Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas on Friday warned against a “second Nakba” catastrophe facing Palestinians after the Israeli army ordered more than one million people to evacuate north Gaza.
Abbas “completely rejects the displacement of our people from the Gaza Strip, because it will be tantamount to a second Nakba for our people,” he said, according to a statement published by the official Palestinian news agency Wafa.
The Nakba, or “catastrophe”, refers to some 760,000 Palestinians who fled or were expelled from their homes during the 1948 war that coincided with Israel’s creation.
His remarks came after the Israeli military dropped leaflets on the blockaded Gaza Strip warning people to flee from the north, an area home to some 1.1 million people.
Abbas’s Palestinian Authority is seated in Ramallah, in the occupied West Bank, and is split from the militant group Hamas which rules Gaza.
Israeli forces have launched thousands of strikes on Gaza since Saturday, killing more than 1,530 people according to a health ministry toll.
The war erupted in the wake of cross-border attacks by Hamas militants, which killed more than 1,300 people, the Israeli military said.