Israel’s UN envoy urges other diplomats to stay away from Monday ‘Nakba’ event

Erdan claims some already convinced to shun commemoration, which he says promotes ‘Jew-hatred’ and ‘serves to inflame tensions’

Luke Tress is a JTA reporter and a former editor and reporter in New York for The Times of Israel.

The UN General Assembly Fourth Committee votes on measures addressing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at UN headquarters in New York, November 11, 2022. (AP/Jeenah Moon)
File: The UN General Assembly Fourth Committee votes on measures addressing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at UN headquarters in New York, November 11, 2022. (AP/Jeenah Moon)

NEW YORK — Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations Gilad Erdan on Sunday called on other UN envoys to not attend a Monday event at the General Assembly marking the Nakba, the Palestinian term for the “catastrophe” of Israel’s establishment.

“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,” 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.

“Attending one-sided Palestinian initiatives that falsely brand Israel as the source of all evil does not bring the conflict closer to an end, but only serves to inflame tensions. I deeply urge you not to take part in the shameful ‘Nakba’ Event.”

Erdan stated that the Israeli mission had “managed to convince a number of countries to boycott this despicable event” and was trying to sway others.

Nakba Day commemorates the displacement and dispossession of Palestinians during Israel’s War of Independence in 1948-1949.

File: Palestinians wave national flags as they march in a rally marking the 74th anniversary of the ‘Nakba’ or ‘catastrophe’ of Israel’s founding in the West Bank town of Ramallah, on May 15, 2022. (ABBAS MOMANI/AFP)

The partition plan adopted by the General Assembly in 1947 called for independent Jewish and Arab states in what was then British-controlled Mandatory Palestine. Jewish representatives accepted the plan, but the Arab world rejected it and launched the war.

The commemoration of the Nakba, the first of its kind at the UN, will include a high-level special meeting at UN Headquarters in New York and a special event in the General Assembly Hall. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is scheduled to travel to New York to attend.

The General Assembly approved the event in December with a vote of 90 in favor, 30 against, and 47 abstentions.

The event is set to be held days after the end of a five-day violent escalation between Israel and Palestinian Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip, and amid elevated tensions in the West Bank, with the IDF conducting near-nightly raids in the territory due to a series of deadly Palestinian terror attacks.

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