Erdan slams UN Nakba Day event

Israeli envoy says was successful in convincing some important nations to boycott 'abominable and blatant attempt to distort history' Abbas expected to speak at event
Israeli UN Ambassador Gilad Erdan appealed to member states to refrain from attending what he called "an abominable and blatant attempt to distort history," as Palestinians will mark a 75-year anniversary of the Nakba – the Palestinian Catastrophe - at the United Nations General Assembly on Monday.
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גלעד ארדן
גלעד ארדן
Gilad Erdan
(Photo: AFP)
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The event in which Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is set to speak is the first time, the UN will officially commemorate the flight of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from what is now Israel.
Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian U.N. envoy, called the U.N. observance "historic" and significant because the General Assembly played a key role in the partition of Palestine.
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ריאד מנסור שגריר פלסטין  נואם במועצת הבטחון של האו"ם
ריאד מנסור שגריר פלסטין  נואם במועצת הבטחון של האו"ם
Palestinian UN envoy Riad Mansour
(Photo: UNTV)
In a speech to the U.N. Security Council on April 25, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Malki said "it is time to bring the Nakba to an end," stressing that the Palestinians have suffered from the most protracted refugee crisis in the world.
Other speakers will include UNRWA Commissioner General Philippe Lazzarini and academicians. A musical performance by Palestinian singer Sana Moussa will also take place.
The event at the UN General Assembly was approved in a resolution last Nov. 30 by a vote of 90-30 with 47 abstentions requesting the U.N. Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People organize a high-level event on May 15 to commemorate the Nakba.
Since then Erdan, and the Foreign Ministry, have been campaigning to prevent member states from attending. "We've succeeded in persuading some significant countries to boycott this despicable event and I continue to work to persuade others," Erdan said.
The General Assembly, which had 57 member nations in 1947, approved the resolution dividing Palestine by a vote of 33-13 with 10 abstentions. The Jewish side accepted the U.N. partition plan and after the British mandate expired in 1948, Israel declared its independence. The Arabs rejected the plan and neighboring Arab countries launched a war against the young state. The Nakba commemorates the estimated 700,000 Palestinians who fled or were forced from their homes in 1948.
The fate of these refugees and their descendants, estimated at over 5 million across the Middle East, remains a major disputed issue in the Arab-Israeli conflict. Israel rejects demands for a mass return of refugees to long-lost homes, saying it would threaten the country's Jewish character.
The Associated Press contributed to this report
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