GAZA, May 15 (Xinhua) -- The Palestinians marked on Monday the 69 anniversary for al-Nakba Day, or the Catastrophe, stressing on the right of return to the towns and villages they were forced to leave in 1948 and refused other alternatives.
Marking the day every year on the same day, the Palestinians launched at midday their Nakba activities by releasing the sound of sirens in most of the cities and refugee camps in the West Bank.
Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, members of Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) executive committee and members of President Mahmoud Abbas Fatah Party central committee, places wreathes of flowers on the tomb of late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat in the West Bank city of Ramallah.
Leaders and supporters of various Palestinian factions joined a large rally outside the headquarters of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) in the city and marched towards a large tent erected in solidarity with hundreds of Palestinian prisoners, who have been going on a hunger strike for 29 days in Israeli jails.
The participants in the rally waved Palestinian and black flags to condemn al-Nakba Day, besides carrying shapes of homes keys made of wood, which is a symbol to the return to the homes of the Palestinians who became refugees.
A huge sign carrying the number 69 years for al-Nakba was placed on a podium, where a sentence written on it "we will return."
Wassel Abu Yousef, a PLO executive committee member told the rally that the Palestinians are still sticking to their right of return, adding "this is a holy right that was ensured by all laws and world legislations."
"There will be no peace or an end to the conflict with Israel without the return of the Palestinian refugees to their homes and without the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, in accordance to the international resolutions."
Ali Abu Dyak, the PNA minister of Justice, who also joined the rally said the Palestinian people are insisting "to carry on with their struggle until they gain their legitimate rights, mainly ending the occupation, settlement and get their right of return."
The justice minister called on the international community and all other rights organizations to help the Palestinian people to gain their rights of return, freedom and independence, ending with establishing their independent state.
Meanwhile, a Palestinian march organized to mark al-Nakba Day was turned into a demonstration near the Israeli army checkpoint of Beit Ail north of the city of al-Beera in the West Bank, and the demonstration turned into clashes with the Israeli soldiers stationed at the checkpoint.
Palestinian sources said that seven Palestinians were shot and wounded by Israeli soldiers' gunfire during the demonstration, adding that dozens inhaled tear gas and were lightly injured by the rubber bullets of the Israeli soldiers.
Similar demonstrations dominated the streets of the West Bank cities of Nablus, Hebron, Bethlehem, Tulkarem, Qalqilia and Jenin, then the demonstrators gathered at tents erected in these cities in support for the striking prisoners.
Mahmoud Aloul, Fatah deputy chairman told the demonstrators at one of the tents in the city of Nablus that the Nakba of the Palestinian people "was the biggest crime that was committed against the Palestinian people in the world."
"Although 69 years had passed, our people and these generations will carry on demanding for their legitimate rights until they gain it, mainly ending the occupation, returning to their homes in their villages and towns and establishing the independent state with Jerusalem as its capital," said Aloul.
In Gaza, hundreds of Islamic Hamas movement and the Islamic Jihad demonstrated in the main streets of Gaza to mark the 69 years for al-Nakba Day. Al-Nakba is the day when the Palestinians left their homes in their towns and villages and the state of Israeli was established on the ruins of their homes.
The demonstrators took to the streets and marched towards the officers of the United Nations in Gaza City, where Ahmad Bahar, a senior Hamas leader told the rally that the Palestinians are insisting to gain back their historic right in Palestine.
Bahar is the deputy speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), where his Islamic block in the parliament in Gaza city, which has been inoperative since the beginning of the internal split between Hamas and Fatah, organized a special session in Jabalia refugee camp in northern Gaza Strip.
The Palestinian Committee to Revive al-Nakba Day which belongs to the PLO handed a letter to the head of the United Nations office in Gaza on the occasion of al-Nakba Day.
Chairman of the committee Zakareya al-Agha said the letter calls on the UN to implement the resolutions related to resolving the Palestinian cause and giving the Palestinians their legitimate rights, mainly the right of return. The PLO official urged to UN to take the responsibility and help the Palestinians gain their rights.