Nakba is an Arabic word for “catastrophe.” It refers to the day after Israel declared itself an independent state from the British in 1948, which led to what some historians and the United Nations calls The First Arab-Israeli War.

A collection of Palestine solidarity organizations around Tucson met at Armory Park Saturday, May 18 for a commemorative Nakba March and Rally.

Though May 15, 2024 was the 76th anniversary of the First Arab-Israeli War, organizers of this rally said they chose to hold their rally Saturday to allow more of the community to come out and be involved.

The event that the rally goers call the Nakba is also known as the start of Israel’s deadliest war, according to the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. They also refer to it as Israel’s War of Independence.

The rally started in Armory Park downtown with several speakers before marchers made their way down Congress Street to reach the Federal building.

The Federal Building in Tucson is home to several local employees for United States Government organizations, including the State Department and Citizenship and Immigration Services.

One of the marchers who spoke at the rally was Moyheddin Abdulaziz. He was born in Palestine and said he saw his village destroyed in 1947.

I am 76 years old,” he said. “So, I am the continuing Nakba, or I am a witness to all those Nakbas from Israels creation as a settler colonial state until now.

The group at the rally totaled around 150 people. The ages ranged from peoplelike Abdulaziz who were alive for the Nakba in 1948 to parents with children less than a year old.

One of those parents is Maggie Smith. She said she was drawn to come to the rally since she was in the hospital giving birth to her twins during the attacks in Israel on Oct. 7.

My kids were in NICU,” she said. “They were born five weeks early, and they were in isolettes the day the power was cut and Gazas babies had to come out of their isolettes and it just really hit me that if they were in Gaza theyd be deceased at this time.

The Arizona Palestine Solidarity Alliance has hosted annual demonstrations around May 15 for several years.

Abdulaziz said he feels that this year’s demonstration is different.

We are not far from Biden and were not far from Gaza because its our direct responsibility. Its our job as citizens of this country. Whats the purpose of democracy if we have no voice?