Palestinians hit streets to mark Nakba anniversary

Thousands of Palestinians have hit the streets in the Westbank to mark the anniversary of the Nakba.

Palestinians hit streets to mark Nakba anniversary

World Bulletin / News Desk

Thousands of Palestinians on Wednesday demonstrated in the West Bank to mark the 67th anniversary of the "Nakba" when their ancestors were forcibly displaced from their villages in historical Palestine to make way for the new state of Israel.

"I will not give up my right to return to my hometown, from which my grandfather was displaced [during the Nakba]," Tala Nasser, 30, told Anadolu Agency while marching along with hundreds of others in Ramallah.

"I am here to deliver a message to the Israelis – and the world – that Lod is my city and that I will go back to live there, sooner or later," Nasser, whose grandfather was driven from the city by the Zionist Haganah group in 1948, added.

Nasser and his fellow marchers set out from the mausoleum of late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat en route to Dwar al-Manar Square at the city center.

Other marches were staged in the West Bank cities of Ramallah, Nablus, Al-Khalil, Jenin and Bethlehem.

Salem Matar, a 70-year-old Palestinian man who participated in the Ramallah march, told Anadolu Agency that he was only three years old when his family was driven out of the village of Dair Tarif, near what is today the Israeli city of Ramla.

"Seventy years has passed and I still dream of going back to the house of my father," he said.

Still holding the keys to his old home in Palestine, Matar said: "This is my legacy and my children’s legacy, which we will not forget."

He added: "We will go back to our land and will build a new house for this key."

Palestine Liberation Organization member Ahmed Majdalani, for his part, said the march was a reminder to the world that Palestinians had not forgotten their right to return to their ancestral land.

"The Palestinian people and leadership have not and will not give up the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their land," he added.

He went on to assert: "The solution to the Palestinian refugee issue – based on UN resolutions – is one of the main pillars of the Palestinian national cause."

Palestinian lawmaker Qais Abu Laila, for his part, said that every Palestinian should participate in commemorating "Nakba Day," which is marked each year on May 15.

"The right of Palestinian refugees to return [to their land] cannot be waived or repealed," he said.

Palestinian MP Mustafa Barghouti, meanwhile, called for "popular resistance" to safeguard the right of all Palestinian refugees who were displaced by Zionist groups in 1948 to return to their homes.

Later Wednesday, a march will be staged in the Jabel al-Mukaber neighborhood south of the Old City of Jerusalem, while another will be held at Bab al-Amoud, one of the entrances of the holy city.

"Beside the marches on Wednesday, Nakba Day rallies will be held in several West Bank cities on Thursday," Mohamed Alyan, who heads an activist group organizing Nakba Day activities, told Anadolu Agency.

"A candlelight vigil will be held at Arafat's grave to honor the Palestinian martyrs slaughtered by Zionist gangs in 1948," he said.

"On Friday, a rally will be held in the West Bank village of Nilin to celebrate the popular struggle against Israel's new Nakba-like land theft policies," Alyan added.

Palestinians use the word "Nakba" to refer to the destruction of hundreds of cities and villages in historical Palestine and the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their land by what Palestinians describe as Zionist groups and the subsequent establishment of Israel in 1948.

The Israel-Palestine conflict began in 1917 when the British government, in the now-famous "Balfour Declaration," called for "the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people."

In 1948, a newly-formed state inside historical Palestine – "Israel" – was established.

The Palestinian diaspora has since become one of the largest in the world. Palestinian refugees are now spread across Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and other countries, while many settled in refugee camps in the Palestinian West Bank and Gaza Strip.

The right to return to their homes in historical Palestine remains a key demand for many Palestinians.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 13 Mayıs 2015, 17:06