Palestinians mark 65th anniversary of Catastrophe Day

Palestine

Palestinians are marking the 65th anniversary of the Nakba, when hundreds of thousands of Arabs were forced out of their homes and into exile.

Sirens will be sounded for 65 seconds and demonstrations will take place in Ramallah, Nablus, Tulkarem, Qalqilya, Bethlehem and Jericho to mark the day.

Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled or were forced from their villages during the war that established Israel in 1948, an event they commemorate every year as their Nakba Day, Arabic for “catastrophe”.

On Tuesday, the eve of the anniversary, Palestinians carried 65 torches through the streets of Ramallah to mark the event, while hundreds of others gathered around a stage to hear the Palestinian National Forces band play their instruments.

In the evening, a special pre-recorded speech by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was broadcast on Palestinian television.

Abbas said that the Palestinian right to an “independent state” had been affirmed by “countries all over the world” and called on the Israeli government to show its positive intentions during negotiations by releasing Palestinian prisoners.

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.

Source: Agencies

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