Ahmed Abu Holi, a member of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and head of the Department of Refugee Affairs, announced the events marking the 75th anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba.
In a press release, he mentioned that the refugee issue has witnessed an important phase in the United Nations after the General Assembly's decision in November 2022 to dedicate its activities in 2023 to celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Nakba. This includes holding two high-level events at the General Assembly Hall on May 15, 2023, for the first time in seven decades of the Nakba, which constituted a UN recognition of the Nakba and the Palestinian tragedy that occurred when the Palestinian people were expelled and displaced from their homes under the Zionist massacres and terrorism in 1948.
Abu Holi added that President Mahmoud Abbas will participate in this event with an important historical speech at the General Assembly to reaffirm the rights of the Palestinian people and describe what our people have suffered by enhancing the Palestinian narrative and exposing the crimes of the Israeli occupation and exposing their narrative based on lies and forgery of history.
Abu Holi pointed out that President Mahmoud Abbas adopted a program of events to mark the 75th anniversary of the Nakba and approve the political messages that the events will carry. He stated that the Nakba events program is diverse and will combine official diplomatic, academic, and popular work, taking on a local, regional, and international dimension.
He emphasized that the Nakba events will be launched under a unified slogan, "The Nakba is the origin of the narrative, and the right of return," with one poster and unified political messages to be carried in all the capitals of the world. He called for the unity of efforts to embody our people's firm unity in all places of their presence on this occasion, and he called on all the Palestinian people in the homeland and the diaspora to actively participate in the events marking the Nakba.
Abu Holi explained that the program to commemorate the Nakba was completed by the Higher National Committee for the Commemoration of the Nakba in coordination with the Secretariat of the PLO's Executive Committee and other national institutions.
He pointed out that the first events of Nakba will begin with the General Secretariat of the Arab League at the University of the Arab League on Monday, May 8, with a high-level seminar with the participation of the Secretary-General of the Arab League, Dr. Ahmed Aboul Gheit, and the attendance of the permanent delegates at the Arab League, representatives of Arab and international diplomatic missions in the Arab Republic of Egypt. The event will include a photo exhibition of the Palestinian refugee journey and a documentary film about the Palestinian Nakba.
He added, "The central Nakba events will culminate on May 15 with massive popular marches in the northern and southern governorates and in the camps of the homeland and the diaspora."
Regarding the central event in the West Bank, a march and a central return festival will be held in Ramallah on May 15, 2023, which will start at 12:30 pm from the shrine of martyr Yasser Arafat and will arrive at Al-Manara Square in the center of Ramallah, where the central festival will be held.
As for the event in the southern governorates, Dr. Abu Holi explained that there will be mass events at the entrances of the eight camps in the Gaza Strip, in addition to the central festival.
Dr. Abu Holi clarified that the Palestinian embassies have a diverse and active program of political and parliamentary meetings, seminars, photo exhibitions, and forums, where they have been provided with 175 images depicting the Palestinian journey of refuge and suffering from the year 1948 to 2021.
He also mentioned that churches in Palestine will ring their bells at midnight on Sunday, May 14, and at noon on Monday, May 15, and a 75-second mourning whistle will be launched through the mosques' minarets in all northern governorates at midnight on Sunday, May 14, and at noon on Monday, May 15, to mark the Nakba anniversary. Additionally, a sermon on the Palestinian Nakba will be held on Friday, May 12, 2023.
He further stated that a festival of elites (an international forum) will be held in Algeria on May 22, 2023, to commemorate the event, and the official bodies in the Algerian state, ministries, parliament with its two chambers, parliamentary committees, and the National Liberation Front party will be invited, along with all the accredited ambassadors to Algeria, human rights associations, legal associations, unions, and various federations. A conference will also be held for parliamentarians in the British Parliament in London on the evening of May 15, attended by the ambassador and a number of figures as speakers and representatives of political parties, and another meeting will take place in the Welsh Parliament on May 15.
