Trending Topics:

Clashes break out across the West Bank as Palestinians mark the Nakba

on 29 Comments
lead nakba
Clashes outside of Ofer prison on during a Nakba demonstrations on May 15, 2013. (Photo: Allison Deger/Mondoweiss)

Clashes broke out across the West Bank, including in East Jerusalem, yesterday as Palestinians marked the 65th anniversary of the Nakba. Nakba, or “catastrophe,” refers to the displacement of over 750,000 Palestinians and destruction of over 500 villages during the founding of the state of Israel.

In the West Bank, Palestinians mobilized outside of Ofer prison, where last year over 1,000 demonstrated. This year numbers dropped, with only 300 taking part in the actions outside of Israel’s military prison and court, and location of a mass detainee hunger strike last year. The Israeli military fired tear gas and rubber bullets, injuring over 50 protesters. Emergency medics with the Red Crescent Society also reported one demonstrator was shot in the leg with live-fire. Palestinians burned tires and tree branches, and used sling-shots to throw stones and a handful of Molotov cocktails.

nakba 01
Protesters burn tires outside of Ofer prison.
nakba 02
Prostesters flee from tear gas fired by the Israeli military outside of Ofer prison.

In Jerusalem clashes took place at the Damascus Gate entrance to the Old City. Israeli border police fired tear gas and used a water cannon on some 200 protesters. Inside Israel, Palestinians also held a demonstration in Jaffa at the clock tower, the location of weekly events in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike.

Most protesters seemed to expect a low turnout. For the past year each of the national holidays have functioned as placeholder events rather than departure points for political uprising. “To come here it was to resist the occupation, to be in touch, to fight,” said Haithem Khatib from Bil’in.

nakba 03Glass shattered by dispersant fired by the Israeli military during nakba clashes at Ofer prison.
nakba 04
Protester holds Molotov cocktail during nakba demonstration outside of Ofer prison.
nakba 05
Demonstrator prepares to sling a rock at the Israeli military.
nakba 06
Protester constructs barricade outside of Ofer prison.

Nearby in Ramallah, the de facto capital of the West Bank, the Palestinian Authority (PA) hosted a festival with musical and dance performances for a third consecutive year on Nakba Day. Youth organizations were bused in from villages adjacent to Jerusalem. Hours before the concert began a municipal truck drove around the city requesting attendance over a loudspeaker.

Yet for the Palestinians demonstrating outside Ofer prison, the Ramallah events signified a resignation to the occupation that many feel is trickling down due to the PA’s failure to make changes on the ground through their state-building project. “There are no soldiers in Ramallah” said Khatib, explaining that over the past few years more Palestinians are choosing to attend the city celebrations rather than face-off with armed Israeli soldiers.

Still, Palestinians are not united over their views of the PA. Mahmoud Elayn from Budrus is supportive of the civil administration and hopeful that the United Nations non-member observer status garnered last November will yield benefit in the future. “People here think this [state-building] project is a loser, but I don’t see that. We have to be patient,” noted Elayn. In Budrus many Palestinians are being squeezed out of the village over strict Israeli military zoning laws that forbid new construction. Elayn estimates that 40% of Budrus’s residents have relocated to Ramallah in the past 25 years out of an inability to build new homes. “You can consider that they suffer a Nakba until today,” he continued.

In Budrus there are weekly Palestinian protests against Israeli land grabs of the village’s agricultural grounds for the separation wall. For Elayn demonstrations like those on Nakba Day are a habitual reality of living in the West Bank. But even with offers from family members abroad, he will not move outside of the village. “Every person has his identity. I should be here, I should make my contribution.”

fou last nakba
Palestinian protester shot in the head with a tear gas canister.
t last nakba
Palestinian injured by a rubber bullet lays inside of Red Crescent ambulance.
s last nakba
Medics treat protester for injury from a rubber bullet.

All photographs were taken by the author outside of Ofer Prison on May 15, 2013.

Allison Deger

Allison Deger is the Assistant Editor of Follow her on twitter at @allissoncd.

Other posts by .

Posted In:

29 Responses

  1. American on May 16, 2013, 12:49 pm

    Violent or non violent resistance..take your pick.

