mega888 Thousands March on Al Nakba Day to Protest the Continuing Theft of Palestinian Land
Thousands March on Al Nakba Day to Protest the Continuing Theft of Palestinian Land
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Thousands March on Al Nakba Day to Protest the Continuing Theft of Palestinian Land

***image2***Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets throughout Palestine on the 15th of May to commemorate Nakba Day – the Catastrophe of 1948 that heralded the beginning of the Occupation, the destruction of more than 450 Palestinian villages and the expulsion of around 800,000 Palestinians, beginning a process of expulsion which continues today. 57 years later, the Apartheid Wall is the latest stage in implementing the ultimate Zionist aim to expel the entire Palestinian people from their homeland.

Rallies held across the West Bank, Gaza, Jerusalem and the rest of Occupied Palestine and the Diaspora denounced the theft of Palestinian lands in 1948, and also the theft continuing today through the Occupation’s Apartheid infrastructure of the Wall, the expansion of settlements, the Jewish-only road systems and Occupation military zones.

Demonstrators declared that the Palestinian struggle has intensified in the 57 years of Occupation and that the return of refugees to the lands from which they were expelled – whether in the 1948 Nakba, or 1967, or the present day – is a right that cannot be negotiated or compromised. Today there are over 5 million Palestinian refugees worldwide, over half still languishing in the refugee camps of Lebanon and Jordan, determined that they will return to their homes.

In Ramallah, 2,000 demonstrators assembled at midday around Al-Manara Square in the downtown area. People came from villages throughout the district, braving the Occupation checkpoints and closures to participate in the mass event.

School children, activists, political parties and community leaders all spoke to the assembled crowd, demanding an end to the ongoing Occupation and an end to the Wall and the Occupation’s apartheid policies. Demonstrators then marched to the Muqata compound, the home of the Palestinian National Authority, declaring that resistance to the Occupation and its attempt to expel all Palestinians in one final Nakba will never cease.

These events were echoed across Palestine. In Nablus, demonstrators demanded the right of return for refugees, and in Tulkarem, hundreds of people marched in defence of the rights of internal refugees remaining inside the West Bank but forced from their land. Thousands of Palestinians marched in areas occupied in 1948, particularly in the Galilee region.

Speakers recited the names of some of the villages destroyed in 1948: Deir Yassin, Saffuriya, Malha, Abbasiyya, Deir Tarif and many more.

In all, 476 Palestinian villages were destroyed and ethnically cleansed during the Zionist invasion, with hundreds of thousands of Palestinians expelled from their lands and forced into neighbouring countries. Hundreds of Palestinians were murdered in village massacres such as at Deir Yassin and Tantura. The villages were then either destroyed or used by the Occupation to house incoming Jewish settlers.

For Palestinians, the Apartheid Wall is the third Nakba, continuing the ongoing crimes of 1948 and 1967 in realizing the Zionist project of establishing a Jewish-only state in all of Palestine. In 1948, 1967 and now through the Apartheid Wall, this has been planned through the destruction and confiscation of land and the expulsion of Palestinians from our homes.

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Each time the amount of land left for Palestinians to live on diminishes. Upon the Wall’s completion, Palestinians will be left with just 12% of historic Palestine and imprisoned in a series of ghettos and Bantustans.

Many villages that had land stolen in 1948 are now losing further land behind the Wall and the expansion of settlements. Villages such as Budrus, Barta’a, Irtah, Deir Ballut and Al Walaja each had thousands of people expelled and thousands of dunums of land annexed in 1948. Today they are along the route of the Wall and the theft of their lands is continuing.

The rallies across Palestine on Nakba day made it clear that the Palestinian commitment to resistance is not diminishing and that the determination to reclaim land and homes is stronger than ever before. Just as the Palestinian people refused to accept the destruction of the nation during the Nakba, the Wall will not destroy the struggle for liberation.

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