Two Palestinian youths have been shot dead by Israeli forces in the West Bank amid clashes on the anniversary of the Naqba or ‘catastrophe’ – the term Palestinians use to describe Israel’s creation as a state and their displacement.
The deaths occurred outside an Israeli prison near Ramallah where, at noon, as elsewhere in the West Bank, sirens wailed for 66 seconds to symbolise the years that have passed since Israel was established in 1948.
The Israeli military said security forces had tried to break up a riot of about 150 Palestinians using “riot dispersal means and rubber bullets”.
Ofer prison has been a focal point of Palestinian anger over Israel’s detention and occupation policies.
Palestinians also marked the anniversary in the Gaza Strip.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said earlier that the Palestinian commemoration was part of “endless propaganda” against Israel. He said that the country would continue to build itself and its “united capital Jerusalem” and push ahead with a new law declaring Israel a Jewish state.
The violence comes after US-brokered Israeli-Palestinian peace talks stumbled and finally collapsed in April.