Palestinians, Israeli Arabs mark Nakba Day, but protests are less violent than expected

(TPS) — Several hundred Gazans burned tires and converged along the Gaza-Israel border Tuesday and firebomb kites ignited several fires on the Israeli side of the security fence Tuesday as protesters marked the so-called Nakba (disaster) Day, the anniversary of Israel’s founding which Palestinians consider to be their national catastrophe.

In the West Bank, more than 1,000 people clashed with IDF troops in Hebron, Bethlehem, and in Samaria at the Kalandia checkpoint between Jerusalem and Ramallah, outside Nablus and at several other flashpoints, throwing stones and Molotov cocktails at security forces and burning tires.

Meanwhile, Israel Defense Force (IDF) spokesmen said they have arrested several suspects who tried to infiltrate Israel from the northern Gaza Strip using riots in the surrounding area to cover their movements.

Despite the clashes, however, the protests fell short of predictions for high levels of violence following Monday’s riots that left 61 Palestinian protesters dead and more than 1,000 wounded. In several Arab cities inside sovereign Israel Arab MKs and civic leaders held marches and denounced Israel as a “police state,” but video footage released by the Joint List party showed vocal the demonstrations proceeding without incident.

In addition, Israel’s Arab leaders announced a general strike in the Arab community today, which marks the first day of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month.

At Tel Aviv University and at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Arab student groups held demonstrations, with the pro-Israel organization Im Tirzu holding a counter-protest in Tel Aviv, waving Israeli flags and shouting patriotic slogans.

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