As Israelis celebrated ‘Independence Day’ on May 5, Palestinians collectively mourned the period of mass forced displacement that the Zionist movement inflicted upon them between 1947-49. More than 750,000 Palestinians became refugees or internally displaced persons (IDPs) during this period.
A few kilometres west of Tiberias in the Galilee, on the lands of the depopulated village of Lubya, thousands of Palestinian citizens of Israel marched together in the annual March of Return, where they called for the implementation of their right of return. Many of those in attendance were themselves IDPs.
After the forced depopulation and subsequent military destruction of Lubya, the Jewish National Fund established South Africa Forest (also known as Lavi Forest) over the ruins. On ‘Independence Day’, many Israelis celebrated inside South Africa Forest among the trees that were planted to cover the ruins. At the other side of the forest, thousands of Palestinians demanded to return to their original villages.
For Palestinians, the creation of Israel and the Zionist movement that enforced it are synonymous with the Palestinian Nakba, or catastrophe, of 1947-49.