Tuesday 5th of June 2012 marked the 45th anniversary of the Naksa, the day that Israel occupied the Palestinian West Bank and Gaza Strip, the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula and the Syrian Golan Heights. To mark this anniversary marches were arranged in various locations across the still occupied Palestinian Territories.
Hebron: A demonstration in Hebron, Called by Stop the Wall and the Hebron Defense Committee saw 200 demonstrators take the streets to highlight the continuing occupation of Palestinian land by Israel. Patterns of suppression of such demonstrations continued, with three Palestinians arrested and one photographer. The demonstrators marched from from the Zahed area in the Old City toward Shuhada Street, which has been closed by Israel.
The demonstrators chanted slogans and raised banners calling for an end to occupation and apartheid in Arabic, Hebrew and English, and carried the flags of Palestine and the banners of the national factions. When the protestors arrived at the settlement of "Beit Romano", near the gate of Shuhada Street, the Israeli soldiers and border guards used force to push them back towards the Zahed area, then erected barriers preventing them from returning. They then forcefully arrested Hebron Defense committee activist Nahil Talal Abu Eisha, 30, member of the Palestinian People's Party Fahmi Hamdi Shahin, 50, and 22 year old youth activist Yahya Hussein.They also detained a photojournalist. Tear gas was then used to disperse the protestors.
Mohammed Alghebrena, of the Hebron Defense Committee said that as Palestine marks the 45th anniversary of the occupation and the Zionist colonial apartheid, the people of Palestine are determined to struggle and resist until the departure of the last soldier and settler from the last inch of occupied Arab land, and stressed that despite its continuing for so long, it will soon be coming to an end.
Stop the Wall activist Annan Da’ana said that the crowd at the demonstration confirmed the unity of the Palestinians and their determination to achieve the goal of ending the occupation. He said that the people were standing behind the option of popular resistance in the face of military occupation and racism. He added that the demonstration in Hebron today in partnership with the Hebron Defense Committee is the first of a series of demonstrations organized by the campaign in various cities of the West Bank on the occasion of aggression in 1967.
Ofer: Around 100 demonstrators gathered outside the gates of Ofer Prison both to commemorate the Naksa and to demonstrate their continued solidarity with those prisoners still on hunger strike, and with all of their Palestinian country men and women held by the occupation forces. Palestinian flags were waved, pictures of prisoners were brandished and chants in Arabic and English resounded through the air, as soldiers looked on through the gate from less than a meter.
The voices of the protesters were soon drowned out as the occupation forces let off around 20 sound bombs, and released the skunk truck to disperse the demonstrators from the area of the gate. The demonstration continued at a distance, and the Israelis responded with tear gas and rubber bullets, causing mass temporary suffocation and many injuries.
Jamal Juma' of Stop the Wall said that “As Palestinians turn out to mark one of the longest occupations of the 20th and 21st centuries the world must realise how it has turned into a colonial apartheid system. The fact that such a system can exist with the implicit and explicit support of, and in many cases aid from, the US, UN and EU amongst others, who love to tout their commitment to democracy and human rights is a travesty. This solidification of colonialism and apartheid, and its acceptance into the status quo is shameful.”
Jerusalem: One hundred and fifty demonstrators assembled at Damascus Gate in Jerusalem to commemorate the Naksa, and the illegal annexation of East Jerusalem. In response to Israel's “Flag Day” the week before, Palestinians of '48 gathered with Palestinian flags, made illegal in Israel, to chant slogans at the popular tourist spot. They then took to the streets, but were met with violent suppression through the use of horses and tazer guns, as at least two demonstrators were arrested. The demonstrators continued to walk the streets of East Jerusalem for the next 2 hours, and were often the target of racist abuse from passing Israeli settlers.