A day after the Israeli bloodshed in Gaza, the Palestinians are marking the 70th anniversary of Nakba (Catastrophe Day), when the Tel Aviv regime forced them out of their homeland and declared its existence on occupied territory.
Palestinians both in the Gaza Strip and the occupied West Bank are taking part in a general strike as they prepare for mass rallies later in the day to protest the creation of the Israeli entity and renew the call for a return to their homeland.
Nakba Day is commemorated on May 15 every year, marking the day after Israel declared its existence in 1948. That year also saw a war between Israel and a coalition of Arab states over the control of Palestine, during which some 700,000 Palestinians were driven out of their homes and hundreds of Palestinian towns and villages were destroyed.
Israeli forces violently attacked Palestinian protesters in the occupied West Bank. Clashes have taken place in the cities of al-Khalil also known as Hebron, Bethlehem as well as at the so-called buffer zone dividing the Gaza Strip.
The violence comes a day after Israeli troops unleashed a brutal crackdown on Palestinian protesters in Gaza, killing 58 people on the spot and wounding over 2,700 others.
The Monday protests in Gaza were part of the “March of Return,” which first began on March 30 with the aim of condemning Israel’s occupation and demanding their right to return.
Earlier on Tuesday, Gaza’s Health Ministry said that an eight-month-old baby identified as Leila al-Ghandourhad died of teargas inhalation suffered on Monday.
Most of the fatalities, it added, were caused by “sniper fire.”
A Palestinian succumbed to the wounds he sustained during Monday's rallies, while Israeli forces killed another Palestinian man on Tuesday, bringing the death toll to 61.
Khaled Batch, the head of the grassroots organizing committee of Palestinian protests, says Gazans on Nakba Day will hold funeral for the victims, suggesting there will be no protests at the fence which separates the coastal enclave from the Israeli-occupied lands.
Monday, which marked the bloodiest day for Palestinians since the 2014 Gaza war, also saw the official relocation of the American embassy from Tel Aviv to the occupied Jerusalem al-Quds.
The Israeli carnage in Gaza and the transfer of the US embassy prompted international condemnations, with the UN Security Council expected to convene an emergency meeting on Tuesday to address the situation in Palestine.
Tensions have flared across the Palestinian territories since last December, when the United States declared Jerusalem al-Quds in the Tel Aviv-occupied West Bank as the regime’s so-called capital, and said the American embassy would be transferred from Tel Aviv to the holy city.
Palestinians have historically sought the city’s eastern part as the capital of their future state.
Both Washington’s allies and foes have criticized it for illegally declaring an occupied city as Israel’s “capital,” saying it would throw an already trouble-ridden region into more chaos.