Hundreds of Israeli Arabs visited the sites of Palestinian villages that had been demolished during the War of Independence as part of the Nakba Day events yesterday.

The day marks the defeat of the Palestinian Arab community in the war.

The main event took place at the site of the village of Kafrayn, near Haifa. Numerous police were in the area in a bid to preempt clashes between Arabs and Jewish protesters, who arrived early in the morning.

Hadash Chairman MK Mohammed Barakeh visited the former Galilee village of Saffuriyeh, now the Jewish moshav Tzipori, where his ancestors lived.

"Their Independence Day is our Nakba [catastrophe]," he said.

"Passing our heritage from one generation to the next is essential for our steadfastness and survival in our homeland. Our survival is not open to interpretation or negotiation, and is our formative feature as a community that narrowly escaped the threat of expulsion and remained in its country."

Barakeh vowed that the villages would be rebuilt.

"History might have neglected the right of return, but we never will," he said.