Demonstrators flooded the streets of the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip to mark the anniversary of the Nakba, or the dispersal of 750,000 Palestinians during the creation of the state of Israel in 1948. Nearly seven decades on, the number of registered Palestinian refugees has swelled to more than 5.3 million. They live in United Nations-run camps throughout the region, including in the occupied West Bank and Gaza, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria.
The Nakba, or catastrophe, is remembered each year on May 15.
Palestinians have taken part in sit-in protests in the occupied West Bank in a show of solidarity with prisoners on an open-ended hunger strike in Israeli jails. People gathered in the West Bank city of Bethlehem on Saturday to show their support for some 1,500 incarcerated Palestinians, who have been on hunger strike for 13 days. Tents were also erected throughout the occupied Palestinian territories for people to show their support for hunger striking prisoners. During the Bethlehem protest, the head of the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs, Issa Qaraqe, stressed that solidarity activities would continue for the prisoners, who have entered a dangerous stage in their hunger strike.
For weeks, Gazans have been making do with less than half their usual electricity supply – barely a few hours a day – with no sign of the shortages alleviating anytime soon, fuelling distress and frustration among the population. Normally, Gaza’s power alternates on eight-hour cycles, with generators providing electricity to those that can afford it in the down times. But since late last year, there have been only three or four hours of electricity a day in total. The costs of running generators have spiralled. People are trying to light and heat their homes with candles or by burning scrap wood. Families wake in the middle of the night, when the power sometimes comes on, to take showers or wash clothes.