News / Middle East

Violence Spreads Along Israel's Borders As Palestinians Coordinate Protest

A plainclothes Israeli police officer and soldiers detain a Palestinian protester during clashes near the Qalandiya checkpoint between Ramallah and Jerusalem, Sunday, May 15, 2011
A plainclothes Israeli police officer and soldiers detain a Palestinian protester during clashes near the Qalandiya checkpoint between Ramallah and Jerusalem, Sunday, May 15, 2011

Multimedia

Audio
Luis Ramirez

Israeli troops have fired at protesters along Israel's borders with Lebanon and Syria.  At least 10 people have been killed as thousands of Palestinians mobilized to mark the anniversary of the uprooting of Palestinians that resulted from the creation of the state of Israel.  

It was supposed to be a series of nonviolent protests, the first coordinated move by Palestinians to try to overwhelm Israeli checkpoints along the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and along Israel's boundaries with Syria and Lebanon.

At the Qalandia checkpoint between the West Bank town of Ramallah and Jerusalem, hundreds of Palestinians - mainly young people - clashed with Israeli soldiers.  Some demonstrators threw rocks at soldiers who fired tear gas, stun grenades and rubber bullets.

This 16-year-old Palestinian says he was hit by a rubber bullet.  He says he came to protest and vent what he feels about the Palestinians' situation.  He says he came to express his belief that the Palestinians will one day take back Jerusalem from the Israelis, including its Muslim holy places.

As he was talking, demonstrators ran when Israeli soldiers moved in to disperse the crowd.

In the north, Israeli soldiers fired on Palestinians who breached a fence separating the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights and Syria.  Israel Defense Forces spokesman Captain Barak Raz said soldiers fired when the demonstrators cut through the fence. "We were met with thousands of violent rioters on the Syrian side of the border who at first attempted to and then successfully breached and infiltrated into Israel, making it into the center of the village of Majdal Shams.  We are talking about violent rioters who were hurling rocks," he said.

Witnesses in Majdal Shams say the Palestinians described themselves as refugees living in Syria who said they were trying to return to their former homes.

Along the border with Lebanon, several Palestinians were shot to death while trying to cross the Israeli boundary.

To the south, in Gaza, demonstrators tried to reach the Erez checkpoint separating the Gaza Strip from Israel.  Witnesses say Israeli forces fired at the demonstrators, wounding a number of them.

At another point along Gaza separation barrier, Israeli forces say they shot one person.  Palestinian officials say the person died.

Organizers have been planning the demonstrations for months.  They call it the first coordinated effort by Palestinian refugees or their descendents to enter Israel.  

The effort comes after the main Palestinian rival factions signed a reconciliation agreement last month.  

Palestinian activist Dr. Moustafa Barghouti, a vocal proponent of the agreement, took part in the demonstrations at Qalandia. "This reconciliation agreement brought unity to Palestinians and what you see today, Palestinians are unified, demanding ending the occupation, demanding ending apartheid, demanding their rights.  It is an uprising for freedom and this is one of the outcomes of the reconciliation agreement," he said.

Palestinians each year mark the anniversary of what they describe as the Naqba, the event in 1948 in which hundreds of thousands fled or were forced from their homes at the creation of the State of Israel.

Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Pundits Split Over Long-Term US Role in Afghanistan

Security pact remains condition for American presence beyond 2014; deadline criticized More

US Eyes Islamic State Threat

Officials warn that IS could pose a threat to US homeland More

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Moscow says Russian troops crossed into Ukrainian territory by mistake More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocksi
X
George Putic
August 25, 2014 4:00 PM
How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.
Video

Video Peace Returns to Ferguson as Community Tries to Heal

Thousands of people nationwide are expected to attend funeral services Monday in the U.S. Midwestern city of St. Louis, Missouri, for Michael Brown, the unarmed African-American teenager who was fatally shot by a white police officer August 9 in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. The shooting touched off days of violent demonstrations there, resulting in more than 100 arrests. VOA's Chris Simkins reports from Ferguson where the community is trying to move on after weeks of racial tension.
Video

Video Meeting in Minsk May Hinge on Putin Story

The presidents of Russia and Ukraine are expected to meet face-to-face Tuesday in Minsk, along with European leaders, for talks on the situation in Ukraine. Political analysts say the much welcomed dialogue could help bring an end to months of deadly clashes between pro-Russia separatists and Ukrainian forces in the country's southeast. But much depends on the actions of one man, Russian President Vladimir Putin. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Artists Shun Russia's Profanity Law

Russia in July enacted a law threatening fines for publicly displayed profanity in media, films, literature, music and theater. The restriction, the toughest since the Soviet era, aims to protect the Russian language and culture and has been welcomed by those who say cursing is getting out of control. But many artists reject the move as a patronizing and ineffective act of censorship in line with a string of conservative morality laws. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video British Fighters on Frontline of ISIS Information War

Security services are racing to identify the Islamic State militant who beheaded U.S. journalist James Foley in Syria. The murderer spoke English on camera with a British accent. It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for the Islamic State, also called ISIL or ISIS, alongside thousands of other foreign jihadists. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from the center of the investigation in London.

AppleAndroid