Galilee Arabs to hold ‘Nakba march’

Over 1,000 Arab Israelis expected to hold protest march in Galilee to mourn 63 years since exodus that accompanied the founding of state.

May 9, 2011 02:47
1 minute read.
Palestinian women celebrate Nakba day, May 2010.

nakba day_311 reuters. (photo credit: Sharif Karim / Reuters)

Over a thousand Arab Israelis are expected to hold a protest march in the Galilee on Tuesday to mourn 63 years since the Palestinian exodus that accompanied the founding of the state, the Arab Higher Monitoring Committee said on Sunday.

Tuesday is Israel’s Independence Day.

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Muhammad Zidane, the head of the committee, told The Jerusalem Post the march would pass from the former site of the village of al-Ruways to the one-time site of the village Amoun before holding a vigil at the entrance to the present day village of Kabul, 14 kilometers southeast of Acre.

According to Zidane, both villages were destroyed during the War of Independence after their residents fled.

“The message of this day is that we don’t forget what happened and we are asking that those who left their villages must be allowed to return,” Zidane said.

He said there are around 300,000 Arabs in Israel who were displaced during the war and lost any land rights to their former homes.

Zidane said there will be additional protests and marches in local Arab authorities across Israel, and that in these ceremonies they will “go and visit the sites of the villages and the cemeteries, which have become symbols of the communities that were destroyed and uprooted by force.”

This year Independence Day falls a little less than a week before Nakba Day on May 15.

Nakba Day commemorations are expected to be larger than in previous years, mainly because the Knesset in March approved the so-called “Nakba Law,” which calls on the state to fine local authorities and other state-funded bodies if they hold events marking Independence Day as the Nakba (“catastrophe” in Arabic).

The Israel Beiteinu-sponsored law also calls for fines of local authorities if they are found to support “armed resistance” or racism against Israel. It also bans desecration of the state flag or national symbols.

Commemorations for this year’s Nakba Day are planned for Taibe, Haifa and Jaffa beginning on the night of May 14, and will be followed by commemorations by local authorities throughout the Arab sector the next day.

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