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Monday, 10 May 2021

Thousands of Arabs march for Palestinian return in Israel

AFP , Thursday 12 May 2016
Arab Israelis Protest
Arab-Israeli protesters hold Palestinian flags as they march for the right of return for Palestinian refugees who fled their homes or were expelled during the 1948 war that followed the creation of the state of Israel, near the southern Israeli Bedouin of Rahat on May 12, 2016. (Photo: AFP)

Thousands of Arab Israeli protesters marched in favour of a right of return of millions of Palestinians on Thursday, the same day Israel celebrated its formation in 1948.

The Israelis of Palestinian origin were seen carrying Palestinian flags and others holding up signs demanding the right to return for refugees at the rally in the Negev desert.

Organisers said it was the first time such a demonstration has been held in the Negev.

Israeli Jews, in contrast, celebrated in public parties in two very different sets of reactions to the 68th anniversary of Israel's founding.

For their part, Israelis hail "independence day" as what they call the reformation of the Jewish state.

Palestinians, however, the 1948 war is seen as a "nakba" -- catastrophe in Arabic -- as more than 760,000 Palestinians, estimated today to number about 5.5 million with their descendants, fled or were driven from their homes.

The Nakba will be formerly marked on May 15.

Marchers carried the slogan "On the anniversary of your independence, remember our nakba."

For the Palestinians, the right to return to homes they fled or were forced out of is a prerequisite for any peace agreement with Israel, but it is a demand the Jewish state has rejected out of hand.

*The story was edited by Ahram Online.

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