Palestinians commemorate Nakba,
by Khalid Amayreh
Occupied Jerusalem: 15 May, 2001 www.iap.org - An estimated eight million Palestinians
at home and in the Diaspora today observed the 53rd annual anniversary of
the Palestinian Nakba, the seizure by Zionist Jews of Palestine and the
resulting expulsion and dispersal of the bulk of its people from their
Tens of thousands of Palestinians marched in the streets of the West Bank
and Gaza Strip, carrying placards and shouting slogans affirming the right
of some four million Palestinian refugees to return to their native
hometowns and villages in what is now "Israel."
"No right of return = no peace," read one large placard in Ramllah.
"Denial of right of return means victory for racism and apartheid," read
At noon local time, as sirens were sounded, Palestinian observed three
minutes of silence during which verses from the Holy Quran' were recited in
honor of more than two 200,000 Palestinians martyrs who lost their lives
defending their country.
Afterwards, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat delivered a passionate speech
in which he castigated Israel for trying to "kill justice with tanks,
rockets and helicopter gunships," and the world community for "hypocrisy,
double standards, and silence in face of overwhelming oppression against
"They are trying to falsify history with artillery tanks and helicopter
gunships, but they shall not succeed, for we have the truth on our side,
and justice shall one day prevail."
The Palestinian leader appealed to the world community to "wake up from
its dormancy to see the wanton acts of murder and destruction being
perpetrated against our people."
He asked "doesn't our people have the right to be free like the rest of
Arafat stressed that a just and durable peace in the region would not be
achieved without total Israeli withdrawal from all the territories the
Jewish state occupied in 1967, including Alquds al Sharif, or East
Jerusalem, as well as the implementation of the right of return for
Palestinian refugees in accordance with UN resolution 194.
Furthermore, Arafat appealed to the Palestinians to withstand Israeli
oppression and persecution, saying " have faith, and more faith, patience,
and more patience, an hour's extra patience could mean victory," Arafat
said, quoting a saying by the Prophet Muhammed (pbuh).
Meanwhile, clashes with Israeli occupation soldiers erupted throughout the
West Bank and Gaza Strip.
In Al-Khalil, seven Palestinians were reported injured when Israeli
occupation soldiers posted on rooftops opened fire on Palestinian marchers
at the Shuhada streets.
Other clashes were also reported in Nablus, an Kalkilya in the northern
West Bank where at least one Palestinian was reportedly seriously injured.
Earlier on Tuesday, a Palestinian man was killed and six others were
injured, including one seriously, in Gaza city when Israeli occupation
troops fired an artillery shell at a civilian car.