Thousands of protesters in occupied West Bank mark 75 years since 'Catastrophe'

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Thousands from across the occupied West Bank demonstrated Monday, waving Palestinian flags to mark the 75th anniversary of the "Nakba" or "catastrophe" which they associate with Israel's creation.

According to the UN, more than 760,000 Palestinians fled or were expelled from their homes in 1948.

In Ramallah, the seat of the Palestinian Authority, protesters carried black banners that read "Return" and also raised images of old keys, a symbol of the Palestinians' plight and demand for recognition of their right to return.

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Commemoration of the Nakba this year comes during heightened tensions in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which has claimed more than 170 lives on both sides since the start of the year.

Thirty-five people, almost all of them Palestinian, were killed during five days of fighting between Israel and armed groups in the blockaded Gaza Strip last week.

Israel was established on May 14, 1948 following a United Nations vote in November 1947 that divided the British Mandate for Palestine into a Jewish and an Arab state.

A day after Israel declared statehood, five Arab armies attacked the young nation. In the war that ensued, Israel defeated the Arab forces.

During the conflict, more than 600 communities were destroyed or depopulated by Jewish forces, according to the Israeli organisation Zochrot.


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