Marking 63 years since their dispersion, Palestinians held protests on Friday throughout the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, leaving many injuries and dozens of arrests.
In Jerusalem, Palestinians clashed with Israeli police after the Friday prayers in several neighborhoods of the city, mainly in Silwan, Issawyieh and Ras El-Amoud.
Witnesses said young Palestinians threw rocks at police, which brought reinforcements to the city since the early hours in anticipation of protests marking the Nakba Day anniversary. The police restricted entry of Muslim worshippers to Al-Aqsa Mosque for the Friday prayers banning men under 45 years from entering its compound.
Police reports said over 30 Palestinians were arrested throughout the city in the clashes that continued for most of the afternoon hours.
At least one teenager in Silwan was hit by a bullet in the stomach and was reported in critical condition, said medics. Many others had to be treated for gas inhalation.
Palestinians also clashed with Israeli soldiers at Qalandia checkpoint between Jerusalem and Ramallah. Teens threw rocks at soldiers and set tires on fire while soldiers responded with tear gas and rubber bullets.
Clashes were also reported in the Ramallah area villages of Bilin, Nilin, and Nabi Saleh as well as in the Bethlehem area village of Masara.
Palestinians protesting Israel’s construction of a barrier on their agricultural land hold weekly protests in these villages near the barrier, but this week the protests coincided with the Nakba anniversary.
Palestinians marched in these villages in commemoration of the Nakba. However, when they reached the gates on the barrier, Israeli soldiers waiting on the other side of the fence showered them with tear gas and sewage water.
A number of people were hurt in these villages, said witnesses.
(english.wafa.ps / 13.05.2011)