Several thousand Palestinians and their supporters gathered in the Galilee on Israeli Independence Day, 10 May, to mark the Nakba,the forced exodus of approximately 750,000 Palestinians from their homes before and during the creation of Israel in 1948.
The 14th annual âMarch of Returnâ was held between two Palestinian villages that were destroyed in 1948, al-Damun and al-Ruways. Participants in the march waved Palestinian flags, chanted for the Palestinian right of return and held signs displaying the names of the over 400 Palestinian villages that were destroyed during the Nakba.
The event culminated with speeches and musical performances in a park, which now stands where al-Ruways once was. Black and white photographs of destroyed villages â and images of Israeli violence during Palestinian anti-wall demonstrations from recent years â were also on display.
Razi Nabulse, a 22-year-old student from Hebrew University, was one of the organizers of the march in Jerusalem.
âIn 1948, a part of the Palestinian people was expelled from their homes. They are of course considered as an integral part of the Palestinian people. And their return is an integral part of our struggle and of the Palestinian cause,â he said.
â[At the march] we expressed a message that we will not give up the right of return of the Palestinian refugees.â
Nabulse added that more events have been organized to commemorate the Nakba, including a youth-led march in Jaffa on Saturday, May 14. After the march, a musical performance is scheduled, featuring artists Amal Murkus, Saz and popular Palestinian hip-hop group DAM.
Nakba Day itself takes place annually on 15 May. This year, a variety of events are planned for throughout Israel, the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
(All photos: Jill Kestler D'Amours, Alternative Information Center)