Nakba Day marked with rioting, rock throwing and rally

(JTA) — Some Palestinians marked Nakba Day with riots and rock throwing, while a rally in Ramallah drew thousands and later turned violent.

Palestinians on Tuesday rioted and threw rocks at Israeli troops near the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron, at the Kalandiya checkpoint and at Rachel’s Tomb near Bethlehem. Several Palestinian rioters were arrested.

An Israeli soldier and a border patrol officer were injured during a rock-throwing incident at a checkpoint north of Jerusalem.

Ynet also reported that two Palestinians were arrested at the Tapuach Junction for carrying a suspicious bag. Border guards found four pipe bombs, a gun and ammunition in the bag.

In Ramallah’s central Clock Square, thousands of Palestinians rallied at noon as a siren sounded to commemorate the Nakba, or catastrophe, referring to Israel’s foundation in 1948 as a state. A similar rally was scheduled to be held in Gaza.

Some 200 waved Palestinians flags outside the Old City’s Damascus Gate.

The Palestinian news service Ma’an reported that more than 60 Palestinians were injured in clashes with Israeli forces following the march from the Ramallah rally to the Ofer detention center, and another 20 at Kalandiya. Israeli forces used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the protesters.   

Thousands of Arab-Israelis demonstrated at a rally near Umm al-Fahm in northern Israel. Several Arab members of the Knesset, as well as the leader of the Islamic Movement’s Northern Branch, Raed Salah, attended the rally. 

On Tuesday morning, a rocket fired from Gaza struck southern Israel, bit did not cause any injuries or damage.

The Palestinian Authority reportedly declared a general strike, and the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee declared a strike in Israel’s Arab sector to mark the day. 

Nakba Day marches also were scheduled to be held in Jordan and in Tahrir Square in Cairo. Commemorations of Nakba Day in Lebanon are being limited to the refugee camps, according to Lebanon’s The Daily Star. The orders come a year after more than 100 protesters stormed Lebanon’s border with Israel, leading to the death of at least 10 protesters.

Israel’s military brought more troops to the country’s borders with Syria, Lebanon, Egypt and Gaza in an attempt to prevent border breaches by protesters like those that occurred last year.  

In Sydney, Australia, inner-city streets were brought to a standstill as pro-Palestinian demonstrators marched in commemoration of Nakba Day, despite an 11th-hour attempt by New South Wales police to stop the march. 

More than 100 pro-Palestinian supporters took to the streets Tuesday at 7 p.m., after the evening peak traffic time. Among the chants were "Israel, USA — how many kids have you killed today?"

An Australian Supreme Court judge ruled Monday that the march could go ahead. Police had attempted to gain an injunction to move the rally from downtown Sydney at peak traffic hour to a different location, citing dangers to drivers and commuters.

Vic Alhadeff, the chief executive of the New South Wales Jewish Board of Deputies, told J-Wire, a local website: "As Australians, we should not be importing overseas conflicts onto the streets of Sydney. But there is a tragedy today, and it is that when the Jewish world accepted the State of Israel as decreed by the U.N. 64 years ago, the Arab world did not do the same. If it had, we would be celebrating a state of Palestine today which is 64 years old, just as Israel is."

 

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