Thousands of Palestinians marched Saturday to mark the “Nakba,” or “catastrophe” of the creation of Israel in 1948, and to honor the 700,000 Palestinians who fled or were forced into exile after the nascent state of Israel seized Arab land.

The demonstrators in Palestine carried keys to symbolize the “right of return,” the demand by Palestinians that those who fled and their descendants should be allowed to return to their land — a demand that Israel has categorically rejected. –JCL

Voice of America:

Thousands of Palestinians have briefly put aside bitter political differences to mourn the anniversary of Israel’s creation.

Palestinians marched through the streets of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, marking the “Naqba” or “catastrophe” of Israel’s creation in 1948. During Israel’s War of Independence that year, some 700,000 Palestinians fled or were forced to leave their homes and became refugees.

The demonstrators carried big keys, symbolizing the so-called “right of return,” a pillar of Palestinian nationalism. The Palestinians demand that refugees and their descendants be allowed to return to their former homes in Israel.

Israeli Arabs also joined the demonstrations. Raed Salah, the leader of the Islamic Movement in Israel, told a rally that Palestinians will return with their keys to open the doors of their former homes.

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