At approximately 11:00am on Saturday 31 May refugees from across the northern West Bank, supported by SFP, attempted to return to their villages and land in 1948 Palestine. SFP led the march of return, which activists stated is the beginning of the end of the Nakba. Activists surprised the Army at a checkpoint to the north of Tulkarem, but the Army attacked with a barrage of tear gas, rubber coated steel bullets and live ammunition. Dozens of activists were treated for suffocation and several were transferred to hospital. But their determination remained strong, that they would continue to return home.
The action comes shortly after Palestinians around the world marked 66 years of the Nakba (known as “the catastrophe” in English), when Palestinians were forcible expelled from their homes by Zionist militia. A policy of ethnic cleansing that continues to this day as Apartheid Israel continues to expel native Palestinians from their land.
Today marks the end of the Nakba. The refugees are coming home. We have waited 66 years and the implementation of the numerous UN Resolutions by the World to return to our land. No Government or militia can stop us taking our rights. We will return the way we came, on foot with our possessions on our backs.
Activists also went on to say:
We invite Palestinians everywhere, and those that believe in freedom and justice, to join us and head to the Apartheid Wall. It is time to tear down Apartheid.
Approximately 250 Palestinians, accompanied by international supporters, attempted to reach their lands. They came from refugee camps across the Northern West Bank, and varied in gender, age and backgrounds. United in one message “we are returning”.
For more photos and video footage please click here.