National Sections of the L5I:

Nakba day catastrophe as Israel murders Palestinian protesters

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On 15 May Israeli soldiers opened fire on a peaceful demonstration along the borders with Lebanon, Syria and the Gaza strip, killing at least 15 people and wounding many more.

The protests had been organised to commemorate the 63rd anniversary of al-Nakba - 'the catastrophe' – when Israel was formed and hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were expelled from their lands.

It saw Palestinians and their supporters organise marches to the border crossing in north Gaza, the Israeli occupied Golan heights in Syria, East Jerusalem, Jordan and the town of Maroun al-Ras in south Lebanon.

This was the first time such a protest had been organised. It's clear that the Palestinians felt inspired by the Arab revolutions and took to the streets.

Israel was besieged on six sides by Palestinians demanding their rights and showing the world that they are still there and still fighting for their freedom.

Israel reacted as it always does with violence and death.

Israeli soldiers killed 10 and wounded over 100 in Lebanon, in Syria 4 were killed and 50 wounded and a young Gazan was killed with many more injured.

The protest in Lebanon was largely made up of refugees who have been living in camps all their lives. Lebanon’s sectarian political system has left Palestinians unable to get citizenship status, work or even decent education, and in the past they have been victims of violence from Christian fascist gangs.

During the Israeli invasion of Lebanon the Christian Phalangist militia went into the Sabra and Shatila camps and raped and murdered hundreds of refugees.

The Gaza protest was organised by Gaza Youth Break Out, a secular youth organisation established in the last year to organise people independently of Hamas and Fatah.

After the protest they wrote on their Facebook wall “May 15 will be a day that will never be forgotten! we'll keep the fight until we get our rights and dignity back.”

Syria, in the middle of a reactionary clampdown by the Assad regime against the political revolution, also saw a mass demonstration take place.

Another protest was organised in East Jerusalem.

Pro-Palestinian demonstrators also organised a protest outside the Israeli embassy in Egypt, but were attacked by police with tear gas as they fought to disperse the crowd.

These actions were heralded by some as the beginning of a a third Intifada. That's precisely what the Palestinians should be working for. The Palestinian resistance movement needs a rebirth, one where the old compromisers of the Palestinian leadership, both Hamas and Fatah, can be challenged by mass struggle from below to defend Palestinian rights and win the right of return for all refugees.