Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Qalqiliya unveils 'train of return' to mark Nakba & Abbas applauds steadfastness on Nakba Day

The train symbolizes return from exile.
QALQILIYA (Ma'an) -- Hundreds of students, local officials and activists gathered in Qalqiliya on Tuesday to commemorate the Nakba, the mass expulsion of Palestinians from their homes in 1948.

Qalqiliya governor Ribhi Khandaqji unveiled the "train of return," a model train symbolizing the right of refugees to return from exile.

Khandaqji said the train was facing Israel, and noted that the northern West Bank city was a short distance from Palestinian villages and towns confiscated in the Nakba.

"This train will remind us, and will remind our children of the right of return," the governor added.

Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were forced or fled from their homes in fighting to create the state of Israel.

Abbas applauds steadfastness on Nakba Day

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- President Mahmoud Abbas applauded Palestinian steadfastness on Monday, in a speech commemorating the 64th anniversary of the Nakba, or catastrophe, of Palestinian expulsion in 1948.

"We will remain on this land. We will remain like oak trees. We will remain like our olive trees," Abbas said, lauding Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails and people killed in conflict with Israel.

The president also applauded Palestinian leaders, "who led us from Nakba to revolution, to statehood," in his speech.

Abbas also insisted that any peace deal include Jerusalem as the capital of the Palestinian state.

"Jerusalem is the key and the gate to peace. Any attempt by the occupation to mess with the holy city means igniting tension and wars in the region and in the world," he said.

"We insist on each particle of soil and each stone in Jerusalem," he continued.

"Words are not enough -- we need deeds which support the heroic steadfastness of our Jerusalemites defending Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Church of Holy Sepulcher. This can be achieved if our Arab brothers pay what they pledged during Arab League summits."

Palestinians on Tuesday mark the 64th anniversary of forced displacement of more than 700,000 Palestinians from their homes by pre-state Jewish militias in 1948, known as the Nakba or catastrophe.

Thousands of Palestinians rally every year in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, Israel and the Diaspora to defend their right to return to their homes and lands.

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