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Terrorism & Security

Nakba protests bring Arab spring to Israel's doorstep

The unprecedented Arab protests on Israel's borders, pegged to the 63rd anniversary of Israel's declaration of statehood, resulted in at least 10 dead and hundreds wounded.

By Correspondent / May 16, 2011

Demonstrators wave Palestinian flags during a rally marking the 63rd anniversary of "Nakba", Arabic for "Catastrophe", the term used to mark the events leading to Israel's founding in 1948 in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Sunday, May 15.

Majdi Mohammed/AP

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Israel got its first real taste of the Arab spring Sunday as tens of thousands of Palestinians and their supporters amassed on its borders to protest its creation 63 years ago – an event they refer to as the "nakba," or catastrophe. Ten people were killed and hundreds injured as some protesters attempted to breach Israel's borders and clashes broke out with Israeli security forces.

The unprecedented protests, fueled by both a spirit of uprising and a moribund peace process, have reignited Arab-Israeli tensions over Israel's sovereignty even as Palestinians are pressing for international recognition of their own sovereignty at the UN this fall.

Arabs – and perhaps their leaders, eager to deflect criticism of their own regimes – are rallying to the Palestinian cause with the same fervor that has toppled two presidents and caused several regimes to teeter.

In Cairo, hundreds of protesters in the new post-Mubarak era made clear that they have never supported Egypt's 1979 peace deal with Israel, reports Al-Masry Al-Youm.

“The Israeli government is worried by the revolutions now happening in the Arab world,” said Ibrahim Helmy, 29. “They will benefit by putting them down, and we can’t let that happen. We all deserve freedom, including and especially the Palestinians.”

Both sides are going to the United Nations Security Council with complaints of that their sovereignty has been violated.

Israel's UN delegation announced Monday that it is filing a complaint to the Security Council against Syria and Lebanon. Israel accused the two countries of violating international law and Security Council resolutions when they did not prevent Palestinian refugees from breaching their borders with Israel on Sunday, the Jerusalem Post reported.

"The attempt to infiltrate into Israel is a clear manifestation of the lack of acceptance of Israel's sovereignty as a country," opposition leader Tzipi Livni said Monday.

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