Beit Ommar Marks 64 Years of the Nakba
Today, May 15, 2012, Palestinians are remembering the 64th anniversary of the Nakba. In Arabic, “nakba” means “catastrophe,” and it refers to the creation of the state of Israel in 1948, which was accompanied by the expulsion of 700,000 Palestinians from their homes. Many Palestinians were forcibly expelled from their homes, while others fled when they heard the news of massacres in nearby villages, such as Deir Yassin and Tantura. More than 450 Palestinian towns and villages were depopulated by Zionist forces, and most of them were razed to the ground to prevent the return of the Palestinian refugees. Many refugee families still carry the keys to the homes that they were forced to leave.
In Beit Ommar today, soldiers began shooting teargas into the town at 9:30am. At 11am, they shot teargas at schoolgirls as they left school. The gas continued to pick up after a demonstration took place at 1pm, and continued to increase in intensity until about 5pm. The teargas was directed towards people’s homes, the Center for Freedom and Justice (where PSP activists were filming the soldiers), and at anyone walking through the streets. The teargas caused several fires near people’s homes, which were fortunately put out before any serious damage was done. One arrest was made: Hamidan Ahmad Abu Maria (age 17) was ambushed by soldiers and arrested while driving a tractor through the street to his farmland, and then was beaten by the soldiers.