Palestinians on Thursday marked the 72nd anniversary of “Nakba Day” (“Day of Catastrophe”) by vowing to thwart Israel’s plan to apply sovereignty to parts of the West Bank and US President Donald Trump’s plan for Mideast peace, also known as the Deal of the Century.
“Nakba Day” is commemorated by Palestinians on May 15, the day after the Gregorian calendar date for Israel’s independence.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic and the state of emergency announced in the West Bank, Palestinians marked this year’s “Nakba Day” with statements and speeches.
In Nablus, however, a number of Fatah activists held a small rally to protest US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s visit to Israel this week. The activists carried a sign that read: “Palestine is ours, Jerusalem is ours.”
PA President Mahmoud Abbas said in a televised speech on Wednesday night that “those who created our catastrophe wanted Palestine to be land without people or territories and were betting that the name of Palestine would be erased from the records of history.”
To achieve their goal, Abbas said, “they practiced the ugliest conspiracies, pressures, massacres and liquidation projects, the latest being the so-called Deal of the Century.”
Abbas said that “despite all the obstacles, and despite all the aggressive occupation policies, measures and violations, we are proceeding with confident steps towards the restoration of our full rights and the removal of this hateful occupation.”
He again repeated his threat to renounce all agreements with Israel if the Israeli government implements its plan to apply sovereignty to any part of the West Bank. Israel and the US administration will bear the consequences and serious repercussions of such a move, Abbas cautioned.
Abbas’s ruling Fatah faction said in a statement that it won’t abandon the goals of its “revolution, particularly achieving the right of return [for Palestinian refugees and their descendants to their former homes in Israel], self-determination, and national independence.”
The immediate goal today, Fatah said, is to “confront the Deal of the Century and the Israeli plan to annex areas of the West Bank.” Fatah added that the Palestinians would “resist in every way this scheme that aims to liquidate the Palestinian cause and the political rights of the Palestinian people.”
Fatah also warned the Israeli government and the Trump administration against “disparaging” the Palestinians and said that the “annexation plan would face vigorous opposition and return the conflict back to square one.”
Fatah vowed to continue to fight “until every Palestinian who was displaced from his home returns.”
PA Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said that the “biggest challenge the Palestinians are facing today is the Israeli threat to annex” parts of the West Bank. The move, he said, “constitutes the last chapter of a systematic campaign to destroy the possibility of establishing a Palestinian state.”
A Palestinian state can’t be established without Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip and all of the West Bank, including Area C and the Jordan Valley, Shtayyeh emphasized.
He further warned that the Israeli plan would not only end the two-state solution, but also pose a threat to regional security and stability.
The Palestinian leadership, he said, is expected to convene on Saturday to make decisions regarding the Israeli plan.
On Wednesday, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad announced that they would boycott Saturday’s meeting. The PLO’s Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), meanwhile, announced its decision to participate in the meeting.
The PFLP said its representatives will demand that the Palestinian leadership revoke PLO recognition of Israel and walk away from all signed agreements between the Palestinians and Israel, including the 1993 Oslo Accords.
In the Gaza Strip, Hamas said in a statement on the occasion of “Nakba Day” that “the right of our people to resist the occupation by all means is a strategic choice.” Hamas called for “mobilizing the people for a revolutionary struggle and said that “history has not witnessed a crime parallel to the crime of occupying Palestine and displacing the Palestinians at the hands of the Zionist occupiers.”
Referring to the Israeli plan and Trump’s peace vision, Hamas said it rejects “all projects aimed at liquidating the Palestinian cause.”
Senior Hamas official Izzat al-Risheq called for “stepping up confrontations” with Israel in the West Bank and Jerusalem to foil Israeli and US “crimes.” The Palestinians, he threatened, will continue to fight until they “achieve all their rights, including the right of return.”