Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has signed a presidential decree that criminalizes denying the Palestinian “Nakba” surrounding Israel’s establishment in 1948.
The decree states that anyone found guilty of denying the “catastrophe” inflicted upon Palestinians by Zionist forces in 1948 will face up to two years in jail. It defines the “Nakba” as “a crime against humanity” carried out by the “Zionist gangs,” Israel’s Channel 12 reported.
The decree appeared to be an extension of a more hardline approach Abbas has taken in recent years as he grapples with the apparent failure of his effort to secure a sovereign Palestinian state alongside Israel on the pre-1967 lines through largely diplomatic means.
At a speech this month before the UN General Assembly during its first-ever event marking Nakba Day, Abbas donned a key pin on his lapel symbolizing the Palestinian desire to return to the homes they lost during the 1948 Independence War. Abbas, who previously spoke about his recognition that he would not be able to return to his birth town of Safed, told the UN that he desired to do just that.
Similar hard-lining trends appear to be taking place in Israel, where coalition lawmakers have proposed legislation that would outlaw waving Palestinian flags. Right-wing lawmakers have long rejected the Palestinian narrative of a Nakba, with some warning Palestinians that they will inflict another Nakba upon them if they continue waving Palestinian flags.