Some 1,500 Israeli-Arabs attended the central Nakba Day rally in Lod on Monday to mark the ‘disaster’ of the establishment of Israel.
David Ben-Gurion declared Israel’s independence on this day, May 14, in 1948.
'A day of mourning.' Nakba Day rally (Photo: Niv Kalderon)
“This is our memorial day,” National Democratic Assembly member Gabi Tanus told Ynet. “It is more important to us than the Holocaust is to the Jewish nation. Ninety percent of Arab population was expelled on this day; many villages no longer exist, and this is our way of remembering those events.”
‘We will never forget and never forgive’
The rally was held in Lod’s Old City, near the Great Mosque. Among those on hand for the event were National Democratic Assembly MKs Jamal Zahalka and Azmi Bishara, who said “the High Court ruling on the reunification of Arab families proves Israel is still racist towards Arab-Israelis.”
“This is a day of mourning for the Palestinian people,” Zahalka said. “Lod is a special place for us, because it is here that the massacre of 1948 took place at the Great Mosque, and that is why the city has become a symbol for us.
“Our message is that we will never forget and never forgive for what happened. We have come here to say that the Arabs population will remain in Lod forever.”
Dozens of right-wing activists and Jewish Lod residents demonstrated nearby to protest the Nakba Day events. According to the protestors, police detained far-right activists Baruch Marzel and Itamar Ben-Gvir for interrogation.
In a recorded speech marking the Nakba Day, Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas said: “I tell our neighbors the Israelis that we want to make a just and lasting peace with you, and we want a better future for our children and yours. So come to make this year a year of peace."
Abbas also urged Palestinian terrorists in the Gaza Strip to halt rocket attacks on Israel, saying that the violence encourages Israel to step up its military activity and proceed with unilateral plans to impose a border on the Palestinians.