Palestinians mark 70 years since the Nakba, or catastrophe, the day on which the state of Israel was established on May 15, 1948, as Gaza is reeling from Monday’s violence in which Israeli forces killed at least 60 protesters.
Tuesday’s commemorations highlight the campaign that led to the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their villages.
Throughout the last seven weeks, Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have been protesting as part of a weeks-long movement calling for the right of return for Palestinian refugees to the areas they were forcibly expelled from in 1948.
Since the protests began on March 30, Israeli forces have killed at least 109 Palestinians in the coastal enclave and wounded about 12,000 people. Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas called on residents across the occupied West Bank to hold a general strike on Tuesday in honor of those killed in the Gaza Strip. Schools, universities, banks, private and public businesses, will be closed as part of the strike.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has accused Israel of “state terror” and “genocide”, according to state run Anadolu agency, as Ankara announced three days of national mourning over the killing of scores of Palestinians in Gaza.
“Israel is wreaking state terror. Israel is a terror state,” Erdogan told Turkish students during a visit in Britain’s capital, London.
“What Israel has done is a genocide. I condemn this humanitarian drama, the genocide, from whichever side it comes, Israel or America,” he added.
Zeid bin Ra’ad High commissioner of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights tweeted as follows: