Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Clashes in W. Bank and J'lem as Palestinians mark Nakba Day


Palestinians throw stones, Molotov cocktails in J'lem, West Bank; 4 soldiers injured from Molotov cocktail attack; 19 Palestinians arrested in clashes with police at Damascus Gate; Gaza rocket lands in Eshkol.

Palestinian protesters, police clash at Damascus Gate in Jerusalem on Nakba Day, May 15, 2013.
Palestinian protesters, police clash at Damascus Gate in Jerusalem on Nakba Day, May 15, 2013. Photo: REUTERS/Ammar Awad
Palestinians on Wednesday marked the 65th anniversary of Nakba Day [Day of the Catastrophe], the day after the Gregorian calendar for Israeli independence, with demonstrations and rallies in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Clashes between Palestinian stone-throwers and IDF soldiers erupted in Kalandya, south of Ramallah, Hebron and Bethlehem. In all cases the IDF used crowd-dispersal methods, according to an IDF spokeswoman.

Palestinian news agency WAFA reported that several Palestinians were wounded in the clashes, however, the IDF could not confirm this.
The news agency additionally reported clashes between IDF soldiers and Palestinians at the eastern main entrance of the town of al-Ram, northeast of Jerusalem.
Four IDF soldiers were injured south of Mount Hebron after a Molotov cocktail was thrown into an army jeep they were in. They received medical treatment on the scene, and two of them were evacuated to Soroka University Medical Center in Beersheba with 2nd and 3rd degree burns for further treatment.
Nineteen Palestinians were arrested at Damascus Gate Wednesday afternoon after assaulting three Jerusalem police officers by throwing rocks and bottles at them. After sustaining a head injury, one officer was taken to a nearby hospital. Two other police officers were treated at the scene after sustaining light injures. One Israeli Jew was lightly injured after being beaten by a Palestinian.
According to Police Spokesman Micky Rosenfeld, officers have been on high alert in the Old City since Nakba Day commenced Wednesday morning, and are utilizing water cannons and horses, among other measures, to protect Jewish visitors from the onslaught of attacks.
“We have a strong police presence there right now to ensure the safety of all visitors,” said Rosenfeld, who added that he expects more arrests. “Police will remain at the scene until public order is restored.”
A rocket fired from Gaza landed in the Eshkol Regional Council on Wednesday afternoon, an IDF spokesperson said. No one was hurt, and no damage was reported.
Sirens went off for 65 seconds in a number of Palestinian cities in the West Bank, where tens of thousands of Palestinians carried Palestinian and black flags as well as keys symbolizing the "right of return."
Speakers at various rallies emphasized the Palestinians' right to return to their former villages and towns inside Israel.
"Sixty-five years after the Nakba, we affirm that we remain committed to the right of return in accordance with United Nations resolution 194," said Nablus governor Jibrin al-Bakri in a speech on behalf of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
Bakri said that the Palestinian leadership remains opposed to resuming peace talks with Israel as long as Israel continues to build in the settlements.
"The right of return is a sacred right and we can't give it up," Bakri told a major rally in Nablus.
In a televised speech marking Nakba Day, Abbas said that the Palestinians would not agree to any solution that does not guarantee them their right to a sovereign state on all the lands captured by Israel in 1967.
"We have scored victory against those who tried to bury our identity and deny our rights," Abbas said. "We have made huge sacrifices - thousands of martyrs and tens of thousands of wounded. Today there is no country in the world, including the US, that denies our legitimate right to an independent state on the territories occupied in 1967."
Abbas said that negotiations with Israel should be on the basis of the pre-1967 lines. He also reiterated his demand for the release of Palestinian prisoners, especially those who were imprisoned before the signing of the Oslo Accords two decades ago.
"There will be no peace without the return of our prisoners to their families," he added. staff contributed to this report.

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