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

Multimedia Obama, Modi Break Nuclear Deal Deadlock

Impasse over liability issues had been stalling bilateral civilian nuclear cooperation; deal reached at start of US president's three-day visit to India More

WHO's Late Efforts in Tackling Ebola Highlight Need for Reform

Health experts debate measures to reform agency’s response to global public health emergencies in special one-day session on deadly outbreak More

One Tumultuous Year in Power for CAR's President

As sectarian violence raged across Central African Republic, interim President Catherine Samba-Panza has Herculean task: to end civil war and put country back on right track 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.
Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youthi
X
Julie Taboh
January 23, 2015 11:08 PM
Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.
Video

Video US Marching Bands Grow Into a Show of Their Own

The 2014 Super Bowl halftime show was the most-watched in history - attracting an estimated 115 million viewers. That event featured pop star Bruno Mars. But the halftime show tradition started with marching bands, which still dominate the entertainment at U.S. high school and college American football games. But as Enming Liu reports in this story narrated by Adrianna Zhang, marching bands have grown into a show of their own.
Video

Video Secular, Religious Kurds Face Off in Southeast Turkey

Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast has been rocked by violence between religious and secular Kurds. Dorian Jones reports on the reasons behind the stand-off from the region's main city of Diyarbakir, which suffered the bloodiest fighting.
Video

Video Kenya: Misuse of Antibiotics Leading to Resistance by Immune System

In Kenya, the rise of drug resistant bacteria could reverse the gains made by medical science over diseases that were once treatable. Kenyans could be at risk of fatalities as a result if the power in antibiotics is not preserved. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story from Nairobi.
Video

Video Solar-Powered Plane Getting Ready to Circumnavigate Globe

Pilots of the solar plane that already set records flying without a drop of fuel are close to making their first attempt to fly the craft around the globe. They plan to do it in 25 flying days over a five month period. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video How Experts Decide Ethiopia Has the Best Coffee

Ethiopia’s coffee has been ranked as the best in the world by an international group of coffee connoisseurs. Not surprisingly, coffee is a top export for the country. But at home it is a source of pride. Marthe van der Wolf in Addis Ababa decided to find out what makes the bean and brew so special and how experts make their determinations.
Video

Video Yazidi Refugees at Center of Political Fight Between Turkey, Kurds

The treatment of thousands of Yazidis refugees who fled to Turkey to escape attacks by Islamic State militants has become the center of a dispute between the Turkish government and the country's pro-Kurdish movement. VOA's Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video World’s Richest 1% Forecast to Own More Than Half of Global Wealth

The combined wealth of the world's richest 1 percent will overtake that of the remaining 99 percent at some point in 2016, according to the anti-poverty charity Oxfam. Campaigners are demanding that policymakers take action to address the widening gap between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid