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Ikrit-birim Residents Protest Orders Barring Their Return

January 5, 1973
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

About 40 former residents of Ikrit and Birim who were evacuated from those Upper Galilee border villages after Israel’s War for Independence in 1948, demonstrated peacefully outside the Knesset today to protest orders barring their return. They told newsmen they would continue their campaign for return by legal means.

The demonstrators carried placards reading “Birim is a closed area. Justice cannot get in.” They dispersed when a delegation of five former villagers were allowed to enter the Knesset building to speak to members in the lobby. Ikrit and Birim were evacuated by the Army in 1948 because their proximity to the Lebanese border was considered a security problem. The Arab villagers were relocated and the towns were subsequently razed. The villagers renewed their campaign to return last year but the Government upheld the military’s position that the area still constituted a security zone. Last week military officials declared the area closed to civilians.

Meanwhile, the Military Governor of Nablus turned down a request by former Mayor Hamdi Kanan and other city notables to hold a march Jan. 28 to protest the closure of 40,000 dunams (10,000 acres) of land by the Israeli Army since the Six-Day War. The Military Governor told a delegation that security considerations would not permit holding large meetings or demonstrations. The closed areas, which the Nablus residents want reopened, are in the administered territories. The Army says they were closed for security reasons.

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