Palestinian president urges UN to suspend Israel on Nakba anniversary

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas speaks during a conference to support Jerusalem at the Arab League headquarters in Cairo, Egypt, on Feb. 12, 2023. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil, File)

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has called on the international community to suspend Israel's membership in the UN for obstructing the implementation of UN resolutions and international law.

Abbas spoke at a UN event on Monday held to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Nakba or "catastrophe," which is marked on May 15 to remember the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their homes and lands in 1948 after the formation of the state of Israel.

The UN General Assembly passed a resolution on November 30, 2022, calling for the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the Nakba.

"We demand today, officially, in accordance with international law and international resolutions, to make sure that Israel respects these resolutions, or suspend Israel’s membership in the UN," Abbas said.

The Palestinian leader said that the UN adopted hundreds of resolutions since 1947 that recognise the rights of the Palestinian people but not one single resolution was implemented so far.

He accused the US and the UK of "remaining silent" against the ongoing aggressions and refusing to hold Israel accountable for its occupation of the Palestinian land and construction of illegal settlements.

"Britain and the United States specifically bear political and ethical responsibility directly for the Nakba of the Palestinian people, because they took part in rendering our people a victim when they decided to establish and plant another entity in our historic homeland for their own colonial goals," Abbas said.

"These countries wanted to get rid of their Jews and benefit from their presence in Palestine".

'Please protect us'

Abbas also called on the international community to shoulder its responsibility to protect the Palestinian people.

"We are being subjected to violence every day. We are complaining every day. We're calling upon you everyday, please protect us, please protect us. Why aren't you protecting us? Aren't we human beings? You even protect the animals."

Israel’s UN ambassador, Gilad Erdan, had sent letters to General Assembly ambassadors condemning the commemoration and urging them not to attend what he called an “abominable event” and a “blatant attempt to distort history.”

Israel and the US were among those that boycotted the commemoration of what is known as the Nakba, or catastrophe.