For Israel 14 May 1948 was the day its independence was declared; for the Palestinians 15 May 1948 marked the beginning of the Nakba – the Arabic word for “catastrophe”. They commemorate the flight and expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their homeland on this day. Journalists take the opportunity not just to look back on the past, but also to look ahead to Palestine and Israel’s future.
Writing in the Saudi national newspaper Al-Hayat on the 70th anniversary of the Nakba, the chief Palestinian peace negotiator Saeb Erekat calls on the international community to live up to its political and moral responsibility:
“Under international patronage, on the basis of international law and with a fixed timetable, a political process must get underway which puts an end to the occupation, saves the two-state solution and recognises Palestine as a sovereign state. We Palestinians will continue to seek membership in international organisations. … We will bring proof of Israel’s war crimes and crimes against humanity before the International Court of Justice, so that the Palestinian victims may receive justice.”
Palestinians won’t give up right to return
There is no sign of peace in the region and the Palestinians have no reason to give up their claims, writes the monthly magazine Zin, which appears on the Press Project website:
“As long as there is no fair solution to the conflict it’s an illusion to expect that the Palestinians will renounce their right to return, even after 70 years of struggle. In their view that would be a betrayal that would consummate the fatal mistake made by their forefathers in leaving their cities and villages. That is why Yassir Arafat said no to Ehud Barack’s ‘generous proposal’ in 2000 [in the negotiations on the founding of an independent Palestinian state]. And that is why Mahmoud Abbas, despite his innumerable earlier concessions, today rejects from the outset the ‘deal of the century’ backed by Donald Trump.”