16 Palestinian citizens of Israel were taken into custody by Israeli police, after taking part in a solidarity rally for Gaza, in the northern Israeli city of Haifa.
Twelve of the detainees have been identified as Suheil Abu Ahmad, Joel Elias, Yasir Shawahna, Anas Elias, Hassan Safadiya, Sahir Jeries, Marcel Kayyal, Mutasem Zidan, Alaa Taha, Zakariya Muhareb, Amir Jabarin, and Amir Murshi.
Four others were taken but have yet to be named.
An Israeli police spokeswoman said that the protesters closed Ben Gurion Street for several minutes and refused to abide by police orders, leading to confrontations with Israeli police on horseback and riot police.
The demonstrators were removed from the street and a number of police officers were lightly wounded in the process, according to Ma’an News Agency.
Haifa is one of many cities and villages recognized as pre-1948 Palestinian lands, before the majority of residents were expelled from their homes. Some managed to remain in their villages and, today, their descendants make up around 20 percent of Israel’s population.
For Jewish Israelis, the event is celebrated as their day of national independence. However, Israel in fact remains quite dependent upon untold billions of Western dollars, each year, to support its ongoing occupation and siege upon the Palestinian people, their livelihoods and their property, well outside the boundaries of international law.
Palestinians commemorate this time as the ‘Nakba’ (Catastrophe) and organize massive public protests each year, in remembrance. Just prior to the current crisis, which began following the alleged abduction and murder of three Israeli settlers, two Palestinian teens were shot dead in cold blood by Israeli soldiers. Though the shooters denied that they had been using live ammunition for crowd dispersal, autopsy reports reveal a different story.
The story of Nadim Nawarah, 17, and Muhammad Salameh (Abu Daher), aged 16, remains all but buried by mainstream media.
As of January 2014, there were approximately 5.4 million Palestinian people registered as refugees in various parts of the world, according to UNRWA. Palestinians now make up the largest refugee group in the entire world, and the numbers are rising.
Chris Gunness, a spokesperson of the United Nations, recently stated, “The number of people coming to UNRWA seeking sanctuary from the fighting in Gaza has nearly doubled today. It has risen from 22,000 to over 40,000”.
Violent clashes with police, soldiers and settlers and the ensuing abductions are an every day occurence for Palestinians, even during non-violent protests, in and outside of the internationally recognized (1967) territories of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem.
Photo story of the Haifa protest at Ma’an.
Related: Israeli Forces Shoot 20-year-old With Live Ammunition During Ni’lin Demonstration