As every year on May 15, the Palestinians remember the anniversary of the Nakba, which caused more than 750,000 Palestinians to be displaced from their homes and lands in Palestine in 1948.
After a round of tension that lasted for five days between the Israelis and the Palestinians, and in light of the atmosphere of escalation hanging over the besieged Gaza Strip, the Palestinians will commemorate tomorrow, Monday, the seventy-fifth anniversary of the Nakba, while Israel celebrates its founding anniversary.
And as every year on May 15, the Palestinians remember the anniversary of the Nakba, which caused more than 750,000 Palestinians to be displaced from their homes and lands in Palestine in 1948.
According to the Israeli organization Zochrot (Zochrot), which says it is working to uncover historical information related to the Nakba, there are 600 Palestinian towns and villages that were destroyed or abandoned during the war that erupted following the declaration of the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948.
This is the first time that the United Nations has decided to revive this occasion by organizing an official event at the headquarters of the international body in New York, where Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is supposed to deliver a speech during which he will talk about the Palestinian version of what happened at the time.
The Palestinians in the diaspora camps, as well as in Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, go out in mass rallies, raising flags bearing the names of the cities and villages left by their ancestors, flags of Palestine, black flags, and others bearing the “key to return” painted on them.
A march and a stand are being organized in the city of Ramallah in the West Bank. A siren is sounded for seventy-five seconds, which is the number of years that have passed since the Nakba.
Today, about 5.9 million Palestinian refugees are distributed between the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria, according to United Nations figures.
After the 1948 war, in which the armies of five Arab countries participated against Israel, the West Bank came under the control of Jordan, while the Gaza Strip came under Egyptian supervision.
Israel says the Palestinians left their villages voluntarily during the war, and rejects accusations of massacres. It talks about the establishment of its state on “a land without a people for a people without a land.”
Refugees make up more than two-thirds of the 2.3 million population of the Gaza Strip. They refuse to concede the “right of return,” which has been a Palestinian constant since 1948.
Israel rejects the return of the Palestinians. This issue constituted a major point of contention in the negotiations between the Israeli and Palestinian sides.
On this occasion, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, as he does every year, will deliver a speech at the United Nations headquarters in New York, where he arrived on Saturday, where he will talk about the Palestinian version of what happened in 1948.