Clashes broke out on Israel’s borders Sunday, as thousands of protesters — Palestinians and pro-Palestinian protesters from Syria, Lebanon, Gaza, and the West Bank — tried to breach Israel’s military borders from all sides, on the anniversary of Israel’s creation. More than a dozen people were reported killed and scores injured, after Israeli troops fired on protesters who illegally crossed borders from Syria, Lebanon, and Gaza. Via the New York Times:
At the Lebanese border, Israeli troops shot at Palestinians and pro-Palestinian protesters trying to force their way across, killing ten protesters. In the Golan Heights, about 100 Palestinians living in Syria reportedly breached a border fence, waving Palestinian flags, before Israeli troops fired on the crowd, killing four of them. In the West Bank, approximately 1,000 protesters carrying Palestinian flags and throwing stones and Molotov cocktails clashed with Israeli riot troops near a military checkpoint, and many were injured. In Gaza, marchers crossed a security zone near the border before Israeli troops fired into the crowd, wounding dozens. In Jordan and Egypt, protesters attempted to cross the border but were stopped by Jordanian and Egyptian security forces. (Pictured.) A “tense calm” returned to the region at the end of the day, according to the Times.
In a televised statement, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the protests: “The leaders of these violent demonstrations, their struggle is not over the 1967 borders but over the very existence of Israel,” he said. “We hope the calm and quiet will quickly return. But let nobody be misled: We are determined to defend our borders and sovereignty.” Meanwhile, Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority, saluted the protests, in his televised speech: “The blood of the Nakba fatalities was not spilled in vain,” he said. “They died for the Palestinian people’s rights and freedom.”