Daily Israel Report

Israel's Security Forces Deploy For Nakba Events

Israel has begun deploying additional security forces ahead of Nakba Day; large demonstrations expected; access restricted to Temple Mount.
By Gabe Kahn.
First Publish: 5/13/2011, 2:08 PM / Last Update: 5/13/2011, 2:25 PM

Israel news photo courtesy of Ehud Amiton/Tazpit Unit

Public Security Minister Yitzhack Aharonovitch said Thursday some Muslim's would be denied access to the Temple Mount on Friday, Israel Radio reports.

The restrictions, typically imposed on Muslim males under 50, is commonly employed when heightened tensions lead Israel's police to believe violence may erupt.

Aharonovitch told Israel Radio police would "thin out the number of worshipers at the Temple Mount," due to police intelligence estimates citing a likelihood of prelude demonstrations to Sunday's expected "Nakba Day" protests.

"Nakba," or "catastrophe," is the Arab reference for the creation of Israel, which occured on May 15 on the secular calender. Israel celebrated the 63rd anniversary of its creation on Tuesday, in accordance with the Hebrew calendar.

Reinforced police and border guard units equipped with riot gear are being deployed in eastern Jerusalem, the Old City, and the Temple Mount to maintain order.

Activists behind a website called "The Third Intifada" have called for a new uprising, which would see thousands of Palestinian refugees march towards homes which they fled from or were forced out of when Israel was created in 1948 on Palestinian land.

While PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas has publicly ruled out a Third Intifada, Fatah and Hamas have reportedly created a joint committee to coordinate Nakba Day demonstrations.

Arabs claiming roots in Israel are also expected to stage rallies and demonstrations in Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria. The IDF Northern Command has been put on alert as demonstrations are expected on the Israel-Lebanon Border.

Northern Command officers also warned UNIFIL this week there would be severe consequences if demonstrators try to damage the border fence between Israel and Lebanon.

We respect people’s right to protest, but we will not tolerate damage caused to infrastructure, like the border fence,” a Northern Command spokesperson said.

IDF troops are also deploying in large numbers in Judea and Samaria on Friday, amid expectations that massive demonstrations will break out on both fronts as a build up to May 15 demonstrations.

The IDF began reinforcing troops in Judea and Samaria amid reports there may be marches intended to breach the security perimeters of Jewish settlements.

Expected hotspots in Judea and Samaria include the Kalandiya Checkpoint outside of Jerusalem, near the Ofer Prison off Road 443, Jalazoon near Beit El, as well as Nablus (Schem), Tulkarm and Ramallah.

The demonstrations are expected to include stone-throwing and Molotov cocktails, but not firearms, according to security sources.