News / Middle East

    Palestinians Mark Nakba Day

    Israeli riot and undercover policemen arrest a Palestinian protester during clashes in the east Jerusalem Arab neighborhood of Issawiya, May 15, 2012.
    Israeli riot and undercover policemen arrest a Palestinian protester during clashes in the east Jerusalem Arab neighborhood of Issawiya, May 15, 2012.
    VOA News
    Palestinians and Arab Israelis are commemorating "Nakba" day to mark the exodus of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians after the state of Israel was established in 1948.

    Palestinians observe "Nakba", which means "catastrophe," with demonstrations every year on May 15, the day after the anniversary of Israel's creation. Israel uses the Hebrew calendar and therefore celebrated its 64th anniversary on April 26 this year.

    More than 700,000 Palestinians are estimated to have fled or been forced to leave their homes during the war that followed Israel's declaration of statehood in 1948.

    • Palestinian women take part in celebrations after a deal to end a prisoners hunger strike was agreed to, in the West Bank city of Ramallah, May 14, 2012.
    • A Palestinian man stands in a symbolic prison cell during a protest supporting Palestinian inmates on hunger strike in Israeli jails, in the West Bank city of Ramallah, May 14, 2012.
    • A Palestinian man gestures from inside a mock prison cell during a rally in the West Bank city of Ramallah, in support of Palestinian prisoners on a hunger strike in Israeli jails, May 14, 2012.
    • A Palestinian boy readies to throw a flaming molotov cocktail towards Israeli soldiers deployed at the entrance of the al-Aroub Palestinian refugee camp, May 15, 2012.
    • An elderly Palestinian man walks past Israeli soldiers deployed at the entrance of the al-Aroub Palestinian refugee camp, just north the West Bank town of Hebron, May 15, 2012.
    • Palestinians hold up a symbolic key during the 64th anniversary of "Nakba", Arabic for catastrophe, the term used to mark the events leading to Israel's founding in 1948, in Gaza City, May 15, 2012.
    The anniversary comes just hours after hundreds of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails agreed to end a weeks-long hunger strike in exchange for promises of better conditions.

    Israel Prisons Service spokeswoman Sivan Weizman confirmed late Monday that a deal had been reached. The deal averts fears of widespread unrest if any of the inmates had died from the strike.

    Egypt and Jordan played key roles in mediating between the Israelis and prison leaders representing all Palestinian factions.

    The Palestinians won key concessions, including more family visits and limits to a controversial Israeli policy that can imprison people for years without charge.

    The agreement also saw roughly 20 prisoners released from solitary confinement back into the general prison population. These include Hamas member Abdullah al-Barghouthi, serving 67 life sentences for helping to plan a series of suicide bombings that killed scores of civilians.

    In return, Israel extracted pledges by militant groups "to prevent terror activities."

    The hunger strike garnered widespread support among Palestinians, with hundreds joining daily marches and sit-in protests.

    Outside mediation was necessary because many of the striking prisoners were associated with groups that Israel has no direct contact with, including Hamas, which refuses to recognize Israel, and the even more militant Islamic Jihad.

    The mass action was sparked by Khader Adnan, an Islamic Jihad spokesman who fasted for 66 days this year to demand his release from incarceration without charge. He ended his fast after Israeli authorities agreed to release him a few weeks early.

    Some information for this report was provided by AFP.

     

    Join the conversation on our social journalism site -
    Middle East Voices. Follow our Middle East reports on
    Twitter and discuss them on our Facebook page.

    You May Like

    In Britain, The Sun Still Doesn’t Shine

    Invoking Spitfires and Merlin, Leave voters insist country can be great again, following surprising 'Brexit' vote last week

    Double Wave of Suicide Bombings Puts Lebanon, Refugees on Edge

    Following suicide bombings in Christian town of Al-Qaa, on Lebanon's northeast border with Syria, fears of further bombings have risen

    US Senators Warned on Zika After Failing to Pass Funding

    Zika threats and challenges, as well as issues of contraception and vaccines, spelled out as lawmakers point fingers

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Marc Berenzweig from: Greenwich CT USA
    May 15, 2012 9:37 PM
    The "catastrophe" of the fleeing of Israeli Palestinians in 1948 is
    that they were invited far in advance to remain in what was soon to be the state of Israel as Israel citizens with full civil rights. The nascent government assured Israeli Arabs of the sanctity of the homes and land.
    The Jordanian effendi spread panic and fear, agitating the Israel Arab population.
    The "catastrophe" was exogenous agitation, now another specious part of Arab-Israeli history.

    by: Gab to Shaq of LA from: USA
    May 15, 2012 2:02 PM
    You are the one that is ignorant. Germany and Poland were devastated after WWII, and had the stench of 17 million people, six million were Jews, who died in the forced labor camps and concentration camps. And you think that that should be the international birth place of Israel?

