JERUSALEM, Israel - United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon sparked controversy Thursday after suggesting empathy for Palestinians on what they call Nakba Day.
Nakba, which means "catastrophe," marks the resulting flight of Palestinian Arabs during Israel's independence in 1948.
During a phone call of support to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas Thursday evening, Ban used the word Nakba, much to the chagrin of Israelis.
Deputy head of Israel's U.N. mission, Daniel Carmon, contends that the word Nakba is meant to undermine the legitimacy of Israel's founding. Carmon suggests banning the use of the term, particularly at the U.N.
Ban has since indicated that he was unaware of the derogatory connotations attached to the word.
Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said Thursday night during that president's conference that Palestinians will no longer need to mourn Nakba once peace arrives.
Instead, "The Palestinians will celebrate [their own] Independence Day. On that day, they will erase the word nakba [catastrophe] from their lexicon," Livni said.
Sources: The Jerusalem Post, YNet News