Rallies oppose Israeli occupation

Palestinians mark 40 years since the 1967 Arab-Israeli conflict.

Palestinians rallied at the Hawara checkpoint on the outskirts of the West Bank city of Nablus [AFP]
Palestinians rallied at the Hawara checkpoint on the outskirts of the West Bank city of Nablus [AFP]

Click here for more of Al Jazeera’s special report on the 1967 war

Palestinians gathered on Tuesday in Nablus, and in Ramallah’s main square, down the road from an Israeli military checkpoint at the entrance to the main city in the occupied West Bank, for a rally to mark the naksa (setback) of 1967.

The 1967 war, which began on June 5 with Israeli air raids that destroyed the bulk of the Egyptian air force, ended with Israel in control of the West Bank – including Arab East Jerusalem – the Gaza Strip, Golan Heights and Sinai desert.
Israeli raid
In the West Bank city of Hebron on Tuesday, about 200 Israeli demonstrators gathered to mark the anniversary of the 1967 war, urging the Israeli government to remove all Jewish settlers from the biblical city.
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At the protest, near the Tomb of the Patriarchs, demonstrators held signs calling for the removal of the settlers. They faced off against 30 counter protesters nearby, who carried signs calling them “traitors”.

Local Palestinians peered out from the windows at the protesters, while dozens of soldiers – including troops on a nearby rooftop – stood guard.
Doron Narkiss, 52, a teacher from Tel Aviv, said: “I’m here to protest the occupation in one of the most violent places in the territories. I want my name down as one of the people who are opposed.”
David Wilder, a spokesman for the Hebron settlers, called the protest “incitement”. He said: “How can Jews support those trying to kill us?”
Also in Hebron, Israeli soldiers shot and killed a Palestinian man during a military raid against fighters, a Palestinian security source said on Wednesday.

The soldiers shot the man, 67, when he answered the door. His wife and three other men in the house were also shot and wounded.
An Israeli military source said the soldiers opened fire in response to “an attempt to assault one of the soldiers”.
Israel has stepped up raids against Palestinian fighters in response to an increasing number of rocket attacks from Gaza.

Separation wall

In the Anata area of East Jerusalem, about 500 Palestinians and Israelis gathered on a dusty football field next to the separation wall.

Timeline: 1967 war

June 5:
 At 10:10 GMT Israel launches first wave of attacks, leaving nearly 400 Egyptian aircraft destroyed and huge craters in runway

June 6: Israel captures Gaza Strip, defeating part of Egyptian army

June 7: Israeli paratroopers seize control of Jerusalem’s old city; 40,000 troops and 200 tanks deployed against Jordanian army; West Bank and East Jerusalem taken

June 8: Sinai captured and Egyptian forces defeated

June 9: Ground fighting between Israeli and Syrian forces continues in Golan region

June 10: Israel defeats Syrian army in Golan Heights. Syria accepts UN ceasefire resolution and Israel heeds UN warning not to advance into Syria

Protesters waved flags carrying the face of Marwan Barghouti, the popular West Bank Fatah leader who is serving five life sentences after being convicted of murder and attempted murder. 
The speakers at the rally included Jibril Rajoub, a Fatah leader and security adviser to Yasser Arafat, the former Palestinian president.

“If you think this wall has stopped the bombings,” Rajoub said, gesturing at the barrier, “you are wrong”.
“There are a million ways to get to Tel Aviv.
“It was a political decision to stop the bombings.”

Most of those present called for an end to the occupation of Palestinian territory and a two-state solution.


Walid Batrawi, Al Jazeera’s correspondent in Ramallah, said rallies will continue across the West Bank for the rest of the month, primarily in Ramallah and Nablus, and culminating on June 28 with the anniversary of the annexation of East Jerusalem into Israel.


Marking the 40th anniversary of what he called the Arabs’ “great defeat”, Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, assured his people on Tuesday that statehood was within reach.


Palestinian infighting


However, new fighting between Abbas’s Fatah movement and the governing Hamas, as well as the president’s failure to secure a ceasefire between Palestinian fighters and Israel, highlighted some of the obstacles on the road to an elusive peace.


Abbas, in a televised speech, said: “On the internal front, the cause of everybody’s concern is what is called the security chaos, or more precisely, standing on the brink of a civil war.”


In the Gaza Strip, Fatah and Hamas forces fought a three-hour gun battle near the Karni commercial crossing, the most serious flare-up in factional fighting in two weeks. At least one member of Abbas’s Presidential Guard was injured.
The Palestinian president said he had spent hundreds of negotiating hours trying to halt the bloodshed and “realising that what is equal to or even worse than occupation is internal fighting”.
Israeli incursions

Israeli soldiers conducted a
military raid near Jenin [Reuters]

In the West Bank on Tuesday, a 14-year-old Palestinian was shot and wounded in the stomach by Israeli soldiers during an operation in the town of Jenin, witnesses said. Medical workers said the boy was shot when soldiers fired at stone-throwers.


Israel’s military confirmed an operation was under way in Jenin. It gave no further information.


Israeli tanks and infantry pulled out of the southern Gaza Strip early on Tuesday, one day after launching the largest ground operation in the area in months.


The troops entered the sparsely populated area on Monday, pushing more than 1.5km into Gaza.


Soldiers searched from house to house, detaining about 40 Palestinians for questioning, the military said. Four Palestinians were arrested, the military said.


No major fighting was reported.


Omar Jarghoun, a 40-year-old-farmer in the village of Muamer, said troops took over his home early on Monday to use as a monitoring position, poking holes in his walls for snipers and destroying his wooden doors and windows.


Jarghoun said he fled the house before the troops moved in.


“We ran when we knew they were coming. We just left the house for them,” he said.

Source : Al Jazeera, News Agencies


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