British parliaments commemorated the 75th anniversary of the Nakba with an unprecedented series of events across the UK, including the Welsh and British Parliaments on May 15 and concluding with an event in the Scottish Parliament on May 17.
In its first events to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Nakba, the Palestinian Mission to the UK organized an event in the Westminister Central Hall that witnessed the first meeting of the United Nations General Assembly in the British capital. An unprecedented number of members of the British Parliament, diplomats, activists and community leaders in Britain, in addition to representatives of Muslim, Arab and Palestinian communities in Britain.
In his speech, Hussam Zomlot, Palestine’s Ambassador to the United Kingdom, said: “As a Palestinian diplomatic mission, we chose to organize this event here in the place where the plot against Palestine was hatched, which led to the Nakba, and from here we begin the journey of correcting the British sin against the Palestinian people.”
The event witnessed speeches by a number of British politicians and the United Nations Rapporteur on Human Rights in the Palestinian Territories, Francesca Albanese, who recognized the international wrongdoing against the Palestinians and called on the world to correct their dealings with Palestinian rights in order to advance the peace process in the Middle East.
Members of the British Parliament participated during the event, including Crispin Blunt, a representative of the Conservative Party; Bambos Charalambos, a representative of the Labor Party; and Representative Brendan O’Hara from the Scottish National Party, in addition to Layla Moran, a British representative of Palestinian origin from the Liberal Democrats.
The Palestine Mission to the United Kingdom also participated in a huge march that started in front of the BBC headquarters towards the British Prime Minister’s office in Downing Street. More than 10,000 supporters of Palestine participated in the demonstration, including a number of politicians, diplomats, members of Parliament, jurists and activists advocating Palestinian rights.
On May 15, the Palestine Mission to the United Kingdom, in coordination with parliamentary groups from all parties concerned with Palestine, participated in commemorating the Nakba in simultaneous parliamentary events held in England and Wales.
Parliamentarians, figures from the opposition, and former officials from the British government attended the events.
The Palestine Mission to the United Kingdom concluded these events on May 17 by participating in an event in the Scottish Parliament in the Scottish capital, Edinburgh, in which a number of parliamentarians and representatives of the largest political parties in the country and a group of human rights activists and the Palestinian community participated.
In his speech to the Scottish Parliament, Palestinian Ambassador Hussam Zomlot said that the historic United Nations decision to commemorate the Nakba on its 75th anniversary should be followed by “criminalizing the denial of the Nakba.”
He added, “The catastrophe that the Palestinian people were subjected to is not limited to the loss of homelands, but rather it is a systematic plan of ethnic cleansing to which more than two-thirds of the Palestinian people were subjected. The aim was to replace them with a Jewish majority.
The United Nations commemoration of the Nakba 75, as well as in all parliaments in the United Kingdom and elsewhere, constitutes steps towards criminalizing the denial of the Nakba and correcting the historical sin against the Palestinian people.”
The events commemorating the Nakba in the United Kingdom received great attention from both the Arab and Western media, as these events were unprecedented in the Kingdom and included speeches by parliamentarians, politicians, civil society leaders, and activists.
In his speeches, The Palestinian ambassador Hussam Zomlot criticized the absence of the United States and the United Kingdom from participating in the Nakba commemoration activities in New York and Britain, respectively, describing this absence as a deepening of the injustice to which the Palestinian people are subjected and the double standards adopted by the West regarding the Palestinian cause.
During his tour in Scotland, the Palestinian ambassador met with the leaders of the Scottish Church in the capital, Edinburgh, and briefed them on the latest field developments in Palestine, the ongoing crimes against the Palestinian people, and the necessity of the Scottish Church’s solidarity with Palestinian rights and against Israeli crimes.
The Palestinian ambassador also met with the Scottish First Minister, Hamza Youssef. During their meeting, the two sides emphasized the depth of the Palestinian-Scottish relations. The Palestinian Ambassador, Hussam Zomlot, invited the Scottish First Minister from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to visit the State of Palestine.
For his part, First Minister Youssef affirmed his country’s desire to strengthen relations with the State of Palestine and that he “will never shy away from standing up for human rights & international law,” stressing that his country will support cooperation with Palestine, including support for education and culture in Palestine.