Palestinians and Israelis gathered in Hebron, Nablus and Ramallah on the West Bank June 5 to mark the anniversary of the start of the 1967 Six-Day War, and to demand an immediate end to Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land. In East Jerusalem, Israeli police shut down a Palestinian conference marking 40 years since Israel occupied the sector of the city.
At the Hebron rally marking the 1967 naksa (setback), some 200 Israeli protesters gathered near the Tomb of the Patriarchs to demand the Israeli government to remove all Jewish settlers from the biblical city. They faced off against 30 counter-protesters, who carried signs calling them “traitors.”
In the Anata area of East Jerusalem, about 500 Palestinians and Israelis gathered on a football field next to the “separation barrier.” Some waved flags with the face of Marwan Barghouti, the popular Fatah leader serving five life sentences in an Israeli prison. Speakers included Jibril Rajoub, a Fatah leader and security adviser to that lare Yasser Arafat, who said: “If you think this wall has stopped the bombings, you are wrong. There are a million ways to get to Tel Aviv. It was a political decision to stop the bombings.”
Marking the 40th anniversary of what he called the Arabs’ “great defeat”, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas assured his people that statehood is within reach. But his televised speech acknowledged that Palestiniansa are “standing on the brink of a civil war.” Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniya said: “There will be no solution to the current political crisis without lifting the inhuman siege.”
In the Gaza Strip June 5, Fatah and Hamas militants fought a three-hour gun battle near the Karni crossing, the most serious factional fighting in two weeks. At least one member of Abbas’ Presidential Guard was injured.
Israeli incursions also continued. In the West Bank, a 14-year-old Palestinian was shot and wounded in the stomach by Israeli soldiers during an operation in the town of Jenin, witnesses said. Medical workers said the boy was hit when troops fired at stone-throwers. (AlJazeera, June 5)
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