Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday called on the United Nations to designate May 15 as an annual day to commemorate Israel’s founding as a “catastrophe,” according to The Times of Israel.
The U.N. hosted the first-ever event commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba, or “catastrophe,” the day Palestinians claim that the founding of Israel resulted in the mass expulsion of their people, and invited Abbas to headline the Monday event, according to the U.N.’s website. Abbas called on the U.N. to turn the event into an annual memorial to commemorate the “more than 50 massacres,” and displacement of 975,000 Palestinian refugees allegedly caused by Israel in 1948, according to The Times of Israel.
Abbas further accused Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of trying to instigate a “new Nakba” against Palestinians, according to The Times of Israel.
“[Israeli ministers Itamar] Ben Gvir and [Bezalel] Smotrich are calling for the expelling of Palestinians out of their homes and demolishing their homes and displacing them, which the Israeli government itself is doing led by who,” Abbas said. “It is led by [Benjamin] Netanyahu. Netanyahu and other and even worse people, Smotrich and Ben Gvir, this is what they’re calling for. Some people are calling for massacring Palestinians and this is what happened in Huwara.”
Abbas blamed the U.S. and the United Kingdom for the Nakba, saying they “wanted to get rid of their Jews and benefit from their presence in Palestine,” according to The Times of Israel. The Palestinian president also conflated Israel with Nazi Germany during his speech on Monday.
Abbas referred to the Nazis’ chief propagandist Joseph Goebbels when discussing Israel’s claim that the Jewish state “made the desert bloom,” according to The Times of Israel. He argued that Israel lies “like Goebbels” and that Palestine “was never a desert.”
Monday’s event was the “first time in the history of the UN” that the Nakba was commemorated by the organization, according to their website. The U.N. passed a resolution through the General Assembly in November 2022, mandating that the 75th anniversary be recognized by the U.N.
In addition to Abbas’ speech in the morning, the U.N. is also hosting an evening event Monday to create “an immersive experience of the Nakba through live music, photos, videos, and personal testimonies,” according to the event page. Israel’s U.N. ambassador Gilad Erdan warned countries against supporting the U.N.’s event on Sunday in a letter, and U.S. and U.K. officials will not be in attendance, according to The Jerusalem Post.
The United Nations under-secretary-general for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, Rosemary DiCarlo, said, “the occupation must end. On this occasion, we reaffirm the UN commitment to supporting the Palestinian people achieve their inalienable rights and self-determination, as well as to advancing a just, comprehensive and lasting peace in the region.”
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