Thousands of Palestinians living in Israel yesterday arrived in the village of Atlit, south of Haifa, to participate in the “Great March of Return” as Israelis marked “Remembrance Day”.
Thousands of Palestinians from the coastal cities, the Galilee Triangle and the Negev participated in the march holding Palestinian flags and banners that read “Their independence is our catastrophe”.
The participants stressed their refusal to compromise the Palestinian national constants, especially the right of return for refugees.
According to local sources, Israel Police and extreme right activists intercepted the roads of several Arab buses bound to participate in the event.
The Committee for the Defence of the Rights of the Internally Displaced in Israel which organised the event said in a statement that “70 years have passed since the ongoing Nakba while our Palestinian people and millions of Palestinian refugees and displaced are still scattered in refugee camps at home and in the diaspora, deprived of exercising their right to return to their original homes, their lands and their villages and cities.”
It pointed out that various attempts were made to erase the issue of refugees whether by demanding to exclude it from the negotiations, or by trying to settle the refugees in the countries where they reside, and denying their rights recognised by international law.
As many as 1.8 million Palestinians live in Israel, where they represent 20 per cent of Israeli society.
Atlit is a Palestinian village which was completely destroyed during Israel’s “war of independence” in 1948 which Palestinians refer to as the Nakba or “Catastrophe”.