Thousands marched Thursday to mark the Palestinian Nakba in the Lower Galilee in northern Israel, the area where the village of Miar, depopulated in 1948, once stood.
Participants carried Palestinian flags and signs with the names of Arab villages uprooted in Israel’s War of Independence, which Palestinians refer to as the 'catastrophe.' Organizers from the Association for the Defense of the Rights for the Internally Displaced Persons in Israel said that the marchers were strict about not carrying the flags of political parties or movements or calling out political slogans.
The chairman of the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee, Mohammad Barakeh, called during the march for the United Arab list to leave the coalition: “We must be loyal to our national principles. Don’t be part of this coalition. We are not in a position of choosing between Bennett and Netanyahu. We need to be with our Palestinian people.” Both Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Barakeh said, “were of the same status,” adding “don’t be in this filthy swamp.”
Barakeh said the principle of the right of return is “a sacred principle from generation to generation. If not us, then our children and grandchildren. We in this march reject any attempt to falsify history, beginning with the Al-Aqsa Mosque which in their language is called the Temple Mount and to the names of our villages. We will not agree to live here except with respect and equality. Our dispute with the Zionist Movement is not about asphalt or paving a road, but about narrative and history.”
Many of the participants in the march were members of the second or third generation after those displaced. “Israel’s statesmen thought that the old ones would die and the young ones would forget, but they failed greatly. The old ones gave their children the keys to return and that passed from generation to generation,” the writer Taha Muhammad Ali, among the displaced persons from Miar, said.
"Do people coming from Ukraine today deserve to live here while we have no right to live in our homeland? I say to Netanyahu and I say to Bennett – we are not terrorists, we are a people who desire to live and return to our land.”
He added that he “sees the determination of the Palestinian people calling for an end to the occupation, and the right of return of the refugees.”