Israel founding day protests - 8 dead

2011-05-15 22:51

Majdal Shams - Eight people were killed and more than 200 hurt on Sunday as Palestinians marched on Israel's borders with Lebanon, Syria and Gaza in a mass show of mourning over the 1948 creation of the Jewish state.

Tensions along the Israeli-Syrian frontier spiralled as thousands of protesters who massed on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights plateau tried to break through to the Israeli side, prompting the army to open fire.

Syria lashed out at Israel for opening fire on the protesters, warning that the Jewish state would bear full responsibility for its "criminal" actions.

A Druze doctor from Majdal Shams who rushed to the scene told AFP he saw at least two bodies, with local paramedics confirming the same toll, saying one had been shot in the head, and the second in the chest.

They also said had treated another 20 people for light to moderate injuries, with the Israeli army confirming that "dozens" had been injured.

Along the Lebanese border, Israeli gunfire killed six people and wounded another 71 as thousands of mainly Palestinian refugees demonstrated along the tense frontier, local medical sources said.

And along Gaza's northern border with Israel, 90 people were injured, five of them seriously, when troops opened fired as more than a thousand Palestinians marched on the Erez crossing.

At least half of the wounded were minors, medics said.

Syrian rioters crossed into Israel

The Israeli army issued a statement saying "hundreds of Syrian rioters" had crossed onto the Israeli side, and in response troops had "fired selectively" towards them, injuring an unspecified number.

Protesters in southern Lebanon had tried to cross the border into Israel, the statement added, saying troops had fired warning shots towards them.

During the two incidents, three army officers and 10 soldiers had been injured, it said, placing the blame for the violence squarely on the Damascus and Beirut.

Elsewhere, at least 29 others were injured as clashes broke out between stone-throwing Palestinian youths and Israeli security forces across annexed east Jerusalem and in the West Bank.

Within the Palestinian territories, the vast majority of injuries occurred in northern Gaza, where troops opened fire as more than 1 000 people marched on the concrete border fence, chanting: "No to the occupation!" and "Revolution, revolution to liberate Palestine!"

Syria angrily denounced the Israeli actions.

"We firmly denounce the criminal Israeli actions against our people in the Golan Heights, Palestine and southern Lebanon that left several people dead and wounded," the Syrian foreign ministry said.

"Israel will have to bear full responsibility for its actions."

Wooden replica keys

During the day, Israeli troops shot dead a Palestinian man was killed when troops opened fired on an area east of Gaza City but medics said the incident was not related to the "nakba" protests.

Further south, more than 5 000 demonstrators also held a mass rally in the southern city of Rafah, which lies on the border with Egypt, an AFP correspondent said.

They waved Palestinian flags and held up huge replica wooden keys to homes they fled or were expelled from during the Arab-Israeli war which accompanied the creation of the Jewish state.

Since Friday, Palestinians and Arab Israelis staged a series of events in the run-up to Sunday's anniversary, marking the anniversary of Israel's creation in 1948, in an event referred to in Arabic as the "nakba" or "catastrophe".

In the southern city of Hebron, 12 people were hit by rubber bullets fired by Israeli troops as an estimated 2 000 demonstrators held a protest, medical and security sources said, with clashes also reported in the nearby towns of Al-Arub, Beit Ummar and Bani Naim.

Disturbing the peace

And 17 people were taken to hospital in Ramallah after being hit by rubber bullets during heavy clashes near the Qalandiya crossing near annexed east Jerusalem, where thousands gathered for a protest, medical sources said.

In Jerusalem, police arrested 13 people for disturbing the peace as clashes erupted in several locations across the eastern sector of the city, pitting stone-throwing youths against police and border police in riot gear.

In Tel Aviv, a truck driven by a 22-year-old Arab Israeli ploughed into a bus and at least four cars, killing one person and injuring another five with police investigating whether the driver had been acting on nationalist motives.

The protests began on Friday and quickly turned deadly when a 16-year-old youth from Jerusalem was shot in the stomach during clashes in Silwan near the Old City.

He died from his wounds early on Saturday, with a relative telling AFP he had been shot by a Jewish settler in Silwan.

More than 760 000 Palestinians - estimated today to number 4.7 million with their descendants - were pushed into exile or driven out of their homes in the conflict that accompanied the Jewish state's foundation.

  • Adam - 2011-05-16 00:47

    yes israel should have just let them cross the border and done nothing to stop them. retarded article 760 000 palestinians were driven out of their homes? jesus christ who wrote this article???? i challenge any person to look how the palestinians came into existence and you will see they only came into being when israel was about 21 years old. infact while youre doing some research why dont you go look at how the palestinians in jordan are treated compared with the ones living on israeli land - gaza and west bank. then some one tell me how that dousnt make the news. please dont believe me!!! go do your own research!!!!! the journalist who wrote this should be fired and prevented from writing any more articles which distort history.

      battle4truth - 2011-05-16 07:48

      Adam, I agree, because history is clear for all to see that wants to! 760 000 left their homes because "arab leaders told them to leave, and return in a fee days after they drive Israel into the sea" they left, and Israel won!!! Apart from that, if want a palestinian state...look at Jordan!!!

