Great unrest by Palestinian citizens of Israel

In this dreary corner of the countryside 20 kilometers from Haifa, Israel’s third city, on Tuesday, May 14, we look at each other in a small crowd, a mixture of fear and pride. Here’s one, then three, then ten, and then we don’t count them: Palestinian flags. It will be the first time since October 7, 2023 that the participants, many thousands of them, will finally be wearing these colors in public. They came to commemorate the Nakba (“catastrophe”), the forced expulsion of Palestinians when Israel was created in 1948.

Members of the Neturei Karta organization during the commemoration of the Nakba near Shefa Amr on May 14, 2024.  Neturei Karta International (NKI) is a group of Jewish activists who oppose the existence of the State of Israel and condemn the occupation of Palestine.  .

The ceremony almost never happened. Since the massacre by Hamas on October 7, 2023, in which 1,200 people were killed, mostly civilians, the Palestinian component of Israel – about two million people, or 21% of the country’s population – has never felt like a “fifth column”. , the Islamic movement’s reservoir of sympathizers. Most demonstrations of solidarity with residents of Gaza that members of this community sought to join were banned or quickly disbanded.

After lengthy negotiations with police, the commemoration, traditionally held on May 15, was approved a day earlier, coinciding with Israel’s Independence Day. It is in the north of the country on the edge of the predominantly Arab city of Shefa Amr. Towards al-Hosha, a village destroyed in 1948, there are fields of wheat and paths where the marchers set out with their flags and their songs. One of the organizers of the demonstration sighs: “Everything is too complicated to be allowed to do this walk here, out of sight and out of sight can be difficult. »

In the eighth month of the war in Gaza, the fear of a new Nakba haunts Palestinians, both in Israel and the occupied territories. Fears are high that the idea of ​​evicting coastal residents, popular in far-right circles, will eventually become a reality. As Palestinian flags are taken from car trunks in Shefa Amr, 170 kilometers on the edge of Gaza, Jewish supremacist Itamar Ben Gvir shouts: “We must encourage the voluntary immigration of Gazans. »

Call for strike

In al-Hosha, Mohammed Barakeh, former leader of the far-left Hadash party, which unites Jews and Palestinians and is now head of the High Council for Monitoring the Interests of Arabs in Israel, an organization that defends the interests of the community, speaks. A platform. In his speech, he called for a general strike to end the war in Gaza, which has killed more than 35,000 Palestinians. Leaflets of an anonymous youth movement are being circulated. They were the first to call for the strike. Their tone is angry.

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