Palestinians mark 75th anniversary of Nakba, call for Israel’s suspension from UN

For the first time, the United Nations marked Nakba and the forced displacement of tens of thousands of Palestinians during the founding of Israel in 1948. However, the US, Canada, and some EU countries chose not to participate on Israel’s request

May 16, 2023 by Peoples Dispatch
UN commemorates Nakba
(Photo: Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs/Twitter)

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas asked for the suspension of Israel’s membership from the United Nations as it had failed to implement even one of the hundreds of resolutions adopted by different UN bodies since 1948 asking it to protect Palestinians rights and end its occupation. 

Abbas was speaking during the first official UN commemoration of Nakba on Monday, May 15, at its headquarters in New York. 

Abbas asserted, “We demand today officially, in accordance with international law and international resolutions, to make sure that Israel respects these resolutions or suspend Israel’s membership of the UN.”

The event was organized as per a resolution passed by the UN General Assembly in November last year. 

Anywhere between 700,000 and 800,000 Palestinians were forced to leave their lands, homes, villages, and towns in historic Palestine by the Zionist forces during the months leading up to the creation of Israel on May 14, 1948. More than 500 Palestinian villages and towns were destroyed during those months by Israeli forces. 

Considered as large-scale ‘ethnic cleansing’ of Palestinians to create a Jewish majority in the historic Palestine, Nakba (great catastrophe in Arabic) also created one of world’s largest refugee populations, which is currently living all across the world but mostly in the occupied Palestinian territories of Gaza, West Bank, and East Jerusalem and in neighboring Arab countries such as Lebanon, Jordan and Syria. 

Responsibility of colonial powers 

Abbas asserted that since colonial powers such as the US and Britain were “directly responsible” politically and morally for Nakba, they have a historical responsibility to bring the suffering of Palestinians to an end, Palestinian news agency Wafa reported.  

Historic Palestine was a colonial mandate of Britain before it abruptly announced its termination in May 1948. Both the US and Britain backed the Zionist forces during the long years of mandate administration and failed to intervene during the Zionist forces’ ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.   

Abbas also asked Israel to end its occupation and apologize and pay compensation to Palestinians for the destruction it caused during Nakba.

Speaking during the event, the UN Under-Secretary General for Political Affairs and Peacebuilding Rosemary DiCarlo repeated the UN position on the issue which states that Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories is illegal under international law and must end. 

Israel termed the event “despicable.” A large number of countries, including the US, Canada, Ukraine, and some members of the European Union, did not attend the meeting as per the requests made by Israel. The country’s Foreign Minister Eli Cohen reiterated its position that Nakba was a lie. 

Abbas noted that the UN decision to commemorate Nakba is a recognition of the historical injustices against Palestinians and a refutation of Zionism’s myths regarding the establishment of Israel. 

Meanwhile, Palestinians across the occupied territories and human rights and civil society movements across the world took out marches and organized events to commemorate the day. Thousands of Palestinians in Ramallah in the occupied West Bank took out a march on the occasion.