    ‘Intellectual despair results in neither weakness nor dreams, but in violence. It is only a matter of knowing how to give vent to one’s rage; whether one only wants to wander like madmen around prisons, or whether one wants to overturn them.
    Georges Bataille

    “People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.”
    George Orwell

    I don’t even call it violence when it’s in self defense; I call it intelligence.
    Malcolm X

    In defense of our persons and properties under actual violation, we took up arms. When that violence shall be removed, when hostilities shall cease on the part of the aggressors, hostilities shall cease on our part also.
    Thomas Jefferson

    Social justice cannot be attained by violence. Violence kills what it intends to create.
    Pope John Paul II

    The strongest and most effective force in guaranteeing the long-term maintenance of power is not violence in all the forms deployed by the dominant to control the dominated, but consent in all the forms in which the dominated acquiesce in their own domination.’
    Robert Frost

  2. IL1948 on May 16, 2013, 1:16 pm

    “Protestor” holds a Molotov cocktail…
    “Demonstrator” prepares to sling a rock…

    People who hold Molotov cocktails and sling rocks are not protestors and demonstrators. Then again, you consider people who blow up busses and cafes to be freedom fighters so why should we be surprised at this extension of your warped view of the world.

    • Allison Deger on May 16, 2013, 3:08 pm

      Ok, and what shall we call anti-austerity Molotov cocktail throwers in Greece, “unicorns”?

      • Obsidian on May 16, 2013, 3:32 pm

        Bomb throwers?

    • Sumud on May 16, 2013, 3:16 pm

      Then again, you consider people who blow up busses and cafes to be freedom fighters so why should we be surprised at this extension of your warped view of the world.

      Please provide quote and links to back up your claim on Allison’s views please.

    • eljay on May 16, 2013, 3:27 pm

      >> … your warped view of the world.

      A hateful and immoral Zio-supremacist accuses someone of having a warped world view. That’s funny! :-)

    • tree on May 16, 2013, 3:30 pm

      What about these people?

      Ultra-Orthodox Jews threw rocks on Wednesday in Beit Shemesh at a woman who was about to take her baby out of her car.

      Two women, also ultra-Orthodox, helped the woman and her 7-month-old infant to safety in a nearby store. No one was injured during the incident, but the car’s windows were damaged.

      Vered Daniel, 34, lives in a nearby community. She had come to buy baby products at a store where she is a regular customer, near the ultra-Orthodox part of town.

      “I had taken the baby carriage out of the car when two or three Haredi men suddenly started throwing big rocks, at me, with my daughter in the car,” Daniel told Haaretz, adding that they shouted at her that she was not dressed modestly.

      or these:

      Thousands of strictly Orthodox teenagers have attempted to stop the Women of the Wall from holding a service at the Western Wall.

      Early on Friday morning, a police barricade stopped protesters from attacking the women who were given the legal right to pray at the wall in April. According to sources, the men were throwing rocks, water bottles and other items.
      “They’re doing this to provoke us, and it’s an insult to Judaism,” said one protester.

      Just google “orthodox Jews throwing stones”. You’ll find numerous instances like these, targeting civilians as well as police.

      • RoHa on May 16, 2013, 10:28 pm

        Just more loveable Israeli tolerance.

    • Justpassingby on May 16, 2013, 3:37 pm

      Of course, according to Israeli apologists they arent protesters, they are terrorists.
      Stop spreading the propaganda that once a time got you brainwashed.

    • Cliff on May 16, 2013, 5:32 pm

      People who blow up apartment complexes with aerial bombardment or refugee camps or snipe children or use white phosphorus in one of the most densely populated areas on Earth and carry out a 50+ year long military occupation, colonization, and apartheid are not democracies.

      They are ethno-religious tyrannies.

      Sic semper tyrannis.

    • Shingo on May 16, 2013, 6:17 pm

      Then again, you consider people who blow up busses and cafes to be freedom fighters

      So did Israel’s founders. After all, that’s what they ordered the Haganah to do.

    • annie on May 17, 2013, 12:10 am

      Come to me wherever you are
      Whatever you have become
      And return colour to my cheeks
      And meaning to my being
      Return and take me into your eyes
      Take an olive branch
      Take a verse from my tragedy
      A toy
      Take a stone from our house
      So that our descendants
      Will remember their way home

      — Mahmoud Darwish

    • Qualtrough on May 17, 2013, 7:44 am

      Oh Goodness, Annie, I meant this to be a reply to the comment byIL1948. I am sorry to make your work even harder.

      Fair enough, let’s start with these then, others can add to this if they wish:
      IDF: State-backed terrorists
      Settlers: Thieves
      Israeli West Bank Wall: Apartheid Wall
      Israeli treatment of Arab citizens: Separate but equal
      Recent Israeli attacks on Syria: Naked, unprovoked aggression against neighboring state

  3. Bumblebye on May 16, 2013, 1:30 pm

    And Israel attempts to “legalize” it’s theft:

    “The government said it had taken steps to confer legal status on the four outposts, which have been slated for demolition since 2003, in response to a petition submitted to the supreme court by the Israeli settlement monitoring organisation Peace Now.”