He said that digital activities will start on May 12 to support the right of return through the launch of the biggest media campaign at the national and diaspora levels in multiple languages and in all forms, with a distinguished slogan "The Nakba is the origin of the narrative, and the right of return is a right." On social media platforms, an international advocacy campaign will also be launched to support President Mahmoud Abbas's speech at the United Nations, which he will deliver on May 15 at the General Assembly Hall of the United Nations.
Dr. Abu Holi also mentioned that Palestinian camps in Lebanon and Syria will participate in a popular program of events at the entrances of the camps and a central festival in the Lebanese city of Sidon, attended by representatives from various countries and organizations.
In an interview with Dr. Abu Holi, the head of the Palestinian National Committee for the Commemoration of the Nakba, he announced that various activities will be organized to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Nakba.
These activities include a unified open wave for Palestinian radios and TV channels, hosting national and cultural figures, screening documentaries and archival footage, holding popular and academic conferences, organizing marches and demonstrations, and conducting special sessions at the European Union headquarters and in front of the UN building in New York during the President's speech on May 15, 2023.
Furthermore, a series of posters, documentaries, and recorded interviews with the elderly containing information about the refugee issue in Arabic and English will be published from May 15 to May 22, 2023. The National High Committee for Commemorating the Nakba will implement a variety of events throughout the provinces and camps, such as festivals, candlelight marches, scout shows, seminars, workshops, lectures, artistic, cultural and poetic competitions, sports activities, photographic exhibitions, and mural paintings.
They will also set up tents for the elderly at the entrances of the camps to discuss their struggles and journey of refuge. Finally, a "Return Torch" will be lit on May 15, 2023, at night, at the entrances of the camps, emphasizing the continuity of memory and the right of return that will not expire.
Dr. Abu Holi also mentioned that the Supreme Council for Youth and Sports will organize sports events in coordination with the National High Committee, in partnership with the Ministries of Education and Higher Education.
Dr. Abu Holi also explained that in the middle of this month, our national Olympic football team will face their Jordanian counterpart at Al-Khader Stadium in Bethlehem. At the end of the program, the second edition of the Jerusalem and Dignity Championship will be launched, which will bring together Palestinian and Jordanian clubs and will be played on Palestinian soil.
Dr. Abu Holi clarified that the Nakba events will carry important political messages that affirm the right of Palestinian refugees, who are "non-negotiable," to return, compensation, and the recovery of their properties in accordance with Resolution 194. The events will also reject resettlement and alternative homeland and demand that the international community achieve justice and restore historical injustice to our people, adhere to UNRWA, and support its budget until a political solution to the issue is reached.
He continued, "The events of the Nakba will confirm the Palestinian narrative based on justice, expose the crimes of the Israeli occupation and expose their narrative based on lies, historical fabrication, and theft. They will also strengthen support for the Palestinian cause and the rights of the Palestinian people, including their rights of return, self-determination, and the establishment of their independent and fully sovereign state with Jerusalem as its capital. We also demand the full membership of the State of Palestine in the United Nations, and emphasize that Israel is based on occupation, practices apartheid and commits crimes against humanity against the Palestinian people."
Abu Holi emphasized that the National Committee will work through its program to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Nakba in defense of the rights of the Palestinian people, including their right of return, the application of international legitimacy resolutions, the rejection of settlement, and the importance of maintaining the current status quo in the city of Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Palestine.
He also called on the international community and all peoples of the world to stand with the Palestinian people to achieve justice and peace based on international legitimacy resolutions and to enable them to return and establish their independent and fully sovereign state with Jerusalem as its capital.
It is worth noting that the Supreme National Committee includes the Presidential Diwan, the departments of the Palestine Liberation Organization, factions of the Palestine Liberation Organization, national forces, popular committees in refugee camps, official media (Ministry of Information, the Palestine Broadcasting Corporation), governors, Ministry of Education, the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, relevant agencies, the General Union of Women, popular federations and organizations, the Anti-Wall and Settlement Committee, ministries, institutions, specialized departments, and civil society organizations.
It is possible for all journalists to review the program of Nakba events in detail bu visiting www.plord.ps