UNITED STATES NEWS

UN to commemorate Palestinians’ 1948 flight from Israel for the first time

May 14, 2023, 9:15 PM

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — For the first time, the United Nations will officially commemorate the flight of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from what is now Israel on the 75th anniversary of their exodus — an action stemming from the U.N.’s partition of British-ruled Palestine into separate Jewish and Arab states.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is headlining Monday’s U.N. commemoration of what Palestinians call the “Nakba” or “catastrophe.”

Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian U.N. ambassador, called the U.N. observance “historic” and significant because the General Assembly played a key role in the partition of Palestine.

“It’s acknowledging the responsibility of the U.N. of not being able to resolve this catastrophe for the Palestinian people for 75 years,” Mansour told a group of U.N. reporters recently.

He said “the catastrophe to the Palestinian people is still ongoing:” The Palestinians still don’t have an independent state, and they don’t have the right to return to their homes as called for in a General Assembly resolution adopted in December 1948.

Israel’s U.N. ambassador, Gilad Erdan, condemned the commemoration, calling it an “abominable event” and a “blatant attempt to distort history.” He said those who attend will be condoning antisemitism and giving a green light to Palestinians “to continue exploiting international organs to promote their libelous narrative.”

The General Assembly, which had 57 member nations in 1947, approved the resolution dividing Palestine by a vote of 33-13 with 10 abstentions. The Jewish side accepted the U.N. partition plan and after the British mandate expired in 1948, Israel declared its independence. The Arabs rejected the plan and neighboring Arab countries launched a war against the Jewish state.

The Nakba commemorates the estimated 700,000 Palestinians who fled or were forced from their homes in 1948.

The fate of these refugees and their descendants — estimated at over 5 million across the Middle East — remains a major disputed issue in the Arab-Israeli conflict. Israel rejects demands for a mass return of refugees to long-lost homes, saying it would threaten the country’s Jewish character.

As the 75th anniversary approached, the now 193-member General Assembly approved a resolution last Nov. 30 by a vote of 90-30 with 47 abstentions requesting the U.N. Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People organize a high-level event on May 15 to commemorate the Nakba.

The United States was among the countries that joined Israel in voting against the resolution, and the U.S. Mission said no American diplomat will attend Monday’s commemoration.

Explaining why a U.N. commemoration took so long, Mansour told The Associated Press on Friday that the Palestinians have moved cautiously at the United Nations since the General Assembly raised their status in 2012 from a non-member observer to a non-member observer state.

U.N. recognition as a state enabled the Palestinians to join treaties, take cases against Israel’s occupation to the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice, which is the U.N.’s highest tribunal, and in 2019 to chair the Group of 77, the U.N. coalition of 134 mainly developing nations and China, he said.

At the 70th anniversary of the 1948 exodus five years ago, Mansour said, “the word Nakba was used in a General Assembly resolution for the first time,” and Abbas then gave instructions to obtain a mandate from the U.N. to commemorate the 75th anniversary.

The Nakba commemoration comes as plan to overhaul Israel’s judiciary show no sign of abating. Israel’s polarization and the Netanyahu government’s extremist positions have also sparked growing international concern.

Mansour said Friday that Palestinian refugees “are being forcibly removed from their homes and forcibly transferred by Israel at an unprecedented rate,” reminiscent of 1948.

In a speech to the U.N. Security Council on April 25, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Malki said “it is time to bring the Nakba to an end,” stressing that the Palestinians have suffered from the most protracted refugee crisis in the world and “the longest occupation of an entire territory in modern history.”

He was sharply critical of the U.N. and the wider international community for adopting resolutions that make demands and call for action— but doing nothing to implement them. He said if the international community made Israel’s occupation costly, “I can assure you it will come to an end.”

Malki renewed his call for countries that haven’t yet recognized the state of Palestine “to do so as a means to salvage the moribund two-state solution.” He also urged countries to support the Palestinian request for full membership in the United Nations, which would demonstrate international support for a two-state solution where Israelis and Palestinians lived side-by-side in peace.

To hurt Israel economically, Malki urged countries to ban products from Israeli settlements and trade with settlements, to “sanction those who collect funds for settlements and those who advocate for them and those who advance them,” and to list settler organizations that carry out killings and burnings as “terrorist organizations.”

And he urged the international community to take Israel to the International Court of Justice. The General Assembly asked the court in December to give its opinion on the legal consequences of Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories, a move denounced by Israel.

United States News

Associated Press

Missing teen with autism found in New Mexico, about 200 miles away from his Arizona home

DEMING, N.M. (AP) — A missing teen with autism has been found in New Mexico — about 200 miles away from his home in southern Arizona, according to New Mexico State Police. The 13-year-old turned up at a Walmart in Deming on Tuesday after going missing the night before from his family’s home in Tucson. […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

UN appeals for $674 million as gang violence in Haiti escalates with killings and sexual violence

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Indiscriminate violence in Haiti is escalating — especially in the capital and surrounding region — with armed gangs carrying out killings and acts of sexual violence, the United Nations humanitarian coordinator in the conflict-wracked Caribbean nation said Wednesday. Ulrika Richardson told U.N. reporters in a virtual press conference from the Haitian […]

3 hours ago

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul holds up a phone that displays a map of illegal cannabis stores as entre...

Associated Press

Struggling to stop illegal cannabis stores, New York governor asks online sites to hide them

NEW YORK (AP) — After failing to wipe illegal cannabis dispensaries off the map, New York is asking online sites to hide them. Since the state legalized marijuana in 2021, unlicensed pot shops have proliferated across New York City, with limited pushback from authorities. On Tuesday, Gov. Kathy Hochul called on online map and social […]

3 hours ago

Associated Press

Honolulu bribery trial won’t be postponed despite an investigation into a threat against a US judge

HONOLULU (AP) — An upcoming bribery trial against Honolulu’s former top prosecutor won’t be delayed despite an ongoing investigation that one of the defendants in the case allegedly threatened the safety of the judge who had been presiding over the case, which prompted his unexpected recusal last month. The new judge ruled Wednesday there will […]

3 hours ago

Associated Press

Anheuser-Busch, Teamsters reach labor agreement that avoids US strike

Budweiser brewer Anheuser-Busch has reached a contract agreement with the Teamsters union that avoids a strike at its U.S. plants. The union had threatened a strike at the brewer’s 12 U.S. plants if an agreement on a new five-year contract wasn’t reached by 11:59 p.m. EST Thursday. The Teamsters union represents 5,000 Anheuser-Busch workers who […]

3 hours ago

Associated Press

Legislation allowing recreational marijuana sales in Virginia heads to GOP Gov. Glenn Youngkin

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia lawmakers passed legislation Wednesday that if approved by Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin would allow recreational retail sales of marijuana to begin next year. Under the bills, the state would start taking applications on Sept. 1 for cultivating, testing, processing and selling the drug in preparation for the market to open […]

4 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Day & Night is looking for the oldest AC in the Valley

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.

(KTAR News Graphic)...

Boys & Girls Clubs

KTAR launches online holiday auction benefitting Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley

KTAR is teaming up with The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley for a holiday auction benefitting thousands of Valley kids.

UN to commemorate Palestinians’ 1948 flight from Israel for the first time