Palestine is ours, cry children on 'Nakba Day'

'They took my father and destroyed my house,' youngsters chant at Ramallah anti-Israel rally.

nakba rally 248 88 (photo credit: )
nakba rally 248 88
(photo credit: )
Chanting "We will return!" thousands of Palestinian school children marched here Thursday as part of Nakba (catastrophe) Day, the anniversary of the birth of Israel. In Lebanon, only a few hundred Palestinians took part in a march toward the border with Israel. The Palestinians were hoping that some 100,000 refugees would show up. The organizers claimed that Lebanese army checkpoints prevented thousands of refugees from approaching the border. In the Gaza Strip, two Palestinians were wounded in clashes with IDF soldiers near the Erez checkpoint, Palestinian medical sources reported. They said hundreds of Hamas supporters tried to march toward the checkpoint to mark Nakba Day. The rally here was not different from other anti-Israel protests that take place almost on a daily basis in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. It began shortly before noon when sirens were sounded in large parts of the city, sending thousands of schoolchildren toward the Mukata compound. Many were carrying placards with the names of former Arab villages inside Israel. Both the demonstrators and the speakers took parts in launching scathing attacks on Israel, using almost every available term, including "Apartheid State," "State of Terror" and "State of Nazism." There was no mention at all of the peace process, coexistence or even the two-state solution. On the contrary - many of the participants chanted slogans in which they expressed support for the armed struggle against Israel, while others said the Jews had no right whatsoever to the land. "Palestine is all ours," a group of high school students shouted. "We were here before the Jews who came from Europe, Russia and Ethiopia." Another group of male students dressed in black T-shirts with the writing 1948 marched in Manara Square in the center of the city chanting slogans praising Fatah's armed wing, the Aksa Martyrs Brigades. "Israel, be aware, the Aksa Martyrs Brigades will strike tonight," they chanted as some of them released black balloons into the sky. "The Aksa Brigades will liberate every inch of Palestine." A group of sixth-grade girls, flanked by three female teachers carrying Palestinian flags, chanted, "They took my father and destroyed my house, They beat my mother and spilled the [olive] oil, They uprooted the tree and killed the cow, They kicked us out of our homes and forced us to sleep outside." A few teenagers chanted slogans against the Arab leaders whom they accused of failing to support the Palestinians. "Let's spit on the Arab leaders twice," they said. "And let the first ones be [Jordan's] King Abdullah and [Egyptian President Hosni] Mubarak." Speakers at the event declared that the Palestinians would never surrender the "right of return" for all refugees. "Sixty years later, the nakba of the Palestinians is still continuing," said schoolteacher Amjad Tawil. "This year we decided to focus on the young people so that they would continue to carry our message, namely that we will never abandon the right of return." In a televised speech, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said it was high time to end the "disgraceful nakba." He added: "Our hands, which struggled over the past 60 years, are still extended for peace. Sixty years have passed and our people are still dreaming of freedom. Sixty years have passed and our people are still hoping to return and end the occupation of their lands." Abbas said that Israel's security was linked to the independence of the Palestinians and the end of their "nakba."