Palestinians Clash With IDF in Minor Nakba Day Protests Across West Bank

Despite heightened security, events commemorating the 'disaster' of Israel's formation have been marked by a relative calm; Palestinians clashing with IDF in Qalandia.

Despite heightened security, Nakba Day events have been marked by a relative calm on Tuesday, with Palestinians in the West Bank and Israeli Arabs commemorating what they consider as the disaster of Israel's formation with modest parades and protests.

Army and police officials have been on high alert ahead of the Palestinian day of mourning, after last year's Nakba Day events were marked with violence and clashes along Israel's border.

At the time, eight protesters were reportedly killed near Israel's border, as Israel Defense Forces soldiers opened fire on large numbers of infiltrators trying cross over from Lebanon and Syria. Clashes between IDF troops and Palestinian protesters were also reported in the West Bank.

However, Tuesday's Nakba Day events were significantly more subdued, with relatively minor events reported, mainly in the West Bank.

The most prominent of those was a protest taking place near the IDF checkpoint in Qalandia, where about 150 Palestinians rallied, hurling rocks at Israeli forces, who responded by firing tear gas canisters.

Incidents also occurred in Bitunya, and near Rachels tomb. Crowds of roughly 350, and 200, respectively, gathered at the sites, and threw rocks at IDF forces.

IDF officials indicated that protests were also marked elsewhere in the West Bank, adding, however, that not abnormal events were reported.

A parade participated in by hundreds of Palestinians took place near Rachel's Tomb on the outskirts of the Palestinian town of Bethlehem; about 30 protesters began clashing with IDF troops, hurling stones, and rolling burning tires at security forces. No injuries or damages were reported.

Meanwhile, despite calls for a general strike in Israeli Arab towns and villages, only some business shut down for the day, with businesses and, in some cases, schools running as usual. In the north and in the Negev, moreover, the strike is hardly felt at all.

MK Ahmed Tibi participated in Nakba Day event in Lajun village, near Umm al-Fahm. Minister Uzi Landaus comparison of commemorating the Nakba to the Nazis and the Holocaust is corrupt, and skewed. Recognition and empathy with the suffering of the other is a supreme human value, and a step toward reconciliation between peoples, said Tibi.

On Monday, right-wing protesters clashed with Tel Aviv University students who held a Nakba Day memorial service near the campus, with dozens of police officers securing the highly charged event.

On Sunday, Education Minister and Council for Higher Education Chairman Gideon Sa'ar attempted to stop the ceremony from taking place, calling TAU President Professor Yossef Kalupter and requesting that the university reconsider its decision to allow the event to take place.

Sa'ar's press advisor told Haaretz in response that "the education minister is of the opinion that the decision is wrong and infuriating."

West Bank separation fence