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Activists hold global day of action for Palestinian right of return

March 22, 2014 6:33 P.M. (Updated: March 24, 2014 11:26 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Activists around the world held a day of action entitled "Return Unifies Us" on Saturday in support of the implementation of the right to return of all Palestinian refugees, especially those currently in Syria.

"By insistence on the unity and cohesion of our people everywhere, the unity of their struggle, and the oneness of their destiny, the right of return to their homes of origin and other national principles can be achieved," a call signed by more than one hundred Palestinian popular associations around the world read.

Organizers hoped to raise awareness about the plight of the more than seven million Palestinian refugees, who are the descendants of the more than 700,000 Palestinians expelled from their homes by Israeli forces in the 1948 Nakba, or "catastrophe." Israeli authorities continue to refuse to allow the refugees to return, despite UN resolution 194 mandating they be allowed to do so.

Organizers stressed that they demand the implementation of the right to return of all Palestinian refugees to their historic homeland, especially those of Palestinians in Syria who are facing difficult circumstances to the ongoing civil war.

"The Palestinian right of return has been the unifying Palestinian national demand since the Nakba of 1948. During the revolutionary era, the right of return was the principle around which Palestinians rallied to the call of the Palestinian resistance," a statement released by organizers said.

The day of action was meant to coincide with the 46th anniversary of the Battle of Karameh, when Israeli forces launched a major raid into Jordan but were forced to withdraw after a counterattack by PLO and Jordanian army forces. The battle became a rallying point for the nascent Palestinian military resistance.

The "Return Unifies Us" day of action includes events organized by Palestinian refugees in a number of countries around the world, especially within the West Bank, Gaza, Syria, and Lebanon.

Activists organized events in Damascus' Yarmouk refugee camp, which has been besieged by regime forces since last summer, as well as in refugee camps across Syria and Lebanon.

Rallies and marches by scout troops were also held in refugee camps and cities across the West Bank and Gaza, as well as among diaspora Palestinian refugee communities in Chile, Argentina, Cuba, France, the United Kingdom, and Australia.

The call was signed by numerous prominent Palestinian refugee rights coalitions, including the Global Right of Return Coalition, the BDS National Committee, the Civic Coalition of Jerusalem, executives of the Popular Committees and of the national and Islamic forces, as well as dozens of other associations.
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