Friday, 13 May 2016

Annual 'March of Return' draws thousands of Palestinians to the Negev

Thousands of Palestinian citizens of Israel participated in the annual "March of Return" on Thursday afternoon near Bedouin towns in the Negev (Naqab) in southern Israel, commemorating the 1948 Nakba, amid the conclusion of Israeli independence day celebrations.

Demonstrators waved Palestinian flags and held banners emblazoned with support for the right to return for Palestinian refugees abroad and Palestinians internally displaced from their villages in Israel, as they made their way across the Negev in the dry afternoon heat.

The March of Return is usually held on Israel’s independence day to commemorate the Nakba -- or the ‘catastrophe’ -- referring to the mass expulsion of Palestinians from their homes and villages during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war that wrought the state of Israel. The official commemoration of the Nakba is held on May 15 and is observed by millions of Palestinians and rights activists around the world.

The aim of the march was to highlight the internationally-recognized right of Palestinians who remain refugees or internally displaced to return to their homes and villages in Israel, a right which has been enshrined in international law following the adoption of United Nations Resolution 194.

Local Palestinians, activists, rights leaders, Knesset members, and leaders of the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee, participated in the 19th year of the annual march, launched each year from a site of a Palestinian village destroyed by Israeli forces in 1948. more