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Palestinians Prepare to 'Mourn' Israel's Creation

Palestinians take part in a demonstration to mark the 63rd anniversary of "Naqba," in Manger Square outside the Church of Nativity in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, May 12, 2011

Palestinians have announced plans to begin a series of marches and rallies on Friday leading up to Sunday's commemoration of what they call Naqba (catastrophe), the anniversary of the creation of Israel.

Palestinian organizers have planned processions through the West Bank and Gaza. However, some activists have urged Palestinians to use the occasion to ignite another "intifada" against Israel.

Israel has deployed additional security forces in areas including the West Bank. Israeli officials say they will limit access to the East Jerusalem holy site known as the Temple Mount to Jews and the Noble Sanctuary to Muslims to men over the age of 45.

More than 700,000 Palestinians are estimated to have fled or been forced to leave their homes during the war that followed Israel's declaration of statehood in 1948.

Last year, thousands of Palestinians marched through the streets of Gaza to mark Naqba while sirens wailed in towns and villages in the West Bank.

Israel - which uses the Hebrew calendar to mark its creation - marked its 63rd anniversary on Tuesday.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.

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