Bethlehem Marks al-Nakba

Thursday May 12, 2011 15:36 by Kevin Murphy – IMEMC

Bethlehem today marked al Nakba with a march through the town centre and speeches by local organisers and youth.

The march which was well attended by local school students, who shut early to mark the occasion, attracted well over 1,000 participants. Student marching bands played drums and chanted as they walked through the town. Banners reading “no peace without return to our homes” were also paraded by local youth. Young girls wore black t-shirts with the names of Palestinian towns destroyed during the Israeli war of independence.

Al Nakba, or “The Disaster”, is held the same time of year as Israeli Independence Day. It is the Palestinian day to mark the mass expulsion of Palestinians from what is now Israel, during Israel’s war of independence in 1948 and the 1967 Arab-Israeli “Six Day War”.

The Israeli army has stepped up its presence in the West Bank for the commemoration which will be marked over three days. For the first time ever it will be illegal to commemorate al Nakba in Israel this year with the passing of the controversial “Nakba Law” by the Israeli Knesset in March of this year.

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