Palestinians march as rising tension between the US and Iran overshadow the region

nakba protests 2019
Photo: Juan Teixeira/AP
nakba protests 2019
Photo: Juan Teixeira/AP

Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza will again protest Israeli occupation today, two days after the 71st Nakba Day was marked.

Nakba, or the “Day of the Catastrophe”, is an annual Palestinian commemoration of the 1948 Israeli Declaration of Independence which resulted in displacement for roughly half of all Palestinians at the time.

The demonstrations come amid heightened tensions. Israel and Hamas, which rules the Palestinian enclave of Gaza, recently exchanged rocket fire. To avoid another flare up, the organisers of Wednesday’s march urged participants to exercise non-violence.

Regional geopolitical tensions are also ratcheting up, particularly between the US and Iran, which supports Hamas and Hezbollah in their fight against Israel. In a worrying sign of broader escalation, the US accused Iran of damaging four tankers carrying Saudi oil in the Gulf of Oman over the weekend. Given that today’s protests are partially in response to US policy toward Israel, anti-US protesting groups, like Hamas, may feature prominently.

Any significant escalation between Iran and the US may well see conflict return between Israel and Iran’s proxies in Gaza. The US is currently moving military assets to the region and ordering non-essential personnel out of Iraq over concerns about escalation with Iran.

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