Palestinian Prime Minister, Dr. Salaam Fayyad, stated on Tuesday that Israel should not celebrate its independence before peace is reached with the Palestinians. Dr. Fayyad added that Israel is still occupying the Palestinian people, and addressed the Israelis by saying “how could you celebrate your independence while the Palestinians are still suffering from the Israeli occupation, settlements and crimes committed by the settlers”.  

Dr. Fayyad added that these celebrations are meaningless as long as both nations cannot celebrate together in a just and everlasting peace.

The statements of Fayyad came during a speech marking the Nakba “catastrophe” day, which Israel regards as its independent day. On that day, May, 14 1948, thousands of Palestinians were expelled from their homes and lands.  

Israel is planning huge festivities on the “independence day” and several foreign leaders, including the US President George W. Bush, are expected to join.

 On Thursday, the Palestinians are planning events commemorating the Nakba Day; they are expected to hold protests in several parts of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and are also planning to fly black balloons as a symbol of mourning.

In the Gaza Strip thousands are planning to march towards the Rafah Terminal in an attempt to break the siege imposed on the coastal region.

Israeli online daily, Haaretz, reported that Arab students of Israeli universities are planning marches in Jerusalem.

 According to official figures by the United Nations, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians, approximately 750.000, were uprooted and removed from their villages which were also destroyed, and became refugees across the region. Now, the number of refugees mounts to nearly 4.5 million.

The issues of the Palestinian refugees, and Jerusalem, are the main issues that the Palestinians regard a Red Line in peace talks with Israel. Israel totally rejects the Right Of Return which is guaranteed by the United Nations.

The General Assembly of the United Nations officially recognized the Right of Return in its resolution number 194 which was passed on December, 11, 1948. The resolution recognizes the right of the refugees to return to their homes.

UN General assembly resolution number 3236, passed on November 22, 1974, reaffirmed the Right of Return as “inalienable”.