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Qatar’s amir says ‘catastrophic effects’ of Palestinian Nakba continue

Since the start of the year, Israel has killed at least 150 Palestinians, including children.

Qatar’s Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani stressed on Monday that the “catastrophic effects” of the mass expulsion of Palestinians has continued 75 years after the Nakba, Qatar News Agency reported.

The leader’s remarks were made in a message sent to the United Nations during its first high-level event to commemorate the Nakba. The bloc has yet to grant Palestine its full membership at the international body.

“The catastrophic effects of the Nakba continue to this day, and millions of Palestinians suffer from it, including refugees, who still cling to their right to return to their country from which they were unjustly expelled,” Sheikh Tamim said in his message.

Amir Tamim added that “realises the central position of this occasion in the Palestinian cause, not only for the 14 million Palestinians whose parents and grandparents lived through that tragic event, but also for all Arabs, Muslims and free people around the world.”

Sheikh Tamim noted that 56 years have also passed since Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza strip in 1967.

“Despite the resolutions issued by the United Nations since then and the international community’s consensus on the illegality of the occupation, this occupation continues and is accompanied by illegal practices, including settlement in the occupied territories, attempts to annex Palestinian lands, demolishing Palestinian property, displacing and oppressing the Palestinian people and depriving them of various rights,” the amir said.

The Nakba, or “catastrophe”, marks the beginnings of the mass expulsion of Palestinians in 1948 by Zionist militias to establish Israel.

In December last year, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution to commemorate the Nakba following a vote of 90 states. Israel’s allies, chief of which is the United States, were among 40 who voted against it.

The resolution also entails publishing archives and evidence related to the Nakba.

Sheikh Tamim also pointed to a rise in Israeli violence “against the defenceless Palestinian people, as well as attacks on their sanctities and restrictions on the rights of Muslims and Christians.” 

“There is no doubt that these illegal practices constitute a denial by the authorities. The occupation of its obligations under international humanitarian law, which imposes a responsibility to guarantee the rights of worship and protect worshipers and religious sanctities, as well as constitutes a violation of the relevant United Nations resolutions,” Amir Tamim said.

The Qatari leader also renewed his country’s support for Palestinians and repeated the Gulf state’s condemnation of the latest Israeli violations against Al Aqsa.

“We stress the need to respect the existing legal and historical situation in the Holy Mosque, in its entirety, and to respect its status as a pure place of worship for Muslims, and not to make any attempt to divide it temporally or spatially,” he said.

Between 1947 and 1949, at least 750,000 Palestinian from a 1.9 million native population were forced out of their own land as Zionist militias ethnically cleansed and destroyed at least 530 villages and cities.

In November last year, Qatar voted in favour of a UN draft resolution requesting a legal opinion from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) “on the nature of the existence” of the Israeli occupation.

Between 2009 and 2022, Israel demolished at least 8,413 Palestinian structures, as per figures shared by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

Since the start of the year, Israel has killed at least 150 Palestinians, including children.

“Qatar is committed to supporting the brotherly Palestinian people who adhere to their rights and have been steadfast since the Nakba, keeping the keys to their ancestral homes that were stolen from them and confident of returning to their country and land,” Sheikh Tamim added.

“After seven and a half decades since the Nakba, today we renew our confidence in the justice of the Palestinian cause, and we salute the brotherly Palestinian people for their valiant steadfastness to obtain all their rights, and we affirm the firm position of the State of Qatar on the need to reach a peaceful settlement of the Palestinian issue,” Amir Tamim said.