Some 200 Arab protestors marked Nakba Day on May 15, the state of Israel’s 62nd anniversary, by marching on East Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood. The march came a day after protesters clashed with police in the weekly Friday demonstration against the Jewish takeover of Palestinian homes in the neighborhood through the use of ownership documents dating from the period of the British mandate, with 14 Arabs and leftist Israeli supporters arrested. The Nakba Day protestors, led by Knesset members from the Arab-nationalist Balad party, held Palestinian flags and signs reading “Judaization of Jerusalem: the new Nakba.”
Balad MK Jamal Zahalka, who led the parade together with Fatah’s Jerusalem chief Khaten Abd al-Kader, told the Israeli news service Ynet: “There is an attempt to undertake a transfer of people. According to statistics, more than 60,000 people live under the threat of house demolition, and hundreds of houses face razing plans.” He warned that if the Benjamin Netanyahu government goes ahead with the plans, “it will be like tossing a match into a field.”
“If they try to implement the mad demolition plan there will be a third Intifada,” he said. “I’m calling for Palestinian unity on the defense of Jerusalem. This is every Palestinian’s responsibility.”
Added Balad MK Hanin Zuabi: “This is a political atrocity and human tragedy. People who were expelled from their original villages in 1948 came to Jerusalem and now Israel is persecuting them again. This is a second Nakba for them.” (Haaretz, May 16; YNet, May 15)
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