Abbas: Presence of Our People Cannot Be Ignored

Palestinians Clash With IDF Forces in Jerusalem, West Bank on Nakba Day

Several Israeli security forces wounded by rocks, fire bomb; Palestinian president reiterates call for independent Palestinian state based on '67 borders.

Clashes broke out on Wednesday between Palestinians and Israeli troops on Nakba Day, the day the Palestinians mark the establishment of Israel. In Jerusalem and the West Bank, Palestinians threw stones and burned garbage bins, while the Israel Defense Forces used teargas and stun grenades.

In Jerusalem, two policemen were lightly injured when Palestinian protesters threw stones. Two ultra-Orthodox men were lightly injured when they were beaten by Palestinians.

In the West Bank south of Hebron, a firebomb was hurled at an IDF jeep, destroying the vehicle and wounding four soldiers. In Jerusalem, around 200 Palestinians clashed with police near Damascus Gate and Flowers Gate after the police’s calls for marchers to disperse went unheeded.

The disturbances lasted for several hours. The Palestinians say excessive force was used against them, including teargas, batons and water cannons.

Clashes flared up again at Damascus Gate after a police vehicle was stoned. Palestinians reported a number of injured. The police spokesman did not respond to news photographers’ charges that that police threatened them with their weapons.

In Qalandiyah and Bitunia north of Jerusalem, dozens of Palestinians rioted, throwing stones and burning garbage bins, with Israeli soldiers firing teargas and stun grenades in response. Violent protests also took place in Kfar Kadum in the northern West Bank and at Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem.

In Ramallah, hundreds of Palestinians converged at Al-Manara Square. At noon, a memorial siren sounded throughout the city. Commemorative events were also held in Hebron and Jenin. In Gaza, a demonstration was attended by both Hamas and Fatah members.

Nakba Day commemorations were also held yesterday in refugee camps throughout Lebanon. Speakers urged the Palestinian leaders not to give up on the right of return.

No special events took place in Arab cities and towns in Israel; events were scheduled at various locations, but no protests were planned. At Clock Tower Square in Jaffa a few dozen people staged a peaceful demonstration.

A speech by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was broadcast on the Palestinian Authority’s TV channel. Abbas said Palestinians would not accept any proposal that conflicted with the creation of an independent Palestinian state. He would not give up on a just and viable solution for Palestinian refugees based on UN resolution 194.

“In the past, attempts have been made to erase our national identity and memory. But today we are a people whose presence on the world map cannot be ignored,” Abbas said, noting that “a majority of the world’s nations, including the United States, acknowledge our right to an independent Palestinian state within the 1967 borders.”