A 68-second siren was sounded in all cities in the West Bank at noon on Sunday in commemoration of Nakba Day, marked each year on May 15 by Palestinians who describe the creation of Israel as the Nakba, or catastrophe.
In Bethlehem, Palestinians commemorated the Nakba by creating a special “Return Train,” a black train decorated with slogans such as “Return is our right and our will.”
The train – which bore the names of cities where Palestinians lost their homes in the 1948 war that resulted in the creation of the State of Israel and the flight of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians – set off in Bethlehem with a “train guard” blowing his horn, heading for Rachel’s Tomb, which is considered a holy site by Jews, Christians and Muslims.
The number “194” appeared on the train’s engine, referring to United Nations General Assembly Resolution 194, according to which: “Refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbors should be permitted to do so.”
In Nablus, dozens of Palestinians took to the streets to demonstrate, displaying banners bearing keys, symbolizing the keys to the houses they abandoned.
In Gaza, Hamas on Saturday inaugurated its annual exhibition in commemoration of the Nakba, titled, “The pains of fleeing and the hopes of return.”
“Today, our pain coalesces with hope due to our resistance project,” said Dr. Mahir Sabra, one of Hamas’s leaders who attended the inauguration ceremony of the exhibit as he asked Israel to “read well” the messages sent to it by the Izzadin Kassam Brigades in Gaza and from the youth uprising against it in the West Bank.
“The series of pain and suffering is now reaching its end because the generation of the Jerusalem intifada and the heroes of Operation Protective Edge are writing new equations every day and Palestine is praising them,” Sabra said.