Some 10,000 people, including Israeli Arab lawmakers, participated in a march on Thursday mourning the founding of the Jewish state.
The “March of the Uprooted” is organized by the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee and is held annually on Israel’s Independence Day to mark the displacement of Palestinian refugees during Israel’s War of Independence, known in Arabic as the Nakba (“catastrophe”).
Arab Knesset members, public figures and mayors in Arab towns, as well as left-wing and human-rights activists, participated in the march, which took place near Atlit, a coastal town south of Haifa.
Protesters hoisted Palestinian flags and shouted slogans condemning the government and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Some chanted: “This is our land,” “We will never give up the fight,” and “We’ll sacrifice our lives for Palestine.”
Joint Arab List MK Ahmad Tibi declared: “This is the day when the Palestinians are united in memory and grief for shattered families. What happened then [in 1948] was a nakba—a human and national disaster by any measure.”
“We must recognize our national identity as Palestinians,” he said, “with empathy for our suffering and loss since 1948, which continues to this day in various ways.”