In a statement marking the 69th anniversary of the Nakba (Catastrophe), Palestinian Authority, PLO and Fatah President Mahmoud Abbas has insisted that the Palestinians will not give up commemorating the event "before the recognition of our rights."
The official Wafa news agency reported that Abbas pointed out that such recognition must be based on the right of return, the right to self-determination and the establishment of an independent state based on the pre-1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital.
"Peace is our strategic choice," the president explained, "but not at any price. We want a just and comprehensive peace based on the international resolutions and the Arab Peace Initiative."
Read: Remembering the Nakba
The Nakba — the ethnic cleansing of Palestine by Zionist militias and the nascent Israeli state — is not something that happened in the past, Abbas stressed. "We commemorate the anniversary of the Nakba because it has an ongoing bitter impact on our life… Our Palestinian people, who paid the price for fake history, are still subjected to oppression."
The PA chief said that the oppression of the Palestinians started 100 years ago, when the "fake Zionist narrative, which denied our existence on our land, began." He noted that the Zionists are still denying Palestinians' existence and their "legitimate national rights" recognised by international resolutions.
A century after the infamous "Balfour Declaration" — in reality, a non-binding letter — Abbas called for the British government to bear its historical and moral responsibility for the Nakba and its consequences. He said that the British should not only abandon the plan to "celebrate" the centenary of Balfour's 1917 letter to a leading Zionist of the day, but also issue an apology to the people of Palestine.
Read: The Nakba Explained
In conclusion, Abbas hailed the Palestinian hunger strikers inside Israeli jails. "We will not rest before freeing all of them and returning them back home," he said. The veteran politician called on the international community to put pressure on Israel to fulfil the demands of the protesting prisoners.