Israeli Police on Heightened Alert as Palestinians Mark Nakba Day

© AP Photo / Ariel SchalitIsraeli special forces police officers run during a drill simulating an attack on a bus, in the port of Ashdod, Israel (File)
Israeli special forces police officers run during a drill simulating an attack on a bus, in the port of Ashdod, Israel (File) - Sputnik International, 1920, 15.05.2022
15 May is observed by many Arabs as Nakba Day (translated as “Catastrophe” in Arabic), which commemorates the 74th anniversary of the Palestinian exodus that resulted from Jews declaring the establishment of the State of Israel on 14 May 1948.
Israeli security forces are on heightened alert across the country on Sunday as Palestinians and Israeli Arabs are marking Nakba (“Catastrophe”) Day, related to the birth of the modern Jewish state 74 years ago.
Police have bolstered their presence in Jerusalem and around the Temple Mount compound amid reports that “relatively small demonstrations” are expected throughout the rest of Israel, mainly in Nazareth and at Tel Aviv University.
This comes after the Sunni militant organisation Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, warned Israel of a skirmish as the group urged Palestinians to flock to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem’s Old City for Nakba Day.

“The extremist statements calling on [Jews] to storm the Al-Aqsa Mosque tomorrow on Nakba Day and the approval of the ‘occupation forces’ to do so are a dangerous escalation that constitutes a provocation toward our people and our feelings that will lead to a clash that the ‘Zionist occupier’ will be held responsible for,” a Hamas spokesman said in a statement.

He added that Hamas calls on “the masses of our people” in Jerusalem and the West Bank “to come to the Al-Aqsa Mosque and foil the occupation’s evil plans”.
Palestinian Hamas militants take part in an anti-Israel rally in Gaza City May 22, 2021. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem - Sputnik International, 1920, 24.11.2021
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The row over the Temple Mount, which is considered a sacred site for Jews, Christians and Muslims, has been a flashpoint in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Hamas, which was founded in 1987 shortly after the First Intifada and which is blacklisted by Israel as a terrorist organisation, is in a protracted conflict with the Jewish state. Last year, Israel and Hamas exchanged missile strikes for 11 days, in what became the worst bilateral conflagration in recent years.
The standoff, sparked by the Israeli Supreme Court’s May 2021 ruling to evict six Palestinian families from an East Jerusalem neighbourhood, prompted Hamas militants to fire over 3,700 rockets into southern and central Israel, with Tel Aviv responding with hundreds of air and missile strikes into Gaza.
On 15 May 1948, the newly established state of Israel was attacked by the armies of several Arab states. Israel fought back, but nearly 750,000 Palestinians were displaced within the country or forced to flee abroad during the war.
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