The IDF and Israel Police upped their alert level of readiness for Palestinian Nakba Day, or “day of catastrophe,” on Wednesday, the same day as the Jewish holiday of Shavuot.
Security forces were deployed across the country and in the West Bank where there were fears of local disturbances and concerns about Palestinian youths hurling rocks at Israeli cars.
The IDF was also braced for demonstrations in Palestinian villages, and instructed forces to increase their patrols on the main roads in the territories, especially those near settlements.
In Jerusalem, Israel Police officers were joined by Border Police guards in an effort to boost general security.
In honor of Nakba Day, Palestinian TV aired remarks by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who said that “the Palestinian people will not agree to any plan that harms the right of the Palestinian people to establish a free, sovereign state along the 1967 borders.”
Nakba Day, associated with the establishment of the state of Israel and the price paid by Palestinians, is memorialized internationally on May 15, one day after Israel’s Independence Day in 1948, according to the Gregorian calendar.
Two years ago, Israel witnessed an unprecedented number of disturbances across the country and on its borders with Syria and Lebanon. Some 15 people were killed in clashes when protesters, mainly from Palestinian refugee camps in these countries, organized mass marches and tried to storm the borders. In the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights village of Majdal Shams, several dozen Syrian protesters managed to reach the village before being sent back by security forces. One Syrian man even made it all the way to Jaffa before turning himself in to police.
In Tel Aviv that same year, one man was killed and over a dozen injured when an Arab driver from the village of Kfar Kassem went on a rampage of about two kilometers, ramming his truck into vehicles in his path, in what police called a terror attack. The man was tried, convicted, and sent to life imprisonment.