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.

     

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    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.

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