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In Photos:
Thousands of Palestinians commemorate Nakba Day in West Bank, Gaza

May 15, 2017 8:50 P.M. (Updated: May 16, 2017 10:31 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Thousands of Palestinians across the occupied territory participated in sit-ins and marches on Monday to commemorate the 69th anniversary of Nakba day on Monday.

Every May 15, commemorations recall the Nakba, during which hundreds of Palestinians were killed by Zionist militias and more than 750,000 Palestinians were forcibly expelled from their lands in 1948 and scattered across refugee camps in the occupied West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and neighboring countries, according to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA).

More than six million Palestinians, whether in the occupied Palestinian territory or in the diaspora, still call for the application of their internationally recognized right of return to their homes and villages in present-day Israel, as Palestinian officials said on Monday that the Nakba marked “an ongoing journey of pain, loss, and injustice.”

In the besieged Gaza Strip, a sit-in took place in front of United Nations headquarters in Gaza City, with participants chanting slogans demanding national unity and holding Palestinian flags.

Deputy Head of the Palestinian Legislative Council Ahmad Bahr said during the event that the Palestinian people remained determined and would continue resisting the Israeli occupation despite all obstacles.

He called upon the Arab and Muslim world to support the Palestinian cause, saying: “Jerusalem is calling you, (Palestinian) prisoners are calling you. Nation of Arabs and Muslims, don’t leave Gaza, Jerusalem, or prisoners alone.”

“The outcome of the Nakba lives on in the lives of our people, leading to a new geographic reality, violence, blood, and massacres, as the Palestinian people’s Nakba is inherited from one generation to another,” Islamic Jihad leader Nafith Azzam said at the Gaza sit-in.
Demonstration in Gaza City.

In the occupied West Bank, demonstrations in the cities of Ramallah and Bethlehem were suppressed by Israeli forces, as at least 10 Palestinians were shot and injured, while scores more suffered from severe tear gas inhalation.

At the Ramallah event, former Palestinian Justice Minister Ali Abu Diyak rejected the Israeli narrative that Palestinian prisoners were terrorists, saying instead that they were victims of the Israeli occupation and its crimes.

Former prisoner Fakhri Barghouthi also called for more national solidarity with Palestinian prisoners, hundreds of whom have been on hunger strike for 29 days.

“Why do we ask ‘Where are the Arabs?’ while we ourselves are asleep?” he told the crowd. “Enough with putting the responsibility for Palestinians on others. If these crowds had been here since the first day of the hunger strike, it would not have reached day 29.”
Demonstration in Ramallah.
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In the northern West Bank city of Nablus, Mayor Akram al-Rujoub told Ma’an said that the Nakba remained a very painful memory for Palestinians to this day, adding that Nakba Day served as a reminder to continue fighting the occupation to establish a Palestinian state.
Demonstration in Nablus.

In a demonstration in Qalqiliya, the city’s mayor, Rafi Rawajba, insisted in a speech on the sacredness of Palestinians’ right of return, and hailed the hundreds of Palestinian prisoners’ currently on hunger strike despite what he called the “disgraceful silence” of the international community.

“All Israeli crimes, whether killings, Judaizing the sacred city (Jerusalem) and all Palestinian territories, stealing lands for the Israeli settlement project, and depriving prisoners of their basic rights only make us more determined,” he said.
Demonstration in Qalqiliya.

In Tubas, Deputy Mayor Ahmad Asaad also saluted the steadfastness of Palestinian prisoners and Palestinians in general.

“The Palestinian people and the heroic prisoners will not accept to die in silence,” he said. “They are able of facing this occupation with united and determined over the right of return, victory, and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.”
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