Egypt warns against consequences of Israeli escalation in Gaza

GAZA: As the Gaza war raged on, Palestinians on Wednesday marked the anniversary of the Nakba, or “catastrophe,” of mass displacement during the creation of the state of Israel 76 years ago.

Thousands marched in cities across the Israeli-occupied West Bank, waving Palestinian flags, wearing keffiyeh scarves and holding up symbolic keys as reminders of long-lost family homes.

Inside the besieged Gaza Strip, where the Israel-Hamas war has ground on for more than seven months, scores more died in the fighting sparked by the Hamas attack of Oct. 7.

“Our ‘Nakba’ in 2023 is the worst ever,” said one displaced Gaza man, Mohammed Al-Farra, whose family fled their home in Khan Younis for the coastal area of Al-Mawasi. 

“It is much harder than the Nakba of 1948.”

Palestinians everywhere have long mourned the events of that year when, during the war that led to the establishment of Israel, around 760,000 Palestinians fled or were driven from their homes.

But 42-year-old Farra, whose family was then displaced from Jaffa near Tel Aviv, said the current war is even harder.

“When your child is accustomed to all the comforts and luxuries, and suddenly, overnight, everything is taken away from him … it is a big shock.”

Thousands marched in the West Bank city of Ramallah, as well as in Nablus, Hebron and elsewhere, carrying banners denouncing the occupation and protesting the war in Gaza.

“There’s pain for us, but of course more pain for Gazans,” said one protester, Manal Sarhan, 53, who has relatives in Israeli jails that have not been heard from since Oct. 7. “We’re living the Nakba a second time.” 

Commemorations and marches — held a day after Israel’s Independence Day — come as the Gaza war has brought a massive death toll and the forced displaced of most of the territory’s 2.4 million people.

A devastating humanitarian crisis has plagued the territory, with the UN warning of looming famine in the north.

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