Israeli officials expect ‘Nakba Day’ to pass peacefully

Yearly Palestinian riots marking loss of war to Israel in ’48 are expected to pass relatively quietly owing to the coronavirus pandemic.

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

Israeli security officials expect that the annual Nakba Day protests normally marked by violent clashes with Palestinian rioters will pass in relative quiet due to the coronavirus pandemic, Israel Hayom reported Thursday.

Palestinians on Friday will commemorate what they call “Nakba Day,” which translates as “day of disaster.” It marks the anniversary of the 1948 Arab refusal to accept the UN plan to create independent Jewish and Arab states in what was then British mandatory Palestine and the subsequent loss of the war by the Arab armies that tried to wipe out the nascent Jewish state.

Unlike previous years, the Nakba Day events are expected to be held in relative quiet against the backdrop of the coronavirus. The Palestinian Authority put in place social distancing rules two months ago to stem the infection rate in territory under its control.

Palestinian police and security forces will be deployed with increased manpower to prevent clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli troops at known friction points in Judea and Samaria, the report said.

Nakba Day is considered a day of national mourning for Palestinians that is usually marked by mass rioting with attacks on IDF soldiers and sometimes rocket launches.

This year the day falls on the third Friday of Ramadan, which would normally help inflame religious passions, but coronavirus measures have closed mosques where incendiary anti-Israel speeches often stir anger.

The Palestinian Authority will hold a small rally Friday in Ramallah where Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas is expected to deliver a speech. At the same time PA-sponsored rallies and ceremonies will be held in towns and cities throughout Judea and Samaria. Separate events will be held as well in the Gaza Strip, where the Iran-backed Hamas terror organization rules with an iron fist.

The official protest in Judea and Samaria is expected to consist of a siren for 72 seconds to mark the 72 years since the “Nakba” and will also be marked by the launching of Palestinian flag balloons and the hanging of black mourning flags in public.

The relative calm on the Israeli-Palestinian front during the corona crisis was shattered this week when Palestinians killed IDF Staff Sergeant Amit Ben Yigal during an IDF operation in a Palestinian village and a Palestinian teenager died in a subsequent clash near Hebron when rioters hurled rocks, Molotov cocktails and explosives at IDF soldiers during an arrest operation.