9 killed as Israeli forces attack Nakba marches on northern, southern and central borders
Sunday May 15, 2011 21:35 by Saed Bannoura - IMEMC News
An estimated four people were killed Sunday on the Syria-Israel border, five killed on the Lebanon-Israel border, 52 injured in Gaza, and at least 24 injured in the West Bank as Israeli forces attacked Palestinian refugees trying to re-enter their former homes in what is now Israel. The day of protests was a commemoration of the ‘Nakba’ or ‘Catastrophe’, the day when Israel was created on Palestinian land 63 years ago.
Palestinian protesters at border (image from Ha'aretz)
The Israeli military confirmed firing at protesters on the Israel-Syrian border, as thousands of refugees tried to cross into the Golan Heights – a territory that was traditionally Palestinian, but is now a disputed territory claimed by both Israel and Syria. Many Palestinians who lived in the area found their towns and families split in half by the border.
Initial reports indicate that four people were killed by Israeli gunfire on the Syrian border, and dozens were wounded, as Palestinians crossed dangerous unmapped minefields to cross into the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights.
Thousands of Palestinian refugees in southern Lebanon also tried to cross the border with Israel Sunday morning, and were met with gunfire from Israeli troops stationed at the border. Local sources report that at least five people were killed, and ten wounded by Israeli gunfire in the Maroun al-Ras area.
In Gaza, according to local sources, around 1,000 Palestinian refugees and supporters from the Gaza Strip marched on the Erez border crossing between Israel and the Gaza Strip, where they were fired on by Israeli troops, injuring at least 52 people.
Palestinian refugees from the West Bank also marched to the Qalandia checkpoint established by Israeli forces as the main border crossing between the West Bank and what is now Israel, although Qalandia’s location is far east of the internationally-agreed armistice line of 1967, and indicates a possible land grab by Israel if established as an actual border.
At least five Palestinian youth were injured when Israeli forces fired live rounds at a group of youth throwing stones during the largely peaceful demonstration of several thousand people at Qalandia. Dozens more were injured by rubber-coated steel bullets and tear gas inhalation.
In Issawiya, in east Jerusalem, Israeli forces fired on a group of youth throwing stones during a march held in that neighborhood. Four people were detained.
Elsewhere in the West Bank, students from Bir Zeit university, near Ramallah, set tires on fire as some youth threw stones at Israeli soldiers at the Atara checkpoint.
In al-Walaja village, a site known for non-violent anti-Wall protests, several hundred Palestinians, internationals and Israelis marched to the site of Wall construction in the center of the village – at least five were detained – three internationals and two Palestinians.
At least 63 Palestinians have been detained by Israeli forces at protests in the West Bank and Jerusalem since Friday.