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Israel braces for unrest ahead of ´Nakba´ day (AFP) AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE) 05/14/12) Source: http://news.yahoo.com/israel-braces-unrest-ahead-nakba-day-190736890.html;_ylt=Anb0v.OahxhvuOTEz.T0ngy1qHQA;_ylu=X3oDMTQ4OHBwOW5lBG1pdANUb3BTdG9yeSBXb3JsZFNGIE1pZGRsZUVhc3RTU0YEcGtnA2I2ZmEwMjY2LTM4NzQtM2M4NS05MTgyLWIzZWMyMjBiZmQyNARwb3MDMQRzZWMDdG9wX3N0b3
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Israel is bracing for possible unrest on Tuesday, when Palestinians commemorate the exodus of hundreds of thousands of their kin following the foundation of the Jewish state in 1948.
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Nakba Day, marked annually on May 15, is normally marked by protest, and often by clashes with Israelis in the Palestinian territories.
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"We are coordinating with the military and border police, we hope things will be quiet," Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told AFP on Monday. "We have mobilised a number of units in various areas," he said, without elaborating.
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Palestinians traditionally mark on May 15 the "Nakba" or "disaster" when hundreds of thousands of them fled or were expelled from their homes in the war that accompanied Israel´s declaration of independence.
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More than 760,000 Palestinians -- estimated today to number 4.7 million with their descendants -- fled or were driven out of their homes in the Arab-Israeli war which accompanied Israel´s establishment.
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Around 160,000 Palestinians stayed behind and are now known as Arab Israelis. They number about 1.3 million people, or some 20 percent of the population.
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Last year, Israeli troops opened fire on demonstrators from Lebanon and Syria as they tried to breach a security fence and enter Israel. Four protesters from Syria were killed along with another 10 from Lebanon. Hundreds were wounded.
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A senior military official in Israel´s northern command said troops had trained to handle all situations, although they were not aware of plans for any big demonstrations along the borders as happened last year.
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"We are getting ready for all kinds of provocations," he told AFP on condition of anonymity.
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"The Israel Defence Forces are preparing for a tough situation, the soldiers are getting special training and the right weapons to stop provocations, without killing people," he said, indicating they would be equipped with riot control gear.
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"It´s when they catch you unprepared that people can die."
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The Higher Arab Monitoring Committee, which represents Arab communities in Israel, called for a general strike and for Israeli Arabs to go to displaced Palestinian villages.
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The committee said that this year´s Nakba events were also in solidarity with the "struggle of our brave prisoners in the Israeli prisons."
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On Monday evening Palestinian prisoners reached a deal with Israel to end a mass hunger strike by inmates, in exchange for better conditions.
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Tuesday´s central Palestinian rally will be in the West Bank city of Ramallah, organised by the Palestinian Authority.
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Demonstrations are also scheduled for Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem and throughout the Gaza Strip. (Copyright © 2012 Agence France Presse. 05/14/12)
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