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On Nakba Day, Palestinians in Gaza explain why they joined the ‘Great March of Return’

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Every year on May 15th Palestinians and Israelis share the same historic day. For Israelis it marked the 70th anniversary of Israel’s creation in 1948.

Today also served as Nakba Day, the 70th anniversary of when 750,000 Palestinians fled or were expelled from their homes, and villages surrounding Israel’s creation.

Palestinians in Gaza were also mourning their dead on Tuesday, after 61 Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire along the Gaza border. Many lanes across Gaza city streets were blocked off by a blue tarpaulin tents. Men were seen sitting sadly on chairs mourning the death.

After more than 25,000 days of the Nakba, Gaza refugees have raised their voices through the Great March of Return. A day after the bloodiest day in Gaza since the 2014 war, I asked protesters what they were thinking about on this Nakba Day.

Mostafa Manasra (Photo: Mohammed Asad)

Mostafa Manasra, 24, builder

“Why does such a young man like me fail to find pure drinking water easily or to receive a 24 hour power supply? This wasted time and money should go to develop my house building skills, people here are being ground for basic needs. Israel wants to drown us in a never-ending daily crisis so we set aside our struggle for our human rights. So, I must return to Bait Daras village, it is my grandfather’s home, to live in dignity.”

Muna Rasheed (Photo: Mohammed Asad)

Muna Rasheed, 50, social work instructor

“This year will be the year of return to Yibna, not a Nakba’s day more. Since we have the rights to return to our homeland, we will keep protesting and demanding. One day the whole world might comply with that demand when recognizing that Israel must end its occupation and recognize to establish our state, unlike the powerless Palestinian Authority’s style.”

Abu Fouad (Photo: Mohammed Asad)

Abu Fouad, 65, tailor

“I am optimistic since we delivered our message of long weeks of peaceful protests. Meanwhile, Israel responds by killing nearly 100 people. This is enough evidence to show who really should be backed to give back his stolen rights. It is our turn to live free of occupation. I want to go back again to al-Qubayba. I think this world still has a little honor to help us towards independence.”

Mahmoud Abu Ghanima (Photo: Mohammed Asad)

Mahmoud Abu Ghanima, 26, legs amputated by an Israeli drone in 2008

“Coming to such a protest to demand our normal rights to have an airport and a seaport. Why am I prohibited from travel aboard? I really would feel shame if I have a chance to meet someone from the outer world.. then he might think I am just a scary orangutan who does not know anything, but what is written in the books. I want to try to travel. Is not my right to feel free and behave like a normal human being? But those dreams are forbidden once you live under occupation”.

Suzan al-Zaza (Photo: Mohammed Asad)

Suzan al-Zaza, 45, chair of an orphan association

“In this regrettable day, the Israeli are cheering up with red wine after shedding our blood and opening the new U.S. embassy in our Jerusalem. But we have nothing to do but being more immovable to the last drop of blood. No problem, shedding more blood could be a message to Trump that recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital would turn into a curse and he will be dropped as history’s rubbish.”

Yahya Shallah (Photo: Mohammed Asad)

Yahya Shallah, 40, painter

“Even if we would be forced to eat the sand, freedom would come closer. Even if we failed to return to Haifa, then our children and grandchildren will do so. So, counting the years is not a problem. One day everything will be changed. Injustice and oppression are not going to stay forever. Geography and history are always changing.”

Sha’biah and Awad Ashour (Photo: Mohammed Asad)

Sha’biah Ashour, 66, mother of a son killed in 2008

“I hope Trump will become paralyzed. I went to Jerusalem one time when I was 11; I always cry silently when I see the city on the television. All I need is to pray over there and return to Jaffa. But it seems impossible for a woman my age. I hope to see Awad (her son, 21) become a groom in my lifetime, but all doors are closed in his life.”

Abrar al-Banna (Photo: Mohammed Asad)

Abrar al-Banna, 20, journalism student

“My 97-year-old grandfather used to tell me the story of his championship in Jaffa. He was a great and popular wrestler and has a good memory. Our people in Gaza need to live again, since this miserable life under Egyptian-Israeli blockade. I have four brothers who all are unemployed. I think this would not happen in any country, but in Gaza is normal, since we are like slaves who wait for drops of water to drink or pieces of bread to eat.”

Ahmad Kabariti

Ahmad Kabariti is a freelance journalist based in Gaza.

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17 Responses

  1. Jackdaw on May 16, 2018, 1:39 pm

    50 of the Gazans killed yesterday were Hamas members. Hamas, last time anybody checked, is a terrorist organisation.

