Arabs mourn Palestinian ‘Nakba’, deplore Israel’s policy

May 15th, 2008 - 12:24 am ICT by admin  

Cairo, May 14 (DPA) Arab commentators and officials Wednesday deplored the conditions in which the Palestinians live and berated Israel for its “crimes” on the 60th anniversary of its establishment, which Arabs mark as the “Nakba”, or catastrophe. Arabs mourn what they call the 1948 catastrophe when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians lost their homeland and the state of Israel was established.

Arab newspapers and television channels dedicated special editions and hours-long programmes in remembrance of the Nakba.

A trailer promoting one such show on the Dubai-based al-Arabiya news broadcaster has been replayed round the clock over the past days.

The Saudi-owned private channel aired snapshots of Palestinians who lost their farms and property 60 years ago, depicting the scope of their suffering.

Egypt’s independent daily al-Badil retold the story of the Nakba in a special 13-page edition. Its front page headline read: “Palestinians tell what happened the night Zionists came in.”

The leftist newspaper displayed on its front page black and white pictures of sad-looking, weeping girls and elderly women in supposedly archive photos of Palestinians dating back to 1948.

Another headline read: “We will return. Take me along to Palestine,” which is a title of a poem written by the renowned Palestinian poet, Mahmoud Darwish.

Tragic accounts of how Palestinians were expelled from their homes filled pages of other Arab newspapers.

“Israel is not a state but a criminal gang,” thundered the prominent Lebanese columnist, Jihad al-Khazin, in the pan Arab daily al-Hayat.

But after contesting the legitimacy of Israel and denouncing its policy towards the Palestinians, al-Khazin prescribed to the Israelis the way out of the current ordeal.

“There is no way out for Israel without the establishment of a Palestinian state on parts of the Palestinian land,” al-Khazin wrote.

Lashing out at Israel, Arab officials vented their resentment towards it in strong-worded speeches tailor-made for the many gatherings and events held around the Arab world to mark the anniversary of the Nakba.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul-Gheit, whose country was the first Arab state to sign a peace treaty with Israel, did not shy away from mourning the Nakba although Egpytian President Hosny Mubarak a few days earlier took heed of diplomatic obligations dictated by the agreement.

In line with the rules of diplomacy, Mubarak congratulated Israel’s leaders on the anniversary of its creation.

In a speech read by his deputy, Abul-Gheit told a gathering of leftist intellectuals that the day of the Nakba marked the beginning of a “tragedy of people who had been displaced and whose land was seized and freedom usurped”.

Israel must choose, Abul-Gheit said, clearly between the pursuit of a peace process that would lead to the establishment of a viable Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital and the pursuit of the policy of aggression and building settlements.

The Arab League chief, Amr Musa, was not less circumspect in his criticism of the Jewish state.

Musa, who served as Egypt’s foreign minister throughout much of the 1990s, told a meeting of Arab justice ministers that the Nakba marked the “biggest ethnic cleansing since World War II and the strongest breach of principles of justice”.

The ministers stressed at the end of their Cairo meeting the need to take legal steps against Israelis who they deem responsible for “crimes of genocide and crimes against humanity in the West Bank and Gaza Strip”.

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