Clashes break out in West Bank over 'Nakba Day' demonstrations

Palestinian demonstrators and Israeli security forces got into clashes in the West Bank on Monday as demonstrations marking 'Nakba Day' continued to escalate.

May 15, 2017 17:59
1 minute read.

Violent clashes break out in the West Bank as Palestinians mark 'Nabka Day'

Violent clashes break out in the West Bank as Palestinians mark 'Nabka Day'

IDF forces clashed with Palestinian protesters in Bethlehem and Ramallah on Monday during protests commemorating the Palestinian Nakba or “Catastrophe” and supporting Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike.

In Bethlehem at least three people were hospitalized after being injured by IDF crowd dispersal ammunitions, the Palestinian news agency Ma’an reported.

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Meanwhile, at the Beit El military checkpoint near Ramallah clashes erupted and seven Palestinians were injured, according to Ma’an.

An IDF spokesperson said there were two large protests in the northern West Bank, seven protests in the central West Bank and three protests south of Jerusalem. According to the IDF, protesters were throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails.

Also on Monday a Palestinian fisherman died in Gaza after being shot by an Israeli Navy patrol boat. The man, who was identified in Palestinian media as Muhammad Majed Bakr, 23, allegedly sought to break the Israeli maritime blockade of Gaza.

The IDF said they fired warning shots and then fired at the boat after the “Palestinian fishing ship deviated from the designated fishing zone in the northern Gaza Strip.” Bakr was evacuated and pronounced dead by doctors at the Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon.

After the Gaza war in 2014, Israel extended the fishing zone from three to six nautical miles, a substantial increase, but far less than the 12-nautical- mile limit from before the second intifada and 20 nautical miles stated in the Oslo Accords.

Clashes also took place in Ramallah between Palestinian police and activists who blocked off a commuter road with burning tires and dumpsters.

Activists who spoke with Ma’an said they blocked to road “in an attempt to make them remember the suffering of Palestinian prisoners.”

The hunger strike entered its 29th day on Monday with Israeli Prison Service reporting 850 prisoners remained on strike and Palestinian figures citing over 1,000.

Fatah leader and Palestinian prisoner Marwan Barghouti, who was convicted in the murder of five people, is leading the strike in Israeli prisons. The protesters are demanding improved prison conditions and an end to administrative detentions.

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan maintains that Barghouti is using the hunger strike to promote his standing in Palestinian politics.

Nakba day is observed by Palestinians marking the creation of Israel when many Palestinians lost their homes and became refugees.

Adam Rasgon contributed to this report.

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