Friday, October 30, 2020

Palestinians mark 71st Nakba anniversary across the West Bank and Gaza

By Myriam Purtscher - May 16, 2019
Section: [Main News]
Tags: [Nakba]


Thousands of Palestinians across the West Bank and Gaza commemorated 71 years since the Nakba or 'catastrophe’ on 15 May.


At least 47 Palestinians were injured by Israeli soldiers along the Gaza-Israel separation fence during Nakba protests, according to the Gaza Health Ministry.


Al Jazeera reported witnesses saw soldiers use live ammunition, tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets to disperse crowds who were near the eastern border fence.


The Nakba is commemorated to remember the ethnic cleansing by Zionist forces which led to the forcible expulsion of over 750,000 Palestinians from their historical homeland in 1948 during the creation of the Israeli state.


Protests in Ramallah also drew thousands of demonstrators, as Palestinians marched from the Yasser Arafat tomb to the Arafat square in the city centre.


Protesters waved flags and shouted in support for the right of refugees to return to their historic homeland and for the establishment of a recognised Palestinian state.


Head of the Palestine National Initiative, Dr Mustafa Barghouthi, urged Palestinians to use this Nakba day to unite amid fears of the US’s long-awaited 'deal of the century’.


“The Palestinian National Initiative calls on the Palestinian people, factions and forces, to take the 71st anniversary of the Nakba as an opportunity to restore national unity and escalate the popular resistance to deal with the so-called 'deal of the century’,” Barghouthi stated in a Facebook post.


According to Barghouthi, “we are fighting a battle of existence with the longest, ugliest, and most racist occupation in recent history.”


Barghouthi also called for the right of return for displaced Palestinians, stating it “is a sacred right and is a priority for national action,” and called for a response from international powers.


“The international community must shoulder its responsibilities in implementing [UN] resolution 194 on the return of refugees to their homes, and Israel has a historical and moral responsibility for our displacement.”


UN 'Resolution 194’ was created in 1948 and called on the newly formed Israeli state to allow "refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours … to do so at the earliest practicable date". However, the resolution was never implemented.


Thousands of Palestinians were killed or driven from their homes and communities were destroyed as the result of Mandatory Palestine being partitioned after World War Two ended, as the United Nations and world powers realigned the borders of the Middle East.


This resulted in approximately 15,000 Palestinians being killed, 418 towns and villages destroyed and around 750,000 Palestinians forcibly displaced.  


Many of the Palestinians who fled or were driven from their homes never returned to historic Palestine, much of which is now the modern-day state of Israel. Today, 74 per cent of the Palestinian population are refugees, 28.4 per cent of whom live in 58 refugee camps across the Middle East.


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