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Palestinians mark 65th anniversary of Nakba
Wednesday May 15, 2013 10:01 PM, Agencies

Palestinians clashed with Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank on Wednesday during demonstrations to mark 65 years since the Nakba (Catastrophe) - the day when Israel's creation caused many to lose their homes and become refugees.

Sirens were sounded for 65 seconds and demonstrations took place at midday local time in Ramallah, Nablus, Tulkarem, Qalqilya, Bethlehem and Jericho to mark the day.

In Jerusalem, at around 11am people started to gather and then at 11.30am they walked from Manara Square with marching bands. This was followed by speeches by officials and a concert.

Protesters skirmished with Israeli forces outside a refugee camp near the West Bank city of Hebron and at a prison near Ramallah, leaving several Palestinians injured.

Thousands also rallied in the main square of Ramallah, the Palestinians' de facto capital while Jerusalem remains under Israeli control, holding up placards with the names of villages depopulated in 1948 and old keys, symbols of lost homes.

"For the sake of my future and to return to my family's land, I don't want any more useless negotiations but the path of resistance and the rifle," said Ahmed al-Bedu, a gangly15-year-old Palestinian who holds Jordanian citizenship.

Local Arabs and the armies of neighboring Arab states failed in a 1948 war to stop the Jews settling in Palestine, who cited biblical ties to the land and a need for a Jewish state, which up to that time was under British colonial control.

In the evening, a special pre-recorded speech by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was broadcast on Palestinian television.

Abbas said that the Palestinian right to an "independent state" had been affirmed by "countries all over the world" and called on the Israeli government to show its positive intentions during negotiations by releasing Palestinian prisoners.

"If the Israeli government has positive intentions it should release our prisoners, especially those who are in prison before 1993 and also the sick, the women, the children and our brothers, the Palestinian party leaders and the Palestinian legislative council members," he said.




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