Clashes in West Bank as Palestinians Mark Nakba Day

Clashes broke out across the West Bank on Wednesday as Palestinians marked the 65th year since the Nakba in 1948, witnesses and Israel’s army said.

In east Jerusalem, police clashed with demonstrators outside the Old City’s Damascus Gate, police spokeswoman Luba Samri told AFP, saying three policemen were injured and eight Palestinians arrested.

Some 1,000 people turned out in the northern West Bank town of Nablus, and another 300 in southern Hebron.

In Hebron, protestors threw a Molotov cocktail at an Israeli military jeep, causing it to flip over and set alight. Four soldiers were wounded in the incident and taken to hospital, a military spokeswoman said.

In Qalandiya, Israeli forces fired tear gas at protesters demonstrating to mark Nakba Day, locals said. An Israeli army spokeswoman said over 50 Palestinians hurled rocks at Israeli soldiers, who responded with “riot dispersal means.”

Israeli soldiers fired rubber bullets at protesters gathered in front of Ofer military prison near Ramallah, wounding 15 of them, Palestinian medical officials said.

Demonstrators pelted soldiers with stones, the army said.

A rocket was fired at southern Israel from Gaza at around 4 p.m., an Israeli army spokeswoman told Ma’an, with no injuries or damage reported.

Thousands of people gathered in the center of Gaza City, holding placards that read “We will get back to Palestinian villages and towns, no matter how long it takes” and “The right of return is sacred and inalienable”.

In Ramallah, sirens sounded for 65 seconds, representing the 65 years of the existence of the modern state of Israel.

President Mahmoud Abbas in a televised speech on Tuesday evening said “there is no country in the world, including the United States of America, that denies our right to establish our independent state based on the 1967 borders” — a reference to land occupied by Israel since the Six Day War.

“We are today a number (of people) and a truth that cannot be overlooked,” he said.

Thousands of people in the West Bank and Gaza Strip on Wednesday were marking the anniversary Wednesday, with faction leaders calling for Palestinian unity.

More than 760,000 Palestinians — estimated today to number 4.8 million with their descendants — were pushed into exile or driven out of their homes in the conflict surrounding Israel’s creation in 1948.

Around 160,000 Palestinians, who remained in Israel after 1948, now number around 1.36 million people, or 20 percent of the country’s population.

(Ma’an – maannews.net)

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