    Strange how Palestinians have only days to try to prevent Israeli pseudo-legal demolitions, while these go on for year after year after year after year until they skate free.

  4. a blah chick on May 16, 2013, 9:17 pm

    Question for the hasbarists: has ANY Jewish person ever been killed by police or other law enforcement personnel while throwing rocks?

  5. giladg on May 16, 2013, 10:50 pm

    Allison, when are you heading out for home? We thought you were only coming out for a few months? Not that much happening states side?

    • Bumblebye on May 17, 2013, 6:50 am

      I thought you of all people, would have considered Allison to have “come home”!
      Wassamatta, can’t handle truth tellers in your midst?

  6. Citizen on May 17, 2013, 6:35 am

    Says here, Facebook has closed down Palestinian accounts celebrating the Nakba:

  7. anthonybellchambers on May 17, 2013, 7:24 am

    Warmongering prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, of Israel seems determined to ignite a new conflict in the Middle East as he increasingly provokes international opprobrium by building ever more illegal settlements that increasingly push 5 million indigenous Muslim Arabs into a tiny corner of their original lands in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

    It appears that his agenda is to provoke a war in which he can deploy his secret nuclear weapons of mass destruction to consolidate his theft of occupied territory in gross violation of United Nations resolutions and the Geneva Conventions on Human Rights.

    Possibly the worst aspect of this warmongering is that it is funded and armed by the United States Congress, an administration that is controlled by the privately-funded, unelected American Israel lobby.

  8. giladg on May 17, 2013, 3:08 pm

    Hey Allison, don’t you think it is time to declare the so called passive Palestinian resistance to be officially over and to have been an interesting experiment in swaying public opinion away from Israel. We all knew that Billi’n and the Friday demonstrations as being orchestrated to evoke images of Ghandi. Nothing could be further from the truth.

    • Cliff on May 17, 2013, 6:51 pm

      Palestinians have been practicing non-violent resistance for a long time and most Israelis clearly don’t care.

      Palestinian non-violent resistance will continue and most Israelis will still not care.

      Your exaggeration would imply that there was a time when the Israeli public was sympathetic to Billi’n – but it never had been.

      Israelis have peace and quiet and have no reason to end the conflict. The fault lies where the power lies and that is with Israeli Jewish and American Jewish agency and Zionism.

    • Shingo on May 17, 2013, 10:58 pm

      Hey Gilad,

      Don’t you think it is time to declare the so called passive Israeli security apparatus, nothing more than a fascist apartheid force and that Israeli public opinion is too far gone to be reasoned with?

      We all knew that Billi’n and the Friday demonstrations as being orchestrated to evoke images of Ghandi. Nothing could be further from the truth.

      What does a messianic cultist know about truth let alone Ghandi? Remember that the British described Ghandi in much the same way you are describing Palestinians. And if there was a Palestinian Ghandi, he’d be in an Israeli prison anyway.

    • Taxi on May 18, 2013, 1:39 am


      Dude you’re soooo out of touch with reality. Palestinian non-violent resistance is freakin’ huger than ever. Only last week it got a MASSIVE GLOBAL LIFT by a bespectacled man in a wheelchair – remember him?


  9. Daniel Rich on May 17, 2013, 7:16 pm

    @ giladg,

    Q: Nothing could be further from the truth.

    R: As you’re all the way out there, what does the truth look like from that great a distance?

  10. ritzl on May 18, 2013, 12:01 am

    The “interesting experiment” is how long Israel can continue to “sway public opinion” in its favor with the ongoing, expansionist death and dispossession it metes out on a near daily basis.

  11. Obsidian on May 18, 2013, 1:54 am

    Plucky Jewish girl gets in the face of Nakba protestors.

    • Shingo on May 18, 2013, 1:31 pm

      It’s easy to be plucky when you have the IDF thugs standing right behind you. I’m sure there were plenty of “plucky” Nazi citizens who spoke out publicly against demonstrations against Nazi policies in the 30s.

  12. Citizen on May 18, 2013, 3:14 pm

    @ Obsidian
    What a horrible piece of song, music. It sounds like crap.
    Dovrat Malul was offended by a protest against Israel’s establishment at the total expense of the native Palestinians people, who, I remind, had zero to do with the Shoah.

    It bothers me that this Ms Malul gets more $ from the US govt than any Dick or Jane in US–just because she’s a Jewish Israeli. Per capita, she gets $500 a year from US taxpayers for being a Jewish resident of Israel. I wanna puke, and I will–as soon as I get her crappy music out of my ears.

Leave a Reply