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Arab Israelis march in Galilee in solidarity with Gaza

The march, in which protesters shouted anti-Israel slogans and waved Palestinian flags, coincided with Israel's 76th Independence Day.

Arab Israelis protest against Israel in the Galilee on May 14, 2024. Source: X.
Arab Israelis protest against Israel in the Galilee on May 14, 2024. Source: X.

Thousands of Arab Israelis marched on Tuesday in an anti-Israel Independence Day procession to the now-defunct Arab villages of Husha and Kasair near the town of Shfaram in the Lower Galilee.

Participants waved Palestinian flags despite a January 2023 order by Israel’s National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir banning the practice.

This was the 27th year the march has been held, Israel Hayom reported.

The Association for the Protection of the Rights of Displaced Persons organized the protest with the support of the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee, an unofficial umbrella organization that represents Arab society in Israel.

This year, the marchers expressed solidarity with the Hamas-run Gaza Strip.

“In our march this year, our eyes are directed to the south. We call for an end to the war. We call for the widest possible participation in the return march activity, so that we can convey a resounding message and take our hands off Gaza, and stop the war now,” the association said.

Marchers shouted, “Freedom for Gaza,” and “With the unity of your people, Palestine, the occupation will disappear.”

They also chanted, “Shahid, rest, we will continue the struggle,” suggesting they may be prepared to turn to violence. Shahid, or martyr, refers in this context to a Muslim warrior who dies while waging jihad, or holy war, against non-Muslims.

Joining the Arabs were radical leftist Jewish activists and members of Neturei Karta, an anti-Zionist extremist wing of ultra-Orthodox Judaism.

The organizers called for “the Right of Return to our villages and lands that were forcibly abandoned in 1948.”

Israel’s “Independence Day is the day of our nakba [catastrophe], and it is the day when we call for the right of return to our villages and our lands that were forcibly abandoned in 1948,” according to a statement from the organizers.

The number of Arabs displaced following Israel’s War of Independence is estimated at 700,000. However, the number of refugees has ballooned to 5.4 million since as Palestinian refugee status is hereditary, a situation without parallel in any other conflict.

Israeli leaders from both sides of the political spectrum agree that the “Right of Return,” if implemented, would spell the destruction of the Jewish state.

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