GAZA – The Palestinians on Tuesday marked the 70th anniversary of the Nakba Day, or “the Day of Catastrophe,” to demand their rights of return to homes occupied by Israel in the 1948 war.
The Israeli army has killed at least 61 Palestinians and wounded over 2,000 others since Monday, when the U.S. relocated embassy to the disputed holy city of Jerusalem, fuelling more violent protests among the Palestinians, according to medics in Gaza’s Health Ministry.
On Tuesday, a general strike mourning the Palestinians shot dead in eastern Gaza on Monday swept the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, where schools, universities, shops and banks all closed down.
#Palestinians declared a general strike in the West Bank and East #Jerusalem for #Nakba day and South Africa and Turkey recall their ambassadors from #Israel in protest over Gaza death pic.twitter.com/hZa64mMP9s
— Nasser Atta (@nasseratta5) May 15, 2018
In the Gaza Strip, thousands joined the funeral procession for more than 20 Palestinians killed on Monday, chanting slogans against Israel and calling for revenge.
In the West Bank, the 70-second Nakba alarm was raised at noon to declare the start of popular activities. Marches and rallies were organized in the streets of several towns amid anger and grief.
Protests broke out across West Bank, mainly in Bethlehem, Hebron, al-Bireh and Nablus.
Palestinians say the U.S. embassy relocation to Jerusalem “is an attempt to strike the Palestinian national program.”
They are now rallying for the establishment of an independent Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital.
The Palestinian Red Crescent Society in the West Bank said in an official press statement that more than 22 Palestinians were shot and wounded by rubber bullets and dozens others suffered tear gas suffocation on Tuesday.
Sallah al-Khawaja, coordinator for the committees against the settlements, slammed the U.S. for “leading an unjust war against the Palestinian people instead of supporting peace in the Middle East.”
Meanwhile, the Palestinian consensus government in the West Bank called on the United Nations to shoulder its historic responsibility toward the Palestinian people and their cause in its weekly cabinet meeting.
The government demanded “the return of the Palestinian refugees to their homes and properties in accordance with Resolution 194.”
“The energy of the Palestinian people is not exhausted by sacrifice, and its vitality brings us back from time to time under the ashes,” it added.
Saeb Erekat, secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organization, said the Palestinian leadership decided to file a legal case against Israel with the International Criminal Court over the settlement activity on the occupied Palestinian territory.
In the 1948 war, 957,000 Palestinians, or 66 percent of the Palestinians who lived in historical Palestine, were expelled and displaced.