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Israel introduces restrictions ahead of Nakba Day

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Israeli forces aim at Palestinian protesters during clashes following a rally to mark the 67th anniversary of the Nakba Day, south of the occupied West Bank city of Nablus, May 16, 2015. (Photo by AFP)

Israeli authorities have enforced tough restrictions across the occupied territories as thousands of Palestinians are gearing up to mark the 68th anniversary of the Nakba  (Catastrophe) Day.

Nakba refers to the 1948 Palestinian exodus when more than 700,000 Palestinian Arabs fled or were expelled from their homes by Israel during the 1948 Palestine war.

Israel plans to mark the day with celebrations, barring Palestinians from the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip from entering East al-Quds (Jerusalem).

According to the Israeli military, the ban will be imposed as of 1:00 a.m. on Wednesday local time (2200 GMT Tuesday) until midnight (2100 GMT) on Thursday.

Israeli Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev said all cultural and sports facilities across the occupied lands, including Arabic institutions, will have to raise the Israeli flag on the Nakba Day.

Israeli Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev

Every year on May 15, Palestinians all over the world hold demonstrations to mark the Nakba Day.

Two Palestinian youths were injured Wednesday morning after being violently attack by Israeli military forces on the outskirts of al-Quds (Jerusalem), according to Palestinian news agency Ma'an.

The incident occurred in the Arab village of Kfar Aqab, located near Qalandiya refugee camp, where witnesses say Israeli troops entered while conducting an investigation.

According to Ma'an, Palestinian youths confronted the troops upon their entrance. 

Red Crescent Medical Emergency services said that a Palestinian youth was seriously injured after he was shot in the chest and was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment. 

Another youth allegedly shot in the leg was in moderate condition and was taken to a Ramallah medical facility. 

Israel bars BDS co-founder from traveling abroad

Israeli officials also imposed a travel ban on Omar Barghouti, a co-founder of the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

The travel restrictions against Barghouti, a Qatari-born Palestinian, came on Tuesday, weeks after Israeli Interior Minister Aryeh Deri said he is considering revoking his residency rights.

Barghouti has described the decision as “clearly political.”

“It does not just deny me my freedom of movement. It is seen by legal experts as a first step toward revoking my permanent residency, a clearly political and vindictive measure that has no legal basis,” he said.

The BDS campaign against Israel over its apartheid policies toward the Palestinians has gained momentum globally in recent years. The BDS campaigns to bring an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

Omar Barghouti, a co-founder of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement

BDS activists expect the United Methodist Church, which has nearly eight million members in the US, to join the movement this year, underscoring the growing momentum of the US protest movement against Israel.

Israel has occupied the West Bank since 1967 and imposes a wide range of restrictions on its 2.5 million Palestinian residents.

Several hundred thousand Israelis have also established unlawful settlements in the West Bank, which the United Nations and much of the international community consider illegal.

Israel dismisses hunger-striking prisoner’s appeal

Separately, Israel’s Supreme Court rejected on Tuesday the petition of a 43-year-old Palestinian prisoner who is on hunger strike to protest against his administrative detention.

“The occupation (Israeli) authorities confirmed their decision to keep Sami Janazra, who has been on hunger strike for 69 days to protest against his detention,” Jawad Boulos, a member of the Palestinian Prisoners Club, said.

This file photo shows a Palestinian prisoner behind bars at an Israeli detention facility.

More than 7,000 Palestinian prisoners are currently held in some 17 Israeli jails, dozens of whom are serving multiple life sentences.

Over 500 detainees are under the so-called administrative detention, which is a sort of imprisonment without trial or charge that allows Israel to incarcerate Palestinians for up to six months.

Palestinian detainees have continuously resorted to open-ended hunger strikes in an attempt to express their outrage at the illegal and unfair administrative detention and to demand an end to the policy.

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