GAZA CITY: Palestinians rallied on Sunday to mark the Nakba 74 years after Israel’s creation, with condemnation widespread over a police raid at the funeral of slain Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh.
Social media sites were flooded with stories from the time of the displacement in 1948 and posts commemorating the Nakba and calling for the right to return.
The annual demonstrations across all Palestinian cities in the West Bank and Gaza Strip came amid high tensions over the killing of Akleh, 51, and a series of military confrontations last month during Ramadan, which saw subsequent Israeli military incursions into Palestinian cities.
The great Palestinian people cannot be defeated, nor can their will be broken, simply because they have a right and a just cause that cannot be obliterated by false narratives.
Mahmoud Abbas, President of Palestine
Despite the exchange of threats with Hamas, Israel reopened on Sunday its only crossing with the Gaza Strip to Palestinian workers nearly two weeks after closing it over the unrest.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas made a speech on the commemoration of the Nakba Saturday evening from the city of Ramallah.
“Staying on [the land], regardless of the difficulties, complications and brutal crimes of the occupation, is the best response to the Nakba, and to the mentality of ethnic cleansing, settlement and Judaization,” he said.
Abbas added: “The great Palestinian people cannot be defeated, nor can their will be broken, simply because they have a right and a just cause that cannot be obliterated by false narratives.”
The anniversary of the Nakba comes amid Palestinian condemnation of the Israeli announcement to build new units in Israeli settlements in the West Bank.
Palestinian factions and the Popular Committee for Refugees in the cities of Gaza and Ramallah organized two central marches to commemorate the Nakba.
Palestinian flags were raised at the events under the slogan “Enough of 74 years of injustice and double standards.”
The march in Ramallah, in which thousands of people participated, started from the tomb of former Palestinian President Yasser Arafat and proceeded toward the city center.
The march in Gaza started from Al-Katiba Square and proceeded toward the UN headquarters in Gaza City.
Hamas issued a statement to mark the anniversary.
“There is no legitimacy for the occupation over an inch of our land, our sanctuaries, and we are on the path of comprehensive resistance until liberation and return.”
The statement added: “Seventy-four years after the occupation of our land and the displacement of our people, and despite all the massacres and crimes committed by the enemy throughout its dark history, in the longest continuous occupation in the world, the Palestinian people are still steadfast on their land, adhering to their rights and… [serving as] the finest examples of heroism, sacrifice, patience and jihad.”
The Palestinian News Agency WAFA issued statistics showing that the number of Palestinians has reached more than 5 million in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Jerusalem following the displacement of about 800,000 Palestinians in 1948, while the Israeli army has killed about 100,000 Palestinians since then.