A fresh round of violence erupted during Naksa Day in the Golan and the West Bank as Palestinians marched for the right of return to their homes in what is now Israel.The West Bank town of Qandaliyah, near Ramallah, was the scene of clashes between local youth and the Israeli military after the Israeli military attacked a march commemorating Naksa day.
The military rushed the small demonstration of 100 people as it approached the checkpoint in Qalandia, using tear gas and stun grenades to disperse the crowd.
The military broke into local homes using the rooftops as a means to fire tear gas into protesters and stone throwing youth. Israeli forces also fired rubber bullets at head height into crowds of protesters, seriously injuring two. Scores of people were treated for tear gas inhalation according to Red Cross personnel.
A small group of men later trickled through military lines and linked arms during a sit down protest in front of the checkpoint. The military pushed the small crowd back using noxious water cannons.
Syrian media source reported a total of 22 killed and hundreds injured during fresh attempts by Palestinian refugees in Syria to cross the border into Israel. Israeli military sources have cast doubt on the numbers dead, which cannot be independently verified, saying that snipers were instructed to aim at the legs of protesters.
In contrast to Lebanese and Hamas security forces, Syrian security forces allowed Palestinian refugees access to the border near the Druze town of Majdal Shams. Israel blocked all access to the area from the side of the Israeli occupied Golan Heights.
Israeli military sources expressed frustration with the amount of resources that had to be dedicated to policing the Syrian border, according to Haaretz. A total of three battalions were situated in the Golan region over the weekend.
According to Israeli officials, Syria could now create international incidents at will by allowing protesters through to border areas in an effort to take pressure from its own domestic situation. Military spokeswoman Lieutenant Colonel Avital Leibovitz, stated that ‘we believe that the Syrian regime is focusing the world’s attention on the border with Israel instead of what is happening there,’.
Lebanese and Gaza security forces prevented protester from reaching border areas in an effort to prevent a repeat of the Nakba Day events in which 16 civilians were killed by Israeli fire. 12 were arrested in Gaza when a small group broke off from the main demonstration in an attempt to march to the Israeli checkpoint.