1 of 3 | Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is set to deliver the keynote speech in New York on Monday of a special high-level meeting commemorating the 75th anniversary of the 'Nakba' organized by the U.N. Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People. File photo by Cia Pak/United Nations/UPI
May 15 (UPI) -- A special United Nations committee will hold commemorations Monday of the 75th anniversary of the mass displacement of Palestinians from what is now Israel -- the first ever -- after being handed a mandate by the General Assembly in November.
The U.N. event, recognizing "the Nakba" or "the Catastrophe" -- the mass expulsion of Palestinians from then-British Palestine during Israel's creation in the late 1940s -- will include a high-level meeting with addresses by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and U.N. Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs Rosemary A. DiCarlo followed by live-streamed evening presentation in the General Assembly Hall.
"The event will bring to life the Palestinian journey and will aim at creating an immersive experience of the Nakba through live music, photos, videos and personal testimonies. This is an occasion to highlight that the noble goals of justice and peace, require recognizing the reality and history of the Palestinian people's plight and ensuring the fulfillment of their inalienable rights," the UN said.
But the event prompted an angry reaction from Israel whose ambassador to the U.N. condemned it as "one-sided" and said it would inflame tensions between the two sides as he urged fellow U.N. envoys not to attend.
"The thought that an international organization could mark the establishment of one of its member states as a catastrophe or disaster is both appalling and repulsive," Gilad Erdan wrote in a letter.
"Not only does this condone Jew-hatred, but it also gives a green light to the Palestinians to continue exploiting international organs to promote their libelous narrative," he said.
Erdan claimed to have successfully persuaded a number of countries to boycott the event and said he was continuing to lobby others.
In November 1947, the newly-created United Nations approved a plan to divide Palestine into Jewish and Arab states, against the will of the majority indigenous Palestinian Arab population, according to the Institute for Middle East Understanding.
The expulsion of Palestinians by pro-Israel militias began resulting in between 750,000 and 1 million Palestinians -- around 75% of the Palestinian population -- being made refugees by the militias and the new Israeli army between 1947 and 1949 during the establishment of Israel.
IMEU also alleges atrocities including the massacre of more than 100 people, including dozens of children, women, and elderly people, in the Palestinian town of Deir Yassin near Jerusalem on April 9, 1948, by militias that triggered the flight of Palestinians from in and around Jerusalem.
The new state of Israel covered 78% of Palestine, IMEU states. The remaining 22%, comprising the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza, fell under the control of Jordan and Egypt, respectively. In the 1967 War, the Israeli military occupied the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza, which Israel began colonizing shortly afterward.
The U.N. General Assembly voted 90-30 for a resolution establishing a commemorative day at its plenary session in late November, to support the Division for Palestinian Rights of the Secretariat's efforts to make a "constructive and positive contribution to raising international awareness of the question of Palestine and of the urgency of a peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine."
The move was also aimed at generating international support for the rights of the Palestinian people and bringing an end to the Israeli occupation that began in 1967 and of the two-State solution on the basis of the pre-1967 borders, with an "independent, sovereign and viable State of Palestine, living side by side, in peace and security, with Israel."