Middle East

Two killed as Palestinians mark 70th Nakba anniversary in wide-scale protests

Two Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip on Monday as thousands of Palestinians took to the streets across the occupied territory to mark the 70th anniversary of the Nakba, with tensions running high in Jerusalem, Gaza, and the West Bank.

While the anniversary is typically commemorated on 15 May, large demonstrations took place on Monday to both accommodate the imminent beginning of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and protest the inauguration of the US embassy to Israel in Jerusalem.

American President Donald Trumps move has deeply angered Palestinians, who have seen the decision as open support of the Israeli government to the detriment of any peace negotiations.

The status of Jerusalem has long been a point of contention in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as the Palestinian Authority (PA) wants East Jerusalem to be its capital as part of a two-state solution, while Israel claims the whole city as its capital city.

According to Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld, thousands of police officers were deployed in Jerusalem on Monday in anticipation of the embassy inauguration ceremony, which is set to occur at 4pm local time.

Meanwhile, at least 1,200 Israeli soldiers were reportedly deployed across the West Bank set to counter large-scale protests across the territory.


US embassy opens in Jerusalem sparking Palestinian protests

Demonstrators in Gaza, who have been gathering for the past six weeks as part of the “Great March of Return”, once again returned across the “buffer zone” near the fence separating the blockaded coastal territory from Israel.

The Gaza ministry of health reported that Anas Hamdan Qudeih, 21, was shot and killed east of Khan Younis, while Musab Youssef Abu Laila, 29, was killed near Jabalia.

At least 27 people have been wounded by Israeli forces across the territory by 12 pm local time, according to the ministry, which added that 22 of the wounded had been hit by live ammunition.

MEE correspondents on the ground in Gaza reported that Israeli forces stationed behind the fence had been heavily firing live bullets at crowds since the morning, in addition to small drones dropping tear gas canisters right above the demonstrators.

According to the Gaza ministry of health, Israeli forces have killed 51 Palestinians and wounded more than 9,500 since the beginning of the march – as the international community has denounced the army's excessive use of force.

The Nakba – or catastrophe – saw 750,000 Palestinians displaced from their homes during the creation of the state of Israel in 1948. Their descendants now number five million refugees, including more than two million in the occupied Palestinian territory alone, who have been calling for an end to the Israeli occupation and the right to return to their homeland.

Original Article


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