Internally Displaced Palestinians Commemorate 52 Years of Eviction and Demand Right of Return to Homes and Properties: Return Marches and Visits to Destroyed Palestinian Villages

On 10 May 2,000, some 5,000 people participated in an impressive "Return March" leading from the Palestinian community of Kaboul in the Galilee to al-Damoun, a small Palestnian village located in the Karmel mountain, depopulated and destroyed by Zionist forces in 1948. Marchers carried Palestinian flags and signs with the names of more than 500 Palestinian communities which - like al-Damoun - were erased fifty-two years ago. Upon reaching the village site, which has remained unpopulated until today, the march was transformed into a public rally. Speakers, among them Suleiman Fahmawi (Spokesperson, National Committee for the Defense of Internally Displaced Palestinians in Israel), members of Knesset Issam Makhoul, Hashem Mahmeed, Sheikh Ra'ed Salah (Mayor of Umm al-Fahm), and representatives of political parties,  represented all sectors of the Palestinian community in Israel. Their speeches emphasized Palestinian unity in the call for the implementation of UN Resolution 194 and the right of refugees and internally displaced to return to homes and properties, and called upon the Palestinian community in Israel to boycott all Israeli "independence celebrations" which mark an event of mourning and tragedy ("al-Nakba") for the Palestinian people.

Earlier on this day, approximately 1,000 Palestinians, led by the displaced inhabitants of Umm al-Zeinat village, gathered for a memorial visit at the site of the destroyed village which constituted one of the major Palestinian communities in the Karmel Mountain (Haifa area) prior to 1948. In 1944/5 Umm al-Zeinat counted 1,470 Palestinian inhabitants who owned 22 sq. km of land. The village was destroyed on 15 May 1948 by Haganah forces. The Israeli settlement of Elyakim was established on the southern parts of the land, while the rest of the land - including the village site - has remained unpopulated and is currently used as cattle grazing ground and agricultural land by Israeli farmers.

Palestinian refugees from Umm al-Zeinat, estimated to count 10,500 persons today, came from Palestinian towns and villages in Israel and refugee camps in the West Bank and in Jordan, in order to commemorate their eviction and to express their determination to return to their homes and properties. The "Return Visit", guided by Suleiman Fahmawi, spokesperson of the National Committee for the Defense of Internally Displaced Palestinians in Israel and a resident of Umm al-Zeinat himself, included a visit to the destroyed village graveyard. Play at the best today.

For additional information contact: National Committee for the Defense of Internally Displaced Palestinians in Israel, Suleiman Fahmawi (spokesperson): tel. 06-6325929, 050267679; email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.