Palestinians mark 66th Nakba anniversary
By Anees Barghouthi, Thursday, May 15, 2014
RAMALLAH – Thousands of Palestinians on Thursday marked the passing of 66 years since the "Nakba" ("the catastrophe"), when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were driven from their land to make way for the new state of Israel in 1948.
Rallies were held in the West Bank cities of Ramallah, Nablus, Bethlehem and Al-Khalil (Hebron), with Palestinians waving black flags to mark the sad day in their history.
In Ramallah, Palestinians marched from the tomb of late iconic leader Yasser Arafat in central Ramallah to Dawar al-Manarah Square in the city's downtown district.
"Palestinians' right to return" and "No turning back from the right of return" were among the many slogans seen on banners waved by protesters to demand the right of thousands of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes inside what is now Israel.
Later Thursday, a sit-in will be staged outside Bab al-Amoud, one of the main entrances to the Old City of Al-Quds (occupied East Jerusalem), to commemorate the anniversary.
Similar activities are being organized across the Gaza Strip.
A 1947 U.N. General Assembly resolution stipulated the creation of independent Arab and Jewish states in what was then British-mandated Palestine.
Around 800,000 Palestinians were subsequently displaced and 500 Arab villages destroyed in attacks by armed Jewish groups at the time.
According to the U.N. Palestinian Refugees Agency (UNRWA), there are currently more than 5 million registered Palestinian refugees inside the occupied Palestinian territories, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.
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