Hundreds in Jaffa Take to the Streets to Mark Nakba Day

Israeli Arabs participate in protests to mark Palestinian day of mourning of establishment of Israel; some 2,000 people carry Palestinian flags and call out, 'the Israeli government - a terror government.'

Hundreds in Jaffa took to the streets Saturday to participate in protests in honor of Nakba Day, the Palestinian day of mourning of the creation of Israel in 1948.

According to the protest's organizers, some 2,000 people were participating in Saturday's protests, many of which are not residents of Jaffa but come from other Arab cities and villages throughout Israel.

Nakba Day in Jaffa - Moti Milrod - May 14, 2011
Moti Milrod

Protesters marched across Jaffa raising Palestinian flags and called out, "the Israeli government – a terror government."

One of the protest's organizers, Gabi Abad, head of the Arab Jaffa organization, told Haaretz that the purpose of the protest is first and foremost to return and talk about the Palestinian Nakba and about the expulsion of an entire nation out of its land.

"The message of our protest is to aim for a just, sustainable peace, with two states for two people and a divided Jerusalem," he added. "We are stressing the need for the right of return and an end to the occupation."

Nakba is an Arab term meaning "catastrophe" and was devised by Palestinian Arabs to commemorate the establishment of the State of Israel on May 15, a day after Israel declared its independence and many Arabs fled or were expelled from the country.

Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino evaluated the state of affairs ahead of Nakba Day on Saturday, after receiving a summary of police activities in East Jerusalem from the city's district commander Niso Shaham.

Danino emphasized in his evaluation that the police will show restraint while allowing protests to go ahead, however will not permit disorderly conduct. He added that the detention policy regarding disorderly conduct will remain in place.

There will also continue to be increased police presence in East Jerusalem and other districts over the coming days.