|Ilan Pappe in Haaretz, holding marches that commenorate Israel's tragic existence|
May 4, 2006
Over 2,500 participate in Nakba march
By Jack Khoury
More than 2,500 people took part in yesterday's ninth annual march to
mark the Nakba ("catastrophe"), the term used by Palestinians for
Israel's victory in the 1948 War of Independence and its aftermath.
The march took place on the site of the abandoned village of Umm
al-Zinat, located south of Daliat al-Carmel on the slope of Mount
Carmel. Participants included Arab mayors and Knesset members as well as
representatives of various Arab political and social movements.
Large numbers of young people turned out this year, as did dozens of
Jews, some of them representing political and civil rights
organizations. The march was organized by the Association for the
Defense of the Rights of the Internally Displaced in Israel (ADRIDI) and
the Arab Higher Monitoring Committee.
Marchers carried Palestinian flags, signs bearing the names of some of
the 530 villages that were abandoned or destroyed in 1948 and slogans
against the occupation and in favor of the "right of return." One
marcher carried an Iraqi flag.
The march was broadcast live on Arab satellite television.
Salim Fahmawi, 65, was a first-grader when soldiers entered Umm
al-Zinat. He now lives with his family in Daliat al-Carmel.
"I am standing on the soil of the village, but I understand that
according to Israeli law, I have no rights to this land," Fahmawi said.
"The presence of so many young people, many of whom are third- and
fourth-generation [post-1948], gives me a sense of relief, because I
know the torch has not been extinguished and is passing from generation
The head of ADRIDI, Wakim Wakim, echoed Fahmawi's comments, adding: "The
presence of young people and Jews is of great importance, proving that
the issue of the refugees and the right of return has not died down, but
has rather grown stronger."
Dr. Ilan Pappe, a senior lecturer at the University of Haifa who has
participated in all nine Nakba marches, told Haaretz that more Jews
participate in the march each year, reflecting "a clear trend in Israeli
civil society, which, unlike the establishment and successive Israeli
governments throughout the decades, does not deny the Nakba."