For Immediate Release
14 May 2008
Palestine Liberation Organization
Negotiations Affairs Department
Ramallah, occupied Palestinian territory
Dr. Erekat: “6o years on, and the Palestinian Nakba continues.”
Tomorrow Palestinians around the globe commemorate the 60th anniversary of the “Nakba,” during which nearly three-quarters of historic Palestine’s indigenous Muslim and Christian population was expelled or fled their homes.
On this occasion Dr. Saeb Erekat, Chief Palestinian Negotiator, reacted by saying “60 years on, and the Palestinian Nakba continues.” He noted that over 418 Palestinian villages were destroyed in what is now Israel. But he said that just as during the 1967 War—when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled from their homes—a third wave of displaced Palestinians is unfolding today.
“Today we have tiny settler fortresses towering in the midst of cities, raining down violence and misery on all around. We also witness confiscation of lands and destruction of property, especially in and around occupied East Jerusalem. Israel has built walls encircling Palestinian communities, separating them from other Palestinian communities, and denying people access to educational services and life-saving medical treatment.’’
Dr. Erekat stated that ''60 years ago, we were a nation interrupted and 60 years later we are still living the catastrophe and the disaster. We have been interrupted as a nation politically, socially, economically, culturally and educationally; and the international community should not, 60 years later, continue to watch our misery and catastrophe from the desert of Iraq and Syria to Brazil, Chile and Sudan. It’s time for Palestinians to have a home.’’
“The Nakba continues”…. Dr. Erekat commented on several villages, such as Wadi Fukin, Nu’uman, and al-Aqaba, which he said are “literally being erased by Israel’s policies of isolation, economic deprivation, and Israeli settlement expansion. The Nakba continues for 11000 Palestinian families who are missing their loved ones in Israeli prisons.”
Dr. Erekat called on Israel to accept the Arab Peace Initiative now. He added that “still a historic opportunity for peace exists. The Arab Peace Initiative, which calls for an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip along the pre-1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital, and a just and agreed upon solution to the Palestinian refugee problem in accordance with UNGA Resolution 194.”
Dr. Erekat concluded: “60 years of exile is too much. 41 years of occupation is enough. Israel could live in peace in the Middle East with the Arab Peace Initiative. It is time to finally give Palestinians what we so desperately deserve: our national dignity and freedom.”
Contact for more information:
Muzna Shihabi (English, French, and Arabic)
Communications Advisor, Negotiations Support Unit