A delegation of first-generation Palestinian refugees has presented a “right of return” key to Gaza’s Prime Minister. At a ceremony to mark the 62nd anniversary of the Nakba, when 750,000 Palestinians were driven from their homes by Jewish militias in 1948, Ismail Haniyeh was given the symbolic token as an affirmation of the struggle to return to the homes from which they were expelled by the Zionists. Accepting the key, Mr. Haniyeh paid tribute to the steadfastness of the Palestinian people who, despite decades of exile and oppression, have kept alive their national aspirations and human rights.
During his speech, the Prime Minister called for a new strategy to restore the Palestinian cause to its rightful place as the number one priority for Arab and Muslim nations. He also criticized the decision by the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority to resume negotiations with Israel, claiming that it only provides cover and more time for the Israeli authorities to continue their illegal settlement policy in the occupied Palestinian territories.
Mr. Haniyeh restated his movement’s principled commitment to national reconciliation and condemned the interference of external forces, particularly the US, which is believed widely to have in blocked efforts to achieve Palestinian national unity.
MEMO Photographer: Mohammed Asad