Beirut, Amman and Cairo join the Palestinians in mourning the 63rd anniversary of the “Nakba” or ‘catastrophe” – the creation of the state of Israel in 1948.
|Israeli police arrested 34 on Friday during violent clashes ahead of ‘Nakba Day’ [Reuters]|
A Palestinian teen has died from gunfire during Friday’s clashes in East Jerusalem, as Israeli police made heavy deployments in preparation for upcoming protests marking the annual Palestinian day of mourning over the 1948 creation of Israel.
Seventeen-year-old Morad Ayyash died early on Saturday after being shot in the shoulder in the neighbourhood of Silwan, Israeli police said.
Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the source of gunfire was unclear and that the police were investigating, while a relative told AFP that a Jewish settler had shot Ayyash in the stomach.
Local sources in Silwan told Al Jazeera that only tear gas was used in the clashes that erupted between Palestinian boys and the Israeli police on Friday.
Ayyash was shot in random firing of live ammunition by guards of Jewish settlers living in Beit Yonatan, they said.
Ayyash’s funeral took place on Saturday with a procession through the East Jerusalem neighbourhoods of Ras al-Ammoud and Silwan, by way of the al-Aqsa compound in the Old City, Rosenfeld said.
About 1,000 police officers are deployed on the streets “carrying out regular patrols and security measures throughout the weekend”, he said.
An activist in Silwan tweeted on Saturday that fresh clashes had broken out near the al-Aqsa mosque, with Israeli soldiers being wounded from a molotov cocktail and two Palestinians hit by rubber bullets.
Israeli security forces clashed with Palestinians in several Jerusalem neighbourhoods ahead of “Nakba Day” or “day of catastrophe” on Sunday.
Witnesses and several medical officials said police fired rubber bullets at stone-throwing youths, with some saying that as many as 30 were injured.
Police arrested 34 people on Friday for throwing stones at police officers and “being involved in disturbances” in Issawiyah, another east Jerusalem neighbourhood, Rosenfeld said.
A convoy of 35 buses headed for the Gaza Strip is scheduled to leave the Egyptian capital on Saturday, carrying protesters calling for the end of the “Israeli occupation of Palestinian land” and “the right of return of Palestinian refugees and the release of all Palestinian prisoners”.
Egyptian authorities preemptively blocked access to the Sinai peninsula on Friday including the “Peace Bridge”, one of the main access routes from mainland Egypt to Sinai, which was closed to all but the peninsula’s residents.
Mohamed Waked, organiser of the convoy, said the bus company pulled out on Saturday citing fear of threats from Egypt’s ruling military council.
Waked said the council was breaking the law by denying Egyptians their “constitutional right to mobility … to wherever in Egypt”.
He said some protesters would try to reach the Gaza Strip via public transportation, but the rest would instead demonstrate in Cairo and in front of the “Peace Bridge”. He added that a few people had already managed to cross the Rafah Crossing into the Gaza Strip, “despite the ban”.
Inside the Gaza Strip, the ruling Hamas movement has organised a children’s protest in the centre of Gaza City for Saturday, while the Palestinian Liberation Organisation is calling for a mass rally in the strip’s Bureij refugee camp.
A protest and a vigil is scheduled to take place in front of London’s 10 Downing Street, office and residence of the UK prime minister David Cameron.
Various events are scheduled in the West Bank including a “volunteer work day” at a Palestinian village near Bethlehem.
It is unclear whether Muslim worshippers will continue to be denied entry to Jerusalem’s Old City and the al-Aqsa compound for the second day, as Israeli police limited access on Friday only to men over 45 with Israeli identification cards.