Palestinians commemorate al-Nakba–the catastrophe

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Sporadic clashes between Israeli soldiers and Palestinians marked the Palestinian day of remembrance known as al-Nakba or the catastrophe. A day of celebration in Israel, al-Nakba, for the Palestinians marks the expulsion of about 700,000 Palestinians from their homes. Meanwhile President Bush delivered a speech to the Israeli Knesset limiting his mention of the Palestinians to just one sentence. A Haaretz editorial stated that
" the creeping annexation of parts of Arab neighborhoods will turn a political conflict into a religious struggle." The editorial went on to state that, " The United States, Israel’s greatest friend and the broker of the two-state vision, will not emerge clean either. A close friend of the Israelis is not permitted to stand on the sidelines while their government is playing with matches next to a barrel of explosives."

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Story Transcript

VOICE OF ZAA NKWETA, PRESENTER: Sporadic clashes erupted on Thursday between Palestinians and Israeli troops as Palestinians marked the 60th anniversary of the uprooting of hundreds of thousands of their people during the war over Israel’s creation–an event they call al-Nakba or "the catastrophe". Israeli troops fired live rounds and tear gas at dozens of Palestinians throwing stones in a confrontation at the Erez border crossing between Israel and Gaza. Hamas police claim three Palestinians were wounded. Clashes also erupted in the West bank checkpoint of Qalandiya. In Ramallah, Bethlehem and Jerusalem, Palestinians commemorated al-Nakba with rallies, sirens, black flags and balloons. About 700,000 Palestinians lost their homes either by expulsion, or by fleeing in fear of attack, from Jewish militias in the war that followed Israel’s creation, in 1948. The refugees and their descendants number some 4.5 million today, or nearly half the world’s 9.3 million Palestinians. The annual ritual of mourning stood in stark contrast to Israel’s anniversary celebrations, currently being attended by President George Bush. Delivering a speech to the Israeli Knesset Bush painted a picture of the future Middle East as a place of tolerance and integration. He limited his mention of the Palestinians to just one sentence. The US administration is pushing for a resolution of the peace process by the end of this year. A Haaretz editorial went on to state, “The creeping annexation of parts of the Arab neighborhoods will turn a political conflict into a religious struggle, which will prevent any diplomatic solution. It will also arouse the entire Arab and Muslim world against Israel. The United States, Israel’s greatest friend and the broker of the two-state vision, will not emerge clean either. A close friend of the Israelis is not permitted to stand on the sidelines while their government is playing with matches next to a barrel of explosives.”

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