Israel actually celebrates its independence according to the Jewish calendar, so the western date is different every year, and this year it will actually be celebrated on April 19.However, Israel's Independence Day is an significant date not just for Israelis. Palestinians refer to Israel’s establishment in 1948 as the Nakba, Arabic for catastrophe, when hundreds of thousands lost their homes and became refugees. Nakba Day is marked annually on May 15, the same day as the Gregorian anniversary of the day Israel declared itself a state. Accordingly, on their official Twitter account, the PLO published a quote from Dr. Hanan Ashrawi, a Palestinian activist and scholar, saying that "They deliberately chose a tragic day in Palestinian history, as an act of gratuitous cruelty adding insult to injury."
This is a great moment for the State of Israel. @POTUS Trump's decision to move the American Embassy to Jerusalem will make our Independence Day celebrations even happier.Thank you, President Trump, for your leadership, and for your friendship. pic.twitter.com/PFQKaPoy7W— Benjamin Netanyahu (@netanyahu) February 24, 2018
Dr. Hanan Ashrawi on US Decision to Move its Embassy to #Jerusalem: they deliberately chose a tragic day in Palestinian history, "the Nakba", as an act of gratuitous cruelty adding insult to injury. #Palestine pic.twitter.com/ndpsYSVFYx— Palestine PLO-NAD (@nadplo) February 24, 2018
Immediately after the announcement on Friday, clashes erupted across Gaza and the West Bank in weekly protests and Hamas officials called the move a declaration of war."Moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem is a declaration of war against the Arab and Muslim nation, and the US administration must reconsider its move," Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas official in Gaza, said.Saeb Erekat, senior Palestinian negotiator, said on Friday: "The US decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and now to move its embassy on the eve of marking 70 years since the Nakba, the ethnic cleansing of at least 418 Palestinian villages, and the forcible displacement of two thirds of our people, shows the determination to violate international law, destroy the two-state solution and provoke the feelings of the Palestinian people as well as of all Arabs, Muslims and Christians around the globe.""This is an unacceptable step. Any unilateral move will not give legitimacy to anyone and will be an obstacle to any effort to create peace in the region," said Nabil Abu Rdainah, a spokesman for the Palestinian Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas.Reuters contributed to this report.