Mahmoud Abbas (Yuri Kochetkov/Pool via AP, File; AP/HO) (Yuri Kochetkov/Pool via AP, File; AP/HO)
Mahmoud Abbas


PA Chairman Abbas speaks for nearly an hour, repeating a litany of Palestinian accusations about Israel’s founding.

By Andrew Bernard, The Algemeiner

The United Nations on Monday hosted Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for an event commemorating the 75th anniversary of the “Nakba” — the Arabic word meaning “catastrophe” that is used by many Palestinians to describe the founding of the State of Israel in May 1948.

Speaking for nearly an hour, Abbas repeated a litany of Palestinian accusations about Israel’s founding and the conflict between Jews and Palestinians going back to the 1917 Balfour Declaration.

“Britain and the United States specifically bear political and ethical responsibility directly for the Nakba of the Palestinian people because they took part in rendering our people victims when they decided to establish and implant another entity in our historic homeland for their own colonial goals and objectives,” Abbas said. “And Israel would not have continued its hostility and aggression without the support it receives from these two countries.”

Abbas also said that the Palestinian Authority would be bringing “thousands and thousands” of complaints to the International Criminal Court, a move that the Palestinians had agreed not to do until August as part of a commitment by both the Israelis and the Palestinians to avoid “unilateral measures” during February’s peace summit in Aqaba, Jordan.

Abbas’s speech was greeted with cheers of “Free, free Palestine” and “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” a slogan used by pro-Palestinian activists and by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and Hamas in calling for Israel’s destruction.

Other speakers on Monday included UN Under-Secretary-General Rosemary DiCarlo, UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini, and Columbia University Professor Nyle Fort, who compared the life of Palestinians in the West Bank to incarcerated African Americans.

“Ferguson opened my eyes to the ugliness of American racism,” Fort said. “Palestine made me weep over the brutality of American empire.”

Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan, on Sunday sent a letter to UN member states urging them not to attend Monday’s event, saying that the UN hosting a ceremony marking the establishment of one of its own member states as a ‘catastrophe’ was “appalling and repulsive.”

“The Palestinians will hold a shameful event here commemorating the establishment of Israel as the ‘catastrophe’, the ‘Nakba’” Erdan said in a video message accompanying the letter. “Instead of commemorating the real Nakba, the expulsion of almost a million Jews from Arab countries following the establishment of Israel, this biased organization is distorting its own history. I’m working to ensure that member states understand that attending this despicable event means destroying any chance of peace….”

The Israeli Mission to the UN on Monday confirmed to The Algemeiner that Israel and 44 other countries refused to attend the event. Those not in attendance included the United States, the UK, and Ukraine.