A Palestinian protester holds national flags during clashes with Israeli soldiers following a protest against the Israeli annexation plans, near the West Bank city of Nablus, June 5, 2020. (Xinhua/Ayman Nobani)

Palestinians hold mass rallies against 53 years of Israeli occupation

The Palestinians organized on Friday mass demonstrations in the Palestinian towns and regions to mark 53 years of the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories.

Hundreds of demonstrators joined a central rally organized by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party and other factions in the southern West Bank city of Hebron.

Abbas Zaki, a member of the Fatah Central Committee, told the crowd that the Palestinian leadership’s decision to end all agreements and understandings with Israel “is serious.”

“The decision was a serious response to the annexation plan,” said Zaki, accusing the United States of being unjust toward the Palestinian people by backing Israel’s annexation plan.

A Palestinian holds a national flag during a protest against the Israeli annexation plans in the West Bank city of Nablus, June 3, 2020. (Xinhua/Nidal Eshtayeh)

Similar protests took place in other towns and villages in the West Bank, some of which even escalated into violent clashes with the Israeli army.

Medical sources said dozens of Palestinians were injured by the Israeli soldiers’ rubber bullets and tear gas in the clashes in the villages in the suburbs of Ramallah and in the west of the northern West Bank city of Nablus.

One Palestinian demonstrator was shot in his head by a rubber-coated metal bullet, while the other was shot in his chest, they said.

Dozens suffered suffocation after inhaling tear gas, the sources added.

Meanwhile, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) called on the international community to turn its position against the Israeli annexation plan from words into deeds.

Saeb Erekat, secretary general of the PLO Executive Committee, said in a press statement that the international community should hold Israel accountable for its crimes.

He called on the international community to start practical steps toward recognizing the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on the territories Israel occupied on June 5, 1967.

Erekat accused Israel of allying itself with U.S. President Donald Trump to eliminate the Palestinian legitimate rights by declaring a plan to annex large areas in the West Bank.

“Israel is the one that started to annul the bilateral agreements by imposing facts on the ground through occupation,” he said.

In the Gaza Strip, Hamas, which has been ruling Gaza since 2007, said in a press statement that the Israeli annexation plan “will never pass.”

“All the attempts of the United States and Israel to take Jerusalem from the Palestinians, the Arabs and Muslims, as well as their attempts to uproot the Palestinian identity, will not succeed at all,” the statement noted.