World

Palestinians rally to commemorate their displacement in 1948 Mideast war

People hold torches as Palestinians hold a rally to commemorate the 1948 creation of the Israeli state, known in Arabic as "Nakba Day," or "Day of the Catastrophe" in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, Tuesday, May 14, 2013. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

People hold torches as Palestinians hold a rally to commemorate the 1948 creation of the Israeli state, known in Arabic as "Nakba Day," or "Day of the Catastrophe" in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, Tuesday, May 14, 2013. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)  (The Associated Press)

Palestinians are rallying in the West Bank and Gaza Strip to mark the 65th anniversary of their displacement in the war that followed the creation of the state of Israel.

Thousands marched in Ramallah Wednesday, holding flags and large symbolic keys chanting "the right of return will not die." Smaller rallies were held in Gaza.

Palestinians annually mark the "nakba," or "catastrophe" — the term they use to describe their defeat and displacement in the war that followed Israel's founding in 1948.

Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled or were forced from their villages during the war. The dispute over the fate of Palestinian refugees and their descendants remains at the core of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Today, surviving refugees and their descendants number several million.