News / Middle East

    Palestinians Mark 65 Years Since Displacement

    Palestinian women rally to mark Nakba Day in the West Bank town of Ramallah, May 15, 2013. Palestinian women rally to mark Nakba Day in the West Bank town of Ramallah, May 15, 2013.
    x
    Palestinian women rally to mark Nakba Day in the West Bank town of Ramallah, May 15, 2013.
    Palestinian women rally to mark Nakba Day in the West Bank town of Ramallah, May 15, 2013.
    Reuters
    Palestinians clashed with Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank on Wednesday during demonstrations to mark 65 years since what they call the Nakba ("catastrophe") when Israel's creation caused many to lose their homes and become refugees.
           
    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is to return to the region on Tuesday in another bid to revive peace talks frozen since 2010.

    But a resolution remains elusive and many Palestinians cling to a desire for refugees and descendants to return to ancestral lands now in Israel - an idea Israel rejects, saying it would spell the end of the Jewish state.

    Protesters skirmished with Israeli forces outside a refugee camp near the West Bank city of Hebron and at a prison near Ramallah, leaving several Palestinians injured.

    A Palestininan throws back a tear gas cannister during clashes on Nakba Day near Hebron.A Palestininan throws back a tear gas cannister during clashes on Nakba Day near Hebron.
    x
    A Palestininan throws back a tear gas cannister during clashes on Nakba Day near Hebron.
    A Palestininan throws back a tear gas cannister during clashes on Nakba Day near Hebron.
    Thousands also rallied in the main square of Ramallah, the Palestinians' de facto capital while Jerusalem remains under Israeli control, holding up placards with the names of villages depopulated in 1948 and old keys, symbols of lost homes.

    "For the sake of my future and to return to my family's land, I don't want any more useless negotiations but the path of resistance and the rifle,'' said Ahmed al-Bedu, a gangly 15-year-old Palestinian who holds Jordanian citizenship.

    Local Arabs and the armies of neighboring Arab states failed in a 1948 war to stop the Jews settling in Palestine, who cited biblical ties to the land and a need for a Jewish state, which up to that time was under British colonial control.

    5.3 million registered refugees

    Many Arab residents fled or were expelled by force from their homes and prevented from returning. Only Jordan, which now has a peace treaty with Israel, gave the refugees citizenship.

    According to official Palestinian figures published this week, 5.3 million Palestinians - almost half of their total number in the world - are registered by the United Nations as refugees in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, the West Bank and Gaza. Many of them live in the concrete warrens of overcrowded camps, with poor access to employment and basic services.

    Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Western-backed Palestinian Authority and himself a refugee from a town now in northern Israel, stoked Palestinian outrage last year by telling an Israeli news channel he did not seek to return home.
           
    Saeb Erekat, Abbas's top negotiator with Israel, said on Wednesday that sectarian conflicts in Syria and Iraq endangered Palestinians there and that Israel's "refusal to assume responsibility for the refugee question'' and to agree on a "just solution'' for them was harming prospects for peace.

    The Palestinian Authority seeks an independent state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip with East Jerusalem as its capital - all lands captured by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war. Israel deems Jerusalem its "eternal and indivisible'' capital.

    Hamas, the Islamist movement that rules Gaza, refuses to recognize Israel or renounce violence against it, saying a refugee return can be attained only through force.
           
    "Any initiatives and solutions that do not secure the return of our full rights will be rejected by our people. Our holy land is not for sale or bargain,'' the group said in a statement.

    "Resistance by all its forms, and foremost armed resistance, will remain our way to extract our rights.''

    You May Like

    Video Somali, AU Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    Somalia’s Western backers frustrated over country’s slow progress in establishing its armed forces to bring security after 25 years of chaos

    Israel Makes Push for Gaza Strip Recovery

    After years of economic blockade and attempts to disable Hamas, Israeli leaders eventually realized that Hamas’ downfall could lead to chaos or the rise of a more radical Jihadist group

    Slump in Chinese Tourists Hitting Hong Kong Retail

    Mainland Chinese account for up to three-quarters of visitors to Hong Kong, but that number is falling, and shopping centers are struggling to 'shift gears' and maintain sales

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shababi
    X
    Henry Ridgwell
    April 28, 2016 4:20 PM
    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Town Receives Refugees but Lacks Resources

    A wave of refugees is pouring into the Kurdish town of Afrin in northern Syria as a result of fighting between rebel forces and Islamic State militants. VOA’s Amina Misto went to the town and reports local authorities are finding it difficult to cope with this influx of internally displaced people. Bronwyn Benito narrates her report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Build Human Tissue on Animal Matrix

    The question has always been, if a gecko can grow back its tail, why can't we regenerate our lost body parts? Well, maybe we can, someday. Scientists are moving towards the ability to rebuild fully functioning organs, and have made significant progress replacing muscles and other tissue.
    Video

    Video Containing Chernobyl Radiation Continues 30 Years After Explosion

    April 26 marks the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. Hundreds were killed following the explosion and it's estimated that thousands more have died from cancers caused by the radiation. Henry Ridgwell traveled to Chernobyl and reports for VOA on the continuing efforts to decommission the site -- and on the fledgling plans for a new future in the vast exclusion zone.
    Video

    Video Frustration Builds Among Refugees Trapped at Macedonian Border

    On the Greek border with Macedonia, 12,000 refugees continue to wait. Since the route to the rest of Europe was closed last month, the makeshift camp at Idomeni has seen protests and tear gas. But while those here wait, their frustration grows — as do reports of people attempting to find new ways of continuing their journey. John Owens reports from Idomeni.
    Video

    Video Researchers: Bees Help Kenyan Farmers Fend Off Elephants

    Elephant crop-raiding continues to be a major source of human-wildlife conflict in Kenya, so one elephant researcher is helping to alleviate the problem near Tsavo East National Park with beehive fences, which use elephants’ natural aversion to bees to deter them from farms. VOA’s Jill Craig visited the area ahead of this month's Giants Club Summit, which will bring together dignitaries at Mount Kenya to find solutions to combat poaching, the No. 1 threat to elephants.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora