Sunday, June 5, 2011

On Naksa Day, commemorating the 1967 war, IDF troops open fire on 100s of unarmed Palestinian refugees and supporters inside Syria who try to cross a trench and earthen berm 150 m. on the approach to the border fence nr. the town of Majdal Shams in the occupied Golan Heights. Syrian authorities report 22 killed and more than 350 wounded, possibly marking the worst violence on the Syrian border since the 1973 war; Israel says the numbers are exaggerated, however. More protests are held inside Syria nr. the border at Qunaytra; the IDF fires tear gas and percussion grenades when protesters begin to march toward the border, but no injuries are reported. In the West Bank, the IDF clashes with up to 200 stone-throwing Palestinian protesters at the Qalandia crossing (using tear gas and percussion grenades to disperse them) and blocks Palestinian marchers fr. approaching Elon Moreh settlement nr. Nablus. In Gaza, Hamas-affiliated police block 10s (possibly 100s) of demonstrators fr. approaching the Erez crossing. Overall, protests are much smaller than the Nakba Day demonstrations on 5/13–15, with no protests reported in Egypt, Jordan, or Lebanon. Meanwhile, the IDF conducts morning patrols in 4 villages nr. Qalqilya, Salfit, and Tulkarm; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in ‘Azun and Nur Shams r.c. By this date, the IDF has also arrested Fatah PC mbr. Hussam Khader in a raid on Nablus. (AFP, AP, IsRN, KUNA, MNA, The Media Line [online] 6/5; NYT, WP, WT 6/6; PCHR 6/9; OCHA 6/10; WT 6/15; PCHR 6/16; OCHA 6/24)