  • louis - 2011-05-16 03:49

    Holy cow! An invasion! Look at any newspaper article from 1948 from any one of the many arab countries and you'll see that the "palestinians" left of their own accord to allow the invading armies a clear shot at the jews living in Israel. Do your duty as a journalist and do your research. Don't just regurgitate what you hear.

      pepperment - 2011-05-16 09:07

      NOT THE PALESTINIANS, THE OTTOMAN'S! There has never been a Palestine in Israel and why is there so many Jewish named cities and towns still around?! NO ONE EVER NOTICES THE OBVIOUS!

  • slg - 2011-05-16 08:27

    Syria lashed out at Israel for opening fire on the protesters, warning that the Jewish state would bear full responsibility for its "criminal" actions. How rich is this when Bashar Asad has just killed more than 800 peaceful demonstrators in Syria and his father killed more than 10,000 demonstrators. Wrotten liar and tyrant that Bashar Asad is.

  • kuruption88 - 2011-05-16 08:44

    Go Israel!!!...I'd react the same at a large mass invading my territory.

  • Krush - 2011-05-16 08:56

    Israel, you have my support!

      Paco7 - 2011-08-03 13:48

      f*ck off to Israel then,parasite

  • pepperment - 2011-05-16 09:11

    Who did the British chase out of the land of Israel by only distributing pamphlets? Not Palestinians, but Ottomans! This is why history must be preserved, because facts have a funny way of becoming lost as people try to stomp it out. Without the photos of the concentration camps, the dead bodies and the starved survivors, where would no proof of these facts!

  • Joshua Schewitz - 2011-05-16 09:24

    Illegally crossing an international border looking for trouble and they found trouble alright Facts:The protesters on the lebonon/Israel border where killed wounded by Lebanese fire not Israeli. Israel did not expect Syrians to breach the border and therefore there were only 60 soldiers in the area when the Syrians breached the border. The order was given to shot in the air followed by an order to shot at legs to stop the border breach. It should be noted that these protesters were more than likely looking for trouble with the knowledge that if they can get them selves killed it will make international news. Similar to the attempted flotilla raid. Propaganda is one of the arabs main weapons and one must be aware of this in looking at situation in the middle east.

  • Z@R - 2011-05-16 10:18

    anyone who can not see that a country is fully entitled to protect its borders against people trying to cross over, is beyond trying to reason with.

  • Tokoloshiy - 2011-05-16 11:04

    Wow Paco7 youre not even trying to hide your bigotry! At least i can respect that. if youre going to be a racist neanderthal you shouldnt have to hide it behind all that politicaly correct BS! (oh and you forgot to say they have big noses!) Ass!

      Tokoloshiy - 2011-05-16 13:07

      Doesn't Ronnie Kasrils have a big nose? see now youre losing me. you cant be a selective Jew hater! Little Nazis like you must learn to hate all the Jews. Just because RK bought the same propaganda that you did why should he be spared the gas chamber?

  • - 2011-05-16 11:37

    Those that sit safely behind their computers condemning and judging Israel I ask - If someone came up to your home attack your family and then said it is mine now" would you do nothing?! NO These squatters are trying to STEAL Israel, Jews have as much right as anyone else to protect their homeland. I am a African (white) Jew and have been to Israel enough to speak from experience and what I have seen with my own eyes. Instead of judging on what the biased media say either go to Israel or do not comment.

      Paco7 - 2011-05-16 12:05

      u just another blind sheep that beleives the land belongs to Israel,but i wasn't expecting any other response from you.There are a few jewish people out there that have exposed the truth and one of them is Ronnie Kasrils who i have the utmost respect for since is completely neutral and only wants what rightfully belongs to the Palestitians to be given to them - 2011-05-16 12:42

      Okay then, so history and facts mean nothing to you? Any idiot can come along and say "hey that is my land" and you would believe them? Wait till it happens to you, when it does do not bother asking for help. FYI palestinians do not exists they are arabs from Jordan and surrounding arab countries. Learn some facts before speaking about a country you clearly no nothing about!

  • Rebekah - 2011-05-17 05:59

    This is just wrong....the WHOLE thing is wrong. The TRUE Israelites were to remain in Diaspora or exile until they received their Messiah....which He did come to them! but many rejected Him and continue to do so to this day. 90% of those who call themselves "the chosen" are European jews, are not semetic and are actually Khazars, or Ashkenazi Jews, or jewish converts. Israel of the Holy Bible is not a plot of land, but a people who follow the commands of Yahweh and His Son, Our Savior.....The article states "Israel will have to bear full responsibility for its actions." They truly will, as will all who allow this ongoing pillage plunder and murder continue. Never stop praying for justice.

      Mamelodi - 2011-06-05 22:06

      No-name, no-one cares about your little history lesson. Syria is using the Palestinians to divert attention from his ruthless regime. He and his family have slaughtered tens of thousands of civilians in Syria. Have you nothing to say about this?

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