Israeli Arabs mourn on Independence Day

April 29, 2009 at 5:25 PM
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JERUSALEM, April 29 (UPI) -- Israeli Arabs marked Independence Day, known to them as Nakba, by visiting the sites of villages destroyed during the 1948 war.

Nakba is Arabic for catastrophe. The day of mourning for Palestinians on the Jewish day of celebration is another mark of the split in Israeli society.

Mohammed Barakeh, chairman of the Hadash Party and a member of the Knesset, visited visited Saffuriyeh, a village in the Galilee, where his family once lived, Haaretz reported. The village is now Tzipori, a Jewish moshav.

"Their Independence Day is our Nakba," he said. "Passing our heritage from one generation to the next is essential for our steadfastness and survival in our homeland. Our survival is not open to interpretation or negotiation, and is our formative feature as a community that narrowly escaped the threat of expulsion and remained in its country."

The largest ceremony was at the site of Kafrayn, a demolished village near Haifa. The area was heavily policed because Palestinians and supporters of the Jewish settler movement were planning demonstrations.

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