Israel has stolen 80,000 Palestinian books and manuscripts and kept them in its national libraries since 1948, Arab League Secretary-General Nabil Al-Arabi said.
Al-Arabi was speaking at a celebration organised by the Arab League in Cairo entitle Palestine in the Arabic Manuscripts.
Palestinian Minister of Culture Ziad Abu Amer attended the celebration with his Egyptian counterpart and many other officials and intellectuals from around Egypt and the Arab world, as well as representatives of the International Council on Archives (ICA).
Al-Arabi called for efforts to be made to regain archives stolen by imperialist powers with the aim of hiding the Arabic identity and forging its history, mainly the Palestinian history. He stressed the importance of maintaining the Palestinian identity and its manuscripts.
He added that some Arab countries, including Algeria, Libya and Iraq are working to regain their archives, which also contains its histories. The Arab League is working on this in cooperation with the ICA.
Abu Amr said: “The occupation’s measures, which have been taking place since the Nakba in 1948 to damage Palestinian culture, information centres, universities and archives of Palestinian institutions, are part of the efforts to hide the Arabic identity of Palestine.”
He also stressed the importance of laying down national strategic bases for documenting and archiving Palestinian culture and history ahead of laying down a united Arab strategy for documenting and archiving activities.