News

Palestinians Express Anger on 60th Anniversary of Israel's Creation

Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip on Thursday marked the 60th anniversary of the 1948 war that followed Israel's independence, when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled into exile.  VOA's Jim Teeple reports the observances took place as President Bush spoke to the Israeli Knesset, or parliament, saying he envisioned a future Palestinian state living side-by-side with Israel in peace.

Thousands of Palestinian schoolchildren gathered at Manara Square in downtown Ramallah to release black balloons over the city to commemorate what Palestinians call the Nakba, or the catastrophe, when Israel was founded 60 years ago.

Many Palestinians like Maha, who declined to give her last name, said they were angry with President Bush for not visiting the Palestinian territories as he did in January during his last visit to the region.

"Yes it means a lot.  How come he celebrates the establishment or the 60th anniversary of Israel and does not look at the other side of the coin, the other face of the coin?" Maha asked.

In his annual Nakba speech moderate Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called for reconciliation and unity among Palestinians - divided since last year's violent takeover of the Gaza Strip by Hamas militants.  Tensions were high in Gaza after Hamas security forces stopped Fatah allies of President Abbas from holding a Nakba rally.  

In his Nakba speech to Palestinians President Mahmoud Abbas said he would continue peace talks with Israel, aimed at reaching some sort of framework peace agreement by the end of this year.  Mr. Abbas will meet with Mr. Bush this Saturday in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh. 

Issam Arruri who directs the Jerusalem Legal Aid Center in Ramallah says many Palestinians are skeptical that Mr. Abbas can achieve anything in the talks. 

"I think the whole issue has become a sort of PR (Public Relations) game," Arruri said. "Most Palestinians are not confident that this process lead to any progress in the peace process.  They see it just being used for political reasons, and there will not be real progress on the ground."

The mood in Ramallah was in stark contrast to the mood in Israel just a few kilometers away.   During the past week, Israelis have been holding gala celebrations and conferences commemorating their 60th anniversary.  For many Palestinians the memory of their lost homes in what is now Israel is a 60-year source of frustration. 

Longtime PLO activist Dr. Alfred Tobasi who spent the first 20 years of his life in the port city of Jaffa says he remembers Jaffa every day.

"It is very difficult to forget the memories," Tobasi said. "I cannot stop thinking about my 20 years in Jaffa, I cannot stop thinking."

Dr. Tobasi says like many upper-middle class Palestinians most of his family is now scattered around the world.  He says he hopes they will not have to wait another 60 years to live together again, in an independent Palestinian state of their own.  


 

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’i
X
July 29, 2015 9:34 PM
Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Scouts' Decision on Gays Meets Acceptance in Founder's Hometown

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

VOA Blogs