PALESTINIANS commemorated the 71st anniversary of the Nakba Day (May 15th – the Day of Catastrophe) in the occupied West Bank and the blockaded Gaza Strip with mass protests against Israel and the US, the regime’s staunch supporter.
Palestinians marked the occasion — when the Israeli regime proclaimed its existence and drove hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their homeland in 1948 — with protest rallies in the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
The Israeli military deployed the so-called Iron Dome missile system across the occupied territories and closed some of the Gaza streets.
In southern Gaza, Israeli forces used skunk water cannon to disperse Palestinian protesters.
In a recent communiqué, the National and Islamic Forces, the supreme coordinating body of the major Palestinian factions, called for widespread participation in Wednesday’s demonstrations to mark the forcible eviction of Palestinians from their motherland by the Tel Aviv regime in 1948.
Similarly, the organising committee of the weekly anti-occupation Great March of Return protests in Gaza urged Palestinians to join the Nakba Day rallies in the coastal sliver and stage a general strike at schools, universities and colleges.
The Hamas resistance movement, which runs Gaza, also called on Palestinian people to attend all the rallies and events marking the occasion.
Speaking in Ramallah on the eve of Nakba Day, Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said Israel has targeted Palestine’s geography and demography, while the US has imposed a financial war on the Palestinian nation in support of the occupying regime.
‘Israel is waging a war of geography on us by confiscating our land on a daily basis,’ he said. ‘We are also facing a war of demography to expel our people from Jerusalem (al-Quds).
‘This US administration and its ally, Israel, believe that it would be possible “to defeat us with a financial siege and other measures, including the closure of the PLO (Palestine Liberation Organisation) diplomatic mission in Washington, and cutting aid to UNRWA, in order to force us to accept the deal of shame,’ he noted, referring to US President Donald Trump’s controversial yet-to-be-unveiled proposal on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The Nakba Day is marked annually on May 15th. It refers to the forcible expulsion of some 700,000 Palestinians from their lands in 1948 and their scattering across refugee camps in the West Bank, Gaza, and neighbouring countries.
Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the PLO Executive Committee, said in a statement marking the Nakba Day that the Trump administration’s unilateral measures against the Palestinians are a new Nakba.
She also called for a ‘multilateral international gathering to confront the US-Israeli alliance and schemes, including the so-called ‘deal of the century’.
‘We count on peace lovers all over the world to support our just cause and human rights in the face of the fascist forces led by the Trump administration and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu,’ she added.
The Palestinian Authority’s ruling Fatah party said that as they commemorate Nakba Day, the Palestinians are more determined to ‘uphold their principles and legitimate rights, including the right of return, self-determination and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital’.
On Tuesday, thousands of Palestinians took part in a rally marking the Nakba Day in front of the offices of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) in Gaza.
The protest was held under the banner: ‘From the ashes of the Nakba to the embodiment of the right of return. Down with all the conspiracies.’
Addressing the crowd, Ahmed Abu Holi, a member of the PLO Executive Committee and head of the National Committee for Commemorating the Nakba, stressed that the Palestinians would not accept the ‘deal of the century’.
‘The issues of Jerusalem (al-Quds) and the refugees are not for sale or bargaining,’ he said.
‘The Palestinian people will not sell their rights and principles in return for dollars, and will not compromise on the payments to the families of martyrs and prisoners. We will not surrender to blackmail.’
The US President Donald Trump moved the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem al-Quds on May 14th 2018, on the eve of the Nakba Day, sparking angry reactions by the Palestinians and drew the criticism of the international community.
Trump is expected to soon unveil the so-called deal of the century, which is said to be hugely in favour of the Israeli regime.
- On the anniversary of the day when the Israeli regime declared its existence 71 years ago, Iran described Tel Aviv as the root cause of crises in the Middle East and a real threat to world peace.
The Iranian Foreign Ministry released a statement on Tuesday, on the eve of Nakba Day when, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were forcibly evicted from their homeland and when Tel Aviv proclaimed existence.
‘On Nakba Day, an illegitimate entity called the Zionist regime of Israel supported by the United States came into being by occupying the Palestinian land and continued to exist with war, crime and occupation, and has turned into the main source of all regional crises and a real threat to international peace and security,’ the statement read.
The statement expressed Iran’s support for the Palestinian cause, calling on the international community, the United Nations in particular, to shoulder its responsibility to take major steps to end Israeli occupation and aggression, restore the Palestinian people’s rights, and establish an independent Palestinian state with al-Quds as its capital.
The Israeli regime has been building settlements deep into occupied territories, defying international demands and complicating the Palestinians’ aspirations for an independent state.
Over the course of nearly two and a half years since it took over, the administration of US President Donald Trump has also taken an aggressive approach against the Palestinians and in favour of the Israeli regime.
The Trump administration has unilaterally recognised Jerusalem al-Quds as the ‘capital’ of Israel and has moved its embassy there, further alienating the Palestinians.
‘International circles are expected to take major steps to end the occupation, crimes and incessant acts of aggression by the Zionist regime and set the stage for the return of Palestinian refugees to their motherland and for holding a referendum attended by all major owners of this territory, including Muslims, Christians and Jews, in order to determine the type of their political system, the Iranian Foreign Ministry said.
Since March 30th last year, Palestinians in the Israeli-blockaded Gaza Strip have been holding rallies to assert the right of displaced Palestinians to return to their homelands.
More than 260 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces in those protests. Over 26,000 Palestinians have also sustained injuries.
On the eve of the 70th anniversary of Nakba Day last year, the Gaza clashes reached a peak.
Meanwhile, thousands of pro-Palestinian protesters marched in London last Saturday to mark the 71st anniversary of Nakba Day, with several prominent figures making speeches to demand the end of Britain’s support for Israel.