Entries in Nakba Day (2)


Violence as Palestinians Mark ‘Catastrophe’ of Israel’s Founding

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(BEITUNIA, West Bank) -- Palestinian protesters clashed with Israeli soldiers on Tuesday as Palestinians marked the “Nakba” — meaning “catastrophe” in Arabic — their name for the founding of Israel 64 years ago.

In contrast to recent years, the day also saw celebrations as Palestinian demonstrators reveled in what they considered a victory over Israel: a deal that brought an end to the hunger strikes of some 1,600 Palestinians in Israeli prisons, the biggest ever.

There were scattered demonstrations in East Jerusalem and across the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip. But on the whole, the day was considerably less violent than last year, when at least a dozen protesters were killed by the Israeli military when trying to cross border fences from Syria and Lebanon into Israel.

Stone-throwing Palestinian youths were met Tuesday with tear gas and rubber bullets at the Qalandiya checkpoint near Jerusalem and at Ofer prison near the West Bank city of Ramallah.

Palestinians use May 15 each year to mark the fleeing or eviction of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians during and after the Arab-Israeli War of Independence that followed the establishment of Israel in 1948.

“Today, our people from all walks of life unite to commemorate the Nakba, which displaced our people — and they continue to suffer as a result,” Palestinian President Abbas said in a speech Tuesday. “Every Palestinian, man and women, [suffers] whether living under occupation or in the refugee camps.”

In the center of Ramallah, the demonstrations took on a more festive tone as they celebrated Monday’s deal that ended the hunger strikes of 1,600 prisoners, most of whom had been on strike for almost a month.  Two prisoners were on their 78th day without food. They had been protesting solitary confinement, lack of family visits and the practice of “administrative detention,” which allows Israel to hold prisoners indefinitely without charge. Israel agreed to roll back the practices if the prisoners agreed “to completely halt terrorist activity inside Israeli prisons.”

Palestinian and Israeli officials had warned of an outbreak in violence if one or more of the hunger strikers died. The hunger strike hit close to home for Palestinians, many of whom have seen relatives spend time in Israeli prisons.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Nakba Day Marked by Violent Clashes

Antenna Audio, Inc./Getty Images(TEL AVIV) -- On Sunday Palestinians marked “Nakba,” the “catastrophe” of the creation of Israel 63 years ago.

It is an annual day of mourning but tensions have been heightened because of loud calls online for a third intifada, the shooting death of a Palestinian teen in East Jerusalem on Friday allegedly by settlers or their security, general upheaval in the region and the recent unity deal between Fatah and Hamas.

At dawn prayers in Gaza, Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeah said Nakba is marked "with great hope of bringing to an end the Zionist project in Palestine."

Sunday saw clashes in Issawiya, Hebron, and outside Ramallah, with demonstrations also taking place in Gaza and the West Bank. 

One person was killed and at least 15 others were injured when a truck plowed and pedestrians in Tel Aviv. The driver of the truck, who has denied that it was an intentional act, was later arrested by police.

Near the Kalandia checkpoint in the West Bank, there were scenes of tires burning and Palestinians throwing rocks at Israeli soldiers. The atmosphere was completed by the smell smoke and tear gas in the air and the sounds of hundreds of protesters and sirens from ambulances driving through the crowd.

Several people were reportedly killed after Israeli forces opened fire on protestors at border crossing points in Gaza, the West Bank, Golan Heights and the frontier with Lebanon, the BBC reports.

Copyright 2011 ABC New Radio

ABC News Radio