Arabs in Israel take part in a rally marking the “Nakba” © Reuters / Ammar Awad

Thousands marched on the abandoned village of Khubbayza to commemorate the 71st Nakba that forced Palestinians from their homes in the lead-up to the establishment of the Israeli state in 1948.

The ‘march of return’ took place at 1:30pm local time Thursday in northern Israel and a festival was held in Khubbayza itself afterwards. Thousands of Arab citizens of Israel, including a number of Arab politicians, attended the march, which was organized by the Association for the Defense of the Rights for the Internally Displaced Persons in Israel. Attendees waved Palestinian flags and chanted.

“For more than 25 years, we have been defending the right of return and consolidating it through the annual march, which is gaining increasing public momentum, reinforcing our belief in our Palestinian presence and confirming our rejection of all alternatives,” the Association for the Defense of the Rights of the Displaced said, Arab48 reports.

Khubbayza was raided by Jewish forces a few weeks after the 1948 war and was later razed by the Jewish Nation Fund. It remains unpopulated today and is surrounded by fields.

Palestinians and their supporters march for the right to return to the lands they lost amid the establishment of the state of Israel when at least 760,000 Palestinians became displaced, and the homes lost by those who were displaced in the 1967 war.

The anniversary of the Nakba is May 15, but a number of events are held on Israel’s Independence Days of May 8 and 9.

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Sourse: rt.com

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