Israeli military forces were put on “high alert” today and the Palestinian Authority announced a general strike as the Palestinians commemorated al-Nakba (literally: the catastrophe), the mass expulsion of Palestinians from their homes in 1948 during the founding of Israel.
Though a number of clashes and attacks on protesters were reported, the rallies and violence were muted compared to last year, when Israeli soldiers killed 20 protesters nationwide. Analysts speculate that the resolution of most of the hunger striking among Palestinian prisoners yesterday calmed some of the anger.
The commemoration of Nakba, during which roughly 700,000 Palestinians were displaced, is treated with considerable hostility within Israel, and in 2009 a bill very nearly passed which would’ve criminalized its recognition.
Though the 2009 “ban” bill did not ultimately become law, a 2011 law was eventually passed allowing the Israeli Finance Minister to defund any state-supported bodies that commemorate the day.