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PODCAST: The other Palestinian march of return

The +972 Podcast heads to the destroyed village of Khubbeiza to hear what Nakba Day means to different people, including Palestinians internally displaced in Israel.

Palestinian citizens of Israel take part in the Return March, held at the destroyed village of Khubbeiza, to mark Nakba Day, May 9, 2019. (Mati Milstein)

Palestinian citizens of Israel take part in the Return March, held at the destroyed village of Khubbeiza, to mark Nakba Day, May 9, 2019. (Mati Milstein)

Every year for over two decades, thousands of Palestinian citizens of Israel have marked Nakba Day by marching to the site of a different village that was depopulated and destroyed during the Nakba.

While the story of Palestinian refugees — 700,000 of whom were driven out or fled in 1948 — is relatively well known, we rarely speak of those who were internally displaced during the war. These families remained in what became Israel but were never allowed to return to their original homes.

This year, the Return March marking 71 years since the Nakba was held in one such village, Khubbeiza. +972 Magazine’s Henriette Chacar went to the march to hear from participants of various ages what it means to them.

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Some shared childhood memories from 1948. Other participants emphasized the importance of preserving Palestinian identity and history in the face of growing Israeli oppression. Jewish allies who were there talked about showing solidarity, and recognizing the rights of Palestinians. All the stories people shared had one theme: ‘We are here and we haven’t forgotten.’

“Their Independence Day is our Nakba,” said Rasmieh Khalaileh. “There are hundreds of villages that were displaced, not by choice but by force, which they expelled and are now dispersed across the world. This is what encourages me to come, even if it’s only a symbolic gesture for the people who were expelled, who dream to come back to their land.”

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For Palestinian citizens of Israel, the march is an important commemoration of their painful history. It’s a way Palestinians keep the stories of the Nakba alive and pass them on to younger generations. May 9, 2019, Khubbeiza. (Mati Milstein)

For Palestinian citizens of Israel, the march is an important commemoration of their painful history. It’s a way Palestinians keep the stories of the Nakba alive and pass them on to younger generations. May 9, 2019, Khubbeiza. (Mati Milstein)

 

A volunteer hands out Palestinian flags and kaffiyehs to participants at the 22nd annual Return March marking Nakba Day, held this year at the site of the destroyed village of Khubbeiza, May 9, 2019. (Mati Milstein)

A volunteer hands out Palestinian flags and kaffiyehs to participants at the 22nd annual Return March marking Nakba Day, held this year at the site of the destroyed village of Khubbeiza, May 9, 2019. (Mati Milstein)

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    1. itshak Gordine

      Not even a reference to the million Jews despoiled and driven out of Arab countries in the 50s and 60s. I am shocked. I am one of them. Our misfortune does not interest the Israeli and Arab leftists because it neutralizes all their theories.

      Reply to Comment
      • Bruce Gould

        @Itshak: https://www.haaretz.com/1.5361803

        Any analogy between Palestinian refugees and Jewish immigrants from Arab lands is folly in historical and political terms…An intensive campaign to secure official political and legal recognition of Jews from Arab lands as refugees has been going on for the past three years. This campaign has tried to create an analogy between Palestinian refugees and Mizrahi Jews, whose origins are in Middle Eastern countries – depicting both groups as victims of the 1948 War of Independence. The campaign’s proponents hope their efforts will prevent conferral of what is called a “right of return” on Palestinians, and reduce the size of the compensation Israel is liable to be asked to pay in exchange for Palestinian property appropriated by the state guardian of “lost” assets….The idea of drawing this analogy constitutes a mistaken reading of history, imprudent politics, and moral injustice….Shlomo Hillel, a government minister and an active Zionist in Iraq, adamantly opposed the analogy: “I don’t regard the departure of Jews from Arab lands as that of refugees. They came here because they wanted to, as Zionists.”

        Reply to Comment
      • Ben

        Halevy alternates between two propaganda narratives, (1) “our misfortune” and (2) “our great good fortune, aliyah and the liberation of Judea and Samaria, luck, lucky me,” as fits his propaganda needs of the moment. The only thing he really cares about is securing the territory of Greater Israel, all of it down to the last centimeter.

        For a guy who is always telling diaspora Jews what losers they are he sure bemoans oddly his own leaving the diaspora and coming as a “refugee” from Switzerland. “I made glorious aliyah but I’m also a pitiable refugee you see–because I’m an Israeli and so naturally I deserve to have it both ways.”

        Reply to Comment
    2. Bruce Gould

      It’s 2019, and I assume most of us don’t believe in witches, sorcery, magic potions and collective punishment. In that context, re the issue of Jewish refugees from Arab countries…

      https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2008/jun/27/religion.israelandthepalestinians

      Many Jews left Arab countries because they wanted to live in Israel, not because their lives back home were miserable..Justice for Jews from Arab Countries (JJAC) thinks that Middle Eastern Jews and Palestinian refugees should somehow be offset against each other – the rights of one side counterbalancing the rights of the other. It’s a neat argument: Jews were forced to abandon material assets and leave Arab countries; Palestinians similarly fled or were expelled from their homes. Ergo, the region witnessed an exchange of populations and if Palestinian refugees are to be compensated by Israel, so too must the Jewish “refugees” from the Middle East, by the Arab nations that expelled them…Nice try, but there are many reasons why this formula is all wrong.

      Reply to Comment
      • Lewis from Afula

        Bruce:
        The Mizrachi Jews were driven out of the Arab World by pogroms, rapes, thefts, shootings, stabbings, hangings, emprisonnment as well as threats instigated by their Arab neighbors & governments. These occurred throughout the entire Arab World with the exception of Morocco, where the violence was instigated on a regional basis.

        Now, whether the Mizarchi Jews were refugees, migrants or olim is frankly irrelevant. In all cases, the Arabs enjoyed confiscating the homes, businesses and assets of 900,000 Jews. The land expropriated was about 5X bigger than the state of Israel. An accounting must occur.
        FAIR IS FAIR.

        Reply to Comment
      • Lewis from Afula

        Bruce:
        Another thing is your giving references to mainstrean news sources such as Guardian, CNN, MSNBC, BBC, New York TImes, Washington Post etc is a total joke.

        For example, just the other day, a Jewish woman was stabbed in Sweden. It was discussed by Israel Hayom, Jerusalem Post and other Israeli newspapers. Yet, because the assaultant was the “wrong” ethnicity (no prizes for guessing this man’s religion), this incident was “accidentally” omitted from the international media.

        More fake news was detected the other day in a BBC documentary. The film was about Gaza but when esch time a fakestinyan states “Yahud” ie as in “Jew” in Arabic, the BBC mistranslated it as “israeli”.

        Reply to Comment
        • Tom

          Please Lewis, stop using the mizrahim, you don’t care about them , just using them to deny the right of return of arabs refugees that was expelled during the war before.

          The palestinian/fakestinians/jordanians (whatever you call them) ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE of the jewish “nakba” BOTH need justice, and you’re not helping any of the two sides, by opposing them.

          Reply to Comment
          • Lewis from Afula

            Please stop using Fakestinyan fake refugees as an excuse to advocate their “right to return” to where their grandparents lived 70 years ago. You do not really care about them and are just using them as a stick to apply your Israel-bashing activities.

            Reply to Comment
    3. Jane

      Do they ever talk to Holocaust survivors or Mishrai Jews why has everyone who wants peace got to accept the Palestinian narrative without question- their own leaders caused the Nakba

      Reply to Comment