On 'Nakba,' Abbas vows to continue payments to prisoners and 'martyrs'

Nakba day marks the anniversary of the establishment of Israel as a day of catastrophe.

 Palestinian Authority President Mahmud Abbas speaks during a meeting with journalists in the West Bank cityof Ramallah on July 03, 2019. (photo credit: FLASH90)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmud Abbas speaks during a meeting with journalists in the West Bank cityof Ramallah on July 03, 2019.
(photo credit: FLASH90)

The Palestinian Authority will continue to pay allowances to the families of Palestinian prisoners and those killed while carrying out attacks against Israel, PA President Mahmoud Abbas said on Sunday.

Abbas’s renewed commitment to the families of the prisoners and “martyrs” was made on the 74th anniversary of Nakba Day, “Catastrophe Day,” a term Palestinians use to describe the 1948 War of Independence.

During several rallies in the West Bank on Sunday, Palestinians sounded sirens for 74 seconds, marking the number of years since the establishment of Israel.

Abbas and other Palestinians also emphasized that they would remain committed to the “right of return” for Palestinian refugees and their descendants to their former homes inside Israel.

“The Palestinian people and their leadership will not rest until all prisoners enjoy freedom,” Abbas said, adding that he would remain committed “to the rights of the families of the martyrs and prisoners.”

 Israel Police arrest Arab protesters at Nakba Day rally at Tel Aviv University, May 15, 2022 (credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/MAARIV) Israel Police arrest Arab protesters at Nakba Day rally at Tel Aviv University, May 15, 2022 (credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/MAARIV)

Abbas said he was proud of the “steadfastness of the brave prisoners held in occupation prisons.”

Abbas has staunchly refused to halt the payments to the families of the prisoners and “martyrs” – a scheme described by some as “pay for slay.”

“The great Palestinian people cannot be defeated because they have a just issue that cannot be obliterated by false narratives,” Abbas said. He called on Israel’s leaders “to get out of the cycle of denial of the other because it will not bring security and stability to anyone.”

The Palestinians would not agree to give up any of their rights, especially their right to self-determination and the establishment of an independent state with east Jerusalem as its capital, Abbas said.

In the center of Ramallah, thousands of Palestinians participated in a rally marking the anniversary.

The “Palestinians are determined to restore their homeland” and confident that they will be triumphant, said Mahmoud al-Aloul, deputy chairman of the ruling Fatah faction, which is headed by Abbas.

The “battles” with Israel are still raging in Jerusalem and “everywhere in Palestine,” he said at the rally, adding that the “sacrifices of the martyrs, the injured and the prisoners will never stop.”

PA Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said the “double standards” of the international community must end. In an implicit reference to the Russia-Ukraine war, he said the world distinguishes between one refugee and another.

“It is unreasonable that one refugee receives the attention of the world, while another is neglected by the world,” he said. “This is unacceptable.”

Shtayyeh urged the United Nations to implement all its resolutions pertaining to the Palestinians, including the “right of return.”

“Our people are increasingly insisting on their right to return and the establishment of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital,” he said. “We will remain committed and loyal to our principles. We will continue to fight for them until they are all accomplished.”

Shtayyeh emphasized the importance of maintaining the United Nations Relief and Work Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA).

“We care about this institution in the same way we care about our people in the diaspora,” he said. “Today, there are 6.4 million refugees waiting for the right of return.”

Ahmed Abu Holy, head of the PLO’s refugee department, said the Palestinians would not accept “partial solutions” to the problem of the refugees. He also stressed the importance of maintaining UNRWA and rejecting any attempt to delegate its powers to other UN bodies.

In a statement issued on the occasion of Nakba Day, Hamas said there was “no legitimacy or sovereignty” for Israel “over one inch of the land of historic Palestine.”

“Our people will remain committed to Jerusalem, the eternal capital of Palestine, from the [Jordan] river to the [Mediterranean] sea,” it said.

Hamas also vowed to pursue the “armed resistance” against Israel “until the aspirations of our people are achieved.”