haram al-Sharif [Temple Mount] belongs exclusively and only to the Islamic Waqf alone,” Abbas said, saying that the League of Nations reportedly supported his claim.
Abbas accused Israel of lying about “making the desert bloom.”
“The Israelis and Zionists continue their false claims that Israel made the desert bloom,” he said. “Palestine was a desert, and they made it blossom, a paradise.”
He said this was Israeli propaganda equivalent to the Nazi leader Joseph Goebbels.
“They can’t but lie. But what can we do? They lie and lie just like Goebbels. They lie, lie and lie until people believe,” he stated.
Abbas did not just criticize Israel, though. He also accused the U.S. and UK of establishing Israel for “their own colonial goals and objectives.”
He said the two countries wanted to get rid of their Jewish populations.
“These countries wanted to get rid of the Jews and benefit from their presence in Palestine,” Abbas claimed.
Putting blame on the UK in particular, he stated, “Britain gave Palestine as a gift to Israel. Why Palestine? Give them another island somewhere else.”
Abbas further noted that a precondition for peace is Israel's return to the pre-1967 borders, while also allowing Palestinian “refugees” to return “to their towns and villages of which they were displaced.”
Nakba commemorations began in 1949 as a day to remember Arabs who were killed in Israel’s War for Independence, according to author Tamir Sorek. According to him, the events were organized by student and worker groups, often with Marxist associations, and the Muslim Brotherhood. Speakers at the early gatherings accused the Arab League and Arab governments of failing to “save Palestine.”
Years later, in 1998, PLO leader Yasser Arafat declared May 15 an official Palestinian commemoration of the displacement of the Palestinian people from the land.
Last November, the UN General Assembly voted to hold a commemorative event recognizing “Nakba Day” on May 15. At the time, Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan, blasted the decision, asking: “What would you say if the international community celebrated the establishment of your country as a disaster?”
Several nations refused to attend the “Nakba Day” commemoration at the UN yesterday after Israel called for a boycott of the event, including the U.S., Canada, Britain, Ukraine, Austria, Czechia, Greece, Hungary, Uruguay, Georgia, South Sudan and Micronesia.
Speaking about the event, Israel’s Foreign Minister Eli Cohen said, “We will fight the ‘Nakba’ lie with all our might and will not allow the Palestinians to continue spreading lies and distorting history.”
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.