16 May 2011
At least 15 people were killed by IDF troops when radical Palestinian protesters tried to break through the Israeli border from Syria, Lebanon and Gaza on Sunday. The protests were held to mark the ‘Nakba’ (Catastrophe), the Palestinian term for the founding of the Israeli state in 1948. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday declared three days of mourning for 15 dead. "Their blood will not be spilled in vain, because their blood was spilled for the freedom and rights of our people," he said. Flags at PA buildings in the West Bank were lowered to half-mast.
In Jordan, too, police clashed with protesters who tried to cross into Israel on Sunday. Twenty-five people, including eleven Jordanian policemen, were wounded, police said. On Monday, unrest erupted in Egypt. In Cairo, riot police fired tear gas and live ammunition to disperse thousands of pro-Palestinian protesters outside the Israeli Embassy. The protesters set fire to an Israeli flag, chanted anti-Israeli slogans and called for the expulsion of Israel's ambassador and the closure of the embassy. Twenty were arrested and 353 people were hurt in the clashes with police, Egyptian officials said.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a televised address that Israel was determined to defend its borders. "I regret that there are radicals among Israeli-Arabs and our neighbors, who transform Israel's Independence Day into a day of incitement to war and fury. There is no justification to deny Israel's right to exist or for acts of violence,” he declared. Opposition leader Tzipi Livni said during a meeting with Italian President Giorgio Napolitano: "The attempt to infiltrate into Israel is a clear manifestation of the lack of acceptance of Israel's sovereignty as a country. Israel must defend its sovereignty. This is a significant change in the security situation in the region.”
The Israeli delegation to the United Nations in New York announced on Monday the filing of a complaint to the Security Council against Syria and Lebanon for violating international law and UN Security Council resolutions, Israel’s ‘Army Radio’ reported.
Meanwhile, The Lebanese government - which includes Hezbollah - called on the UN to "denounce this act of violence and Israel's disregard for Lebanese sovereignty and UN resolutions." Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah said the protesters' message was clear: The Palestinians were determined to liberate their land "regardless of the cost", and he predicted Israel’s demise.
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