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Palestinians set to mark 69th anniversary of Nakba Day worldwide

A Palestinian youth waves the national flag on the 68th anniversary of the Nakba Day, east of Gaza City, May 15, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

Palestinians across the world are set to mark the 69th anniversary of the #Nakba Day (the Day of Catastrophe), when hundreds of their fellow Palestinians were forcibly evicted from their homeland by Israelis.

The Nakba Day is officially marked every year on May 15, one day after the Israeli regime came into existence in 1948.

Some 750,000 Palestinians were expelled from their lands in 1948 and were scattered across refugee camps in the occupied West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and Palestine’s neighboring countries. Now, over five million Palestinian refugees are estimated to be still displaced.

Israel passed controversial legislation, known as the Nakba Law, in 2011, which authorized the regime’s finance minister to cut the budget of institutions that mark the Nakba Day.

Earlier this week, Israel’s right-wing Yisrael Beiteinu party proposed amendments to the law that call for imposing severe sanctions on universities, colleges and academic institutions that allow the Nakba Day commemoration.

Palestinians take part in a rally to mark the 68th anniversary of the Nakba Day, in the West Bank city of Ramallah, May 17, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

Since Tuesday, a Palestinian flag has been flying over the City Hall in the Irish capital, Dublin, to draw attention to years of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory ahead of the Nakba Day.

The council said the move was “as a gesture of our solidarity with the people of Palestine living under occupation in the West Bank and Gaza… and with the… displaced Palestinians denied the right of return to their homeland.”

The Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) welcomed the move.

“The refugees created during this ethnic cleansing and their descendants now number in the millions, and all are shamefully still denied their internationally mandated Right of Return to their homeland,” said IPSC Chairperson Fatin Al-Tamimi.

Palestinians are seeking to create an independent state in the territories of the West Bank, East Jerusalem al-Quds, and the Gaza Strip, with East al-Quds as its capital.

Palestine’s flag was also hoisted for the first time at the United Nations (UN) Headquarters in New York in September 2015.

In November 2012, the UN General Assembly voted to upgrade Palestine’s status from “non-member observer entity” to “non-member observer state” despite strong opposition from Israel.

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