    • zaid on May 16, 2018, 4:26 pm


      Nice try

      The Idiot Bardawil meant our supporters and not our militants (he was also exaggerating)

      “Hamas spokesman Fawzy Barhoum did not confirm all 50 were members of the Islamist movement.He told AFP Hamas paid for the funerals for all 50 “whether they are members or supporters of Hamas, or unrelated to the factions.” AFP

      “He aslo said that you cannot kill Innocent people Just because they supports Hamas or belongs to it politically or else Palestinians have the right to kill any Israeli because he supports Israel”

      Usually whenever a Palestinian is killed by Israel , Hamas and Fatah rushes to his family and tries to paint the victims as belonging to them or at least being supporters of them and they offer the families to pay for their funerals and give them compensation.

      That is why you see little children and even babies wrapped with a Hamas or Fatah Flags as if they were part of their militant wing.

      That is unfortunate of course but that doesnot make them terrorists.

      • Jackdaw on May 17, 2018, 12:04 am


        We will find out soon enough just how many full fledged Hamas members died in the protests.,7340,L-5261458,00.html

        The truth will out.

      • annie on May 17, 2018, 12:38 am

        what truth? like ordinary israelis masquerading as humans who are actually full fledged iof terrorists who deserved to die? that kind of truth?

      • zaid on May 17, 2018, 1:04 am


        Palestinians (including Hamas) called for internatioal investigation but Israel refused

        When you refuse investigation it means you are guilty and hiding something.

        As for the 24 claims of Israel. Israel failed to publish their names and only provided names of did that only after Hamas published listed their names ( they were actually members of its interior ministry(police) and not its military wing who were in the field just like any policeman in any march or demonstration and they were killed with cold blood with no justification.

      • eljay on May 17, 2018, 7:21 am

        || Jackdaw: … We will find out soon enough just how many full fledged Hamas members died in the protests. … The truth will out. ||

        I realize that you and jon s are unable (or unwilling) to understand this but there’s nothing just or moral about massacring people, regardless of whether they belong to Hamas or Zionism.

        I cannot understand why Zionists like you and jon s work so hard to undermine international laws and human rights and the protections they are meant to afford all people including Zionist and non-Zionist Jews (the people you claim to care about).

      • Jackdaw on May 17, 2018, 12:59 pm

        I understand very well.

        When Hamas launches rockets at Israeli civilian targets, it’s Hamas legitimate ‘resistance’ to the occupation.

        When Israel pleads with Gazans to stay home, and than first uses non-lethal means to stop the rioting, and than uses limited, selective targeting to suppress violent rioters set on invading Israel, than that’s a ‘massacre’.

        Got it.

        Get a life.

      • eljay on May 17, 2018, 1:24 pm

        || Jackdaw: I understand very well. … ||

        You’re a Zionist – you don’t understand it at all.

        || … Get a life. ||

        Get a conscience.

      • Jackdaw on May 18, 2018, 2:22 am


        Get laid.

      • eljay on May 18, 2018, 10:17 am

        || Jackdaw: @eljay

        Get laid. ||

        Already have. You still need to get a conscience.

  2. Citizen on May 16, 2018, 8:11 pm

    Things will be different in a 100 years.

  3. Ossinev on May 17, 2018, 1:11 pm

    “When Israel pleads with Gazans to stay home”

    When Zioland pleads with Palestinians not to try and return to the homes and the land which have been stolen from them by foreign colonists.

    Get a non colonial life.

    • Jackdaw on May 18, 2018, 12:23 am

      France for Frenchmen. Armenia for Armenians. Israel for Jews.
      Syria, Jordan, Iraq, Egypt, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Yemen, Kuwait and Oman, for Arabs.

      • RoHa on May 18, 2018, 10:23 am

        France for Frenchmen, and that includes French Jews, Armenia for Armenians , including Armenian Jews, Israel for Israelis, including Israeli Jews. Syria for Syrians, including Syrian Jews, … and so forth.

        It is being a French citizen that makes someone a Frenchman. It is being a Syrian citizen that makes someone a Syrian. But no citizenship makes someone a Jew.

      • zaid on May 18, 2018, 1:23 pm

        Syria belongs to all its citizens (Kurds,Arabs..etc)
        Egypt belongs to all its citizens (Arabs,Copts,Nubians…etc)
        Palestine belongs to all its citizens ( and expelled ones) whether Jews,Arabs..etc

        If you dont believe that then you are a racist.

      • eljay on May 18, 2018, 3:49 pm

        || Jackdaw: France for Frenchmen. Armenia for Armenians. Israel for Jews. … ||

        The spirit of Konrad Lorenz weeps…again.  :-(

      • on May 18, 2018, 5:09 pm

        “Palestine belongs to the Arabs in the same sense that England belongs to the English or France to the French. It is wrong and inhuman to impose the Jews on the Arabs.”

        Mahatma Gandhi

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