    Israel's international "birth certificate" was validated by all three ancient Biblical texts; Jewish settlement from the time of Joshua onward; the Balfour Declaration of 1917; the League of Nations Mandate, which incorporated the Balfour Declaration; the United Nations partition resolution of 1947; Israel's admission to the UN in 1949; the recognition of Israel by most other states; and, most of all, the society created by Israel's people in decades of thriving, dynamic national existence.

    by: Gab to Shaq of LA from: USA
    May 15, 2012 1:32 PM
    Of the 57 seven declared Muslim Countries, what happened to the indigenous people and their beliefs who "did not accept Islam"? What happened to the Jews and Christians of Mecca? What happened to the West Bank, the cradle of Jewish civilization, the birth place of Solomon, David, and Jesus? It appears that you do not want Jews to live there. Why?

    by: shaq from: Los Angeles
    May 15, 2012 12:01 PM
    Gab, don't be so innocent and ignorant of the history and facts that Palestinian land was forcefully taken by the Zionist conspiracy with the active help of Western allies. Even after 64 years they still actively support the occupation. Allied forces i.e Britain, France and USA wanted to reward the jews for their death and suffering for second world war at the hands of Nazi Germany.
    Instead of carving a country for European Jews out of Germany and Poland where the jews have been living for the past two millenium they forced the jews to migrate to Palestine. Regardless of how you try to spin the truth about Isreal the fact remain fact.
    In Response

    by: Gab from: USA
    May 15, 2012 10:19 PM
    The most successful Muslim operation of the last two centuries has been the ethnic cleansing and removal of millions of Christians, Jews, Hindus and Buddhists from the Islamic world. There are 57 Muslims Countries, all members of the United Nations. What happened to all the indigenous people and beliefs that "rejected" Islam during the Arab/Islamic invasions?

    Jews have a language, a history, a coin, a religion that tie them to the Kingdom of Israel. Arabs have a language, a history, and a religion that tie them to Arabia. Arabs now have 22 Arab Countries and fly the banner of Islam over 99.9% of the Middle East land mass. Can you justify them having 100% of the land? Try using a balanced scale.

    You wanted them to make a Jewish homeland in the destruction of WWII Germany and Poland while the stench of millions of burnt Jews still lingered in the air.

    Israel's international "birth certificate" was validated by all three ancient Biblical texts; Jewish settlement from the time of Joshua onward; the Balfour Declaration of 1917; the League of Nations Mandate, which incorporated the Balfour Declaration; the United Nations partition resolution of 1947; Israel's admission to the UN in 1949; the recognition of Israel by most other states; and, most of all, the society created by Israel's people in decades of thriving, dynamic national existence.

    by: Nick from: Ireland
    May 15, 2012 11:58 AM
    Cannot understand the self-righteous victim hood comments that criticize this article probably coming from comfortable homes in the USA! If anything the article is very soft on Israel.
    Any person with an open mind and a bit of research will understand that Palestinians of several generations have suffered terribly since their land was taken from them. 20% of them are in prison without trial and 70% of their children suffer from malnutrition.
    The author states facts that all the world (outside of the USA) knows are true.
    Notice some comments call the ‘Arabs’ and cannot bring themselves to say ‘Palestinians’ –why?
    Reason is to deny their existence and thus deny their suffering.




    by: Jacob
    May 15, 2012 11:22 AM
    Truly a sad day, this is the beginning of all the problems in modern world.

    by: Gab from: USA
    May 15, 2012 9:31 AM
    There are one and one half million Arabs living in Israel as citizens. Are they not living on the land of the so called displaced Arabs? Why is it that Arabs want no Jews to live on their side of the border? Is not the West Bank the cradle of Jewish civilization? Why should Jews not be allowed to live there? Doesn't the banner of Islam already fly over 99.9% of the Middle East land mass? Can some one explain, using a balanced scale?

    by: Gab from: USA
    May 15, 2012 9:14 AM
    Was there injustice on both sides- Yes. Were both Jews and Arabs living in this geographical area both called "Palestinians"- Yes. Was the question of statehood resolved at the United Nations, with the 1947 U.N. partition plan (a Jewish State and an "Arab State" to live side by side) -Yes . Did six "Arab" armies then invade the newly formed Jewish State, in an ultimately unsuccessful attempt to destroy it- Yes. Is it now ironic that Palestinian "Arabs" now seek statehood via a path they have rejected for the Israelis all these years- Yes.

    by: Brian Rubaduka from: Roanoke Virginia
    May 15, 2012 6:41 AM
    Terribly written article. Zero context for a pseudo-holiday that in fact seeks to legitimize the génocidaires who strive to exterminate Jews and the Jewish State. How about mentioning, for example, that several Arab armies invaded Israel immediately after its creation, openly declaring their intention to push the Jews into the sea? How about mentioning that the leaders of these Arab states exhorted the Arabs in the area to evacuate temporarily, to avoid getting caught up in the massacre of Jews? It is a national shame that U.S. tax dollars funded the writing of this article.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeasti
    X
    June 29, 2016 6:15 PM
    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora