A Palestnian man living in 1948 areas holds a Palestinian flag on Thursday during a protest to mark the right of return for refugees who fled their homes during the Nakba or Catastrophe, in which the state of Israel was created on May 12, 1948. REUTERS/Ammar Awad Image Credit: REUTERS

1948 areas: Thousands of Palestinians living in 1948 areas marched in favour of a right of return of millions of Palestinians on Thursday, the same day Israelis celebrate the creation of their state.

The demosntrators were carrying Palestinian flags and others were holding up signs demanding the right to return for refugees.

Organisers said it was the first time such a demonstration has been held in the Negev.

Israeli Jews, in contrast, celebrated in public parties in two very different sets of reactions to the 68th anniversary of Israel’s founding.

Israelis hail independence day as what they call the reformation of the Jewish state.

For Palestinians, however, the events of 1948 are seen as a “nakba” - catastrophe in Arabic - as more than 760,000 Palestinians, estimated today to number about 5.5 million with their descendants, fled or were driven from their homes.

The Nakba will be formerly marked on May 15.

Marchers carried the slogan “On the anniversary of your independence, remember our nakba.”

For the Palestinians, the right to return to homes they fled or were forced out of is a prerequisite for any peace agreement with Israel, but it is a demand that the Israeli regime has rejected out of hand.