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

Video Miami Cubans Divided on New US Policy

While older, more conservative Cuban Americans have promoted anti-Castro political movement for years, younger generations say economically, it is time for change More

2014 Sees Dramatic Uptick in Boko Haram Abductions

Militants suspected in latest mass kidnapping of over 100 people in Gumsuri, Nigeria on Sunday More

Video Cuba Deal Is Major Victory for Pope

Role of Francis hailed throughout US, Latin America - though some Cuban-American Catholics have mixed feelings 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.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid