World Bulletin / News Desk
Thousands of Arab Israelis on Tuesday flocked to the depopulated Arab village of Lubya to commemorate Nakba Day, or "the catastrophe," which coincides with Israel's Independence Day.
The annual "March of Return," organized by the Association for the Defense of the Rights of Internally Displaced Persons, set out from the depopulated village, which was destroyed by Jewish militias in 1948 in the run-up to Israel's establishment.
For the past 17 years, Arab Israelis have marked the occasion by marching to Lubya to reiterate their commitment to the Palestinian right to return to their ancestral homeland.
"On the day of their 'independence,' we commemorate our nakba, so that the world won't forget what happened to us in 1948," association secretary Wakim Wakin told Anadolu Agency.
"We invited people and local NGOs to participate in this march, in which we only raise the Palestinian flag," he added.
Palestinians have long referred to Israel's establishment – which led to the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their traditional homes – as the "nakba" or "catastrophe."
"Israel displaced 850,000 Palestinians and destroyed more than 500 villages in 1948. And the [Israeli] policy of land confiscation and displacement continues to this day, especially in the Negev," Wakin said.
At the end of the march, members of the Arab community in Israel are expected to take part in a host of political and cultural activities.
"For 17 years I participated in this demonstration. This year I brought my grandson with me," Ahmad Abed, 58, who attended the march, told AA.
"It's our duty to keep the nakba alive in the consciousness of our children," he added.
Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip are expected to commemorate the 66th anniversary of the nakba on May 15 by holding several festivals and marches.
Over 4.7 million Palestinians, both inside and outside the Palestinian territories, are currently registered as refugees by the U.N.Last Mod: 07 Mayıs 2014, 10:11