Not Just Gaza: Palestinians in West Bank and Jerusalem Urged to Hold Mass Protests

Marches planned against U.S. embassy move and for Palestinian statehood, raising potential for additional clashes besides those expected on Gaza border

Israeli soldiers stand guard as Palestinian demonstrate ahead of Nakba anniversary, in Bethlehem, May 10, 2018.
\ MUSSA ISSA QAWASMA/ REUTERS

Palestinians throughout the West Bank and Jerusalem are being urged to turn out en masse to protest Monday’s transfer of the American Embassy to Jerusalem and Tuesday’s 70th anniversary of the Nakba, or “catastrophe,” as Palestinians term Israel’s creation.

In Ramallah and El Bireh, the marches will start at 11 A.M. and proceed to the Qalandiyah Checkpoint near Jerusalem. Marches will also leave from other cities, including Bethlehem, Hebron, Nablus and Jericho.

The National Committee to Commemorate the Nakba said the Palestinian public must send a message to the international community that it rejects the decision to move the embassy and insists on the Palestinians’ right to statehood and self-determination.

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“This is the day the masses will turn out to defend Jerusalem and oppose any attempt to distort the city’s identity,” it said in a statement. “We urge young people to clash with the occupation forces at points of contact and checkpoints.”

Palestinian women walk past posters marking the 70th anniversary of the Nakba in Ramallah, in the West Bank, on May 13, 2018.
ABBAS MOMANI/AFP

But it’s still not clear how many Palestinians will answer this call, or to what extent the Palestinian Authority is willing to allow clashes with Israel, even though Fatah, the Palestinian Authority’s governing party, is participating in the calls to people to go out and demonstrate.

Though Fatah is the dominant organization in the West Bank, the focal point in Jerusalem will be a demonstration organized by the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee, an umbrella organization representing Israel’s Arab community, in the Arnona neighborhood, where the new U.S. embassy will be located. The committee also urged Jerusalem’s Palestinians, who aren’t represented on it, to attend.

“We’ll raise our voice against U.S. policy, which backs the Israeli government’s occupation and settlements and the destruction of the possibility of establishing a Palestinian state in the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital,” said committee chairman Mohammed Barakeh.