RAMALLAH (Ma’an) -- In his address to Palestinians at the close of Nakba Day, President Mahmoud Abbas urged strength and said he was "sure a Palestinian state will come in the next year."
Israeli fire killed 14 over the weekend in Jerusalem, Gaza, Syria and Lebanon as displaced Palestinians and Syrians demanded their right to return at rallies marking the expulsion of more than 760,000 from their homes in fighting as the state of Israel was declared.
Addressing those who were killed, Abbas said the "blood of the martyrs slain marking Nakba Day in the homeland and in exile was shed for the sake of the people's freedom. It was not shed in vain."
The president delivered the address in a televised speech aired on satellite channel Palestine TV. He took the opportunity to commend protesters and Palestinians for their patience and vision.
"To all who took part in the activities and events marking Nakba Day, I say to you that you have proved to all that right is stronger than time, and that the will of the people is stronger and more durable than the might of tyrannical forces and occupation," he said.
Abbas reaffirmed his own commitment to the creation of a Palestinian state and the creation of a realizable homeland for refugees, saying he was sure that the reconciliation agreement Fatah signed with Hamas had helped pave the way.
The agreement, signed in Cairo on May 4, ended the rivalry between the factions, and laid the groundwork for the creation of a government of technocrats to prepare for elections.
The mechanisms of the unity agreement are so strong, Abbas said, they will prevent Israel from "coming up with any pretext to think that reconciliation with Hamas means an end to the peace process."
The day before the agreement was signed Israel said it would not negotiate with a Palestinian government that included Hamas, which it considers a "terrorist group." Weeks earlier, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu complained that he could not negotiate with a fractured leadership.
"A Palestinian state is inevitable, the whole world supports the end of the occupation," Abbas said, reaffirming the aim to establish a state on the pre-1967 borders.
"Despite all hardships we face in refugee camps and under occupation, we have become more confident that our independent state is certainly coming," the president added.