Palestinians mark 65th anniversary of Nakba Day

Wed May 15, 2013 09:23:21

Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, the 1948 areas and the diaspora have marked the 65th anniversary of the Nakba Day by organizing rallies in the Palestinian territories and around the world.

Hundreds of Palestinians held a demonstration in the West Bank city of Bethlehem on Tuesday to commemorate the Nakba, also known as the Day of Catastrophe.

Israeli forces attacked the demonstrators with tear gas and rubber bullets as they were heading to their ancestral villages, which are now under Israeli occupation.


Similar demonstrations have been held in the Gaza Strip.


Meanwhile, Palestinian refugees gathered in front of a UN office in the Lebanese capital, Beirut, to reiterate their right of return to their land.


While marking the day, Mohammad Zboun, who is a resident of a Palestinian refugee camp in the West Bank, said that he has one wish before his death.


He wants to be buried in his original hometown, located in the occupied lands.


Zboun,86, says he's from the village of Allar and moved to the Aida refugee camp in Bethlehem during the war that followed Israel's creation in 1948.


To prove it, he holds a large metal key to his former house in Allar - known today as Mata.


Palestinians refer to the events of 1948 - when hundreds of thousands fled or were driven from their homes - as the "Nakba", which in Arabic means catastrophe.


"Bury me in my land, the land of Palestine. 65 years have passed since we left it and hopefully I will be buried there," Mohammad said while dictating his will to his grandson, Ghasan.


"I've told my children and grandchildren to bury me where my father was buried, where my grandfather was buried, where my mother was buried, and where all my great-grandfathers were buried, in our village. I want to be buried with them," Mohammed said, handing the rusty key to his grandson.


Palestinians have maintained for six decades that those who either fled or were expelled from their homes during the fighting that followed Israel's 1948 creation, as well as all their descendants, all have the right to reclaim former properties in what is now Israel.


The uprooted Palestinians and their offspring, now numbering several million people, cite United Nations resolutions in claiming the right to return to the property they left behind.


Ghassan says that he too wishes to one day return to their homes, now in Israel.


Every year on May 15, Palestinians all over the world hold demonstrations to commemorate Nakba Day, which marks the anniversary of the forcible eviction of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their homeland by Israelis and the creation of Israel in 1948.


On May 15, 1948, Israeli forces displaced some 700,000 Palestinians, forcing them to flee to different neighboring countries.


Israeli soldiers also wiped nearly 500 Palestinian villages and towns off the map, leaving an estimated total of 4.7 million Palestinian refugees and their descendants dreaming of an eventual return to their ancestral homeland more than six decades later.