Page last updated at 14:40 GMT, Thursday, 15 May 2008 15:40 UK

In pictures: 'Catastrophe' protests

US flag is burned during a demonstration in the West Bank city of Nablus

Palestinians have been marking the 60th anniversary of what they call the Nakba, or the "catastrophe", of the founding of Israel.

Ceremony in the West Bank city of Jenin

Some 700,000 Palestinians fled or were forced from their homes in the war that followed Israel's declaration of independence in 1948.

Palestinian girl dressed in traditional clothes in ceremony in Gaza City

Several generations of Palestinians have grown up in refugee camps scattered throughout the Middle East and the Palestinian territories.

Demonstration marking al-Nakba in Cairo, Egypt

Some 4.5m Palestinian refugees now claim the right of return to lands they lost in Israel's founding in 1948.

Palestinian demonstrators carry UN flags in Jerusalem's Old City

Some of the Palestinian demonstrators have been carrying UN flags, referring to resolution 194 which they say grants them the right of return to their ancestral lands.

Palestinians with models of Israeli army vehicles and pictures of prisoners held in Israeli jails in a demonstration in Nablus, in the West Bank

Many Palestinians accuse Israel of hurting the innocent and of collective punishment in its attempts to quash Palestinian militants, correspondents say.

Rally in Damascus, Syria

These demonstrators in Damascus, Syria, wear robes with pictures of Palestinians allegedly killed by Israel. One of them reads: "One of their heroic deeds is the killing of Palestinians."

US President George W Bush (left) and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert at the historic fortress of Masada, in Israel

And as Palestinians mark their "catastrophe", Israel celebrates its 60th anniversary. Visiting Israel, US President George W Bush said there should be a democratic homeland for Palestinians.

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