Palestinians living in Israel commemorated Thursday Nakba (‘Catastrophe’) Day by mass pilgrimages to destroyed Palestinian villages.

In the morning, families of internally displaced Palestinians visited the sites of the villages that they were expelled in 1948. In the afternoon, around 5,000 people held a rally at the site of Khirbet Husha and Khirbet Ksair in the Galilee.

Residents of Both Husha and Ksair were forced to abandon their villages after being attacked by Jewish forces in April 1948.

The rally was organized by the Committee for the Defense of the Rights of the Internally Displaced.

More than 250,000 internally displaced people live in Israel, many only a few minutes drive from the villages from which their families were forcefully displaced.

‘The internally displaced in Israel thought someone would act on their behalf, but were disappointed. Young people who began to develop political consciousness took the initiative, and local committees sprouted up in different villages,’ Daud Bader, secretary of the Committee for the Rights of the Internally Displaced, said.

Some of the participants at the rally arrived from the center of Israel on a bus bearing the symbolic number 194, the number of the UN resolution dealing with the Palestinians’ ‘right of return.’