The head of the Israel Defense Forces Intelligence Directorate, Maj.-Gen. Herzl Halevi, warned of a possible “explosion” of Palestinian violence ahead of Israel’s upcoming 70th anniversary. His comments come as Palestinians on Friday will stage a “Mass March of Return” to mark Land Day, which commemorates an Israeli government decision in 1976 to expropriate territory in the Galilee, a move that sparked widespread rioting resulting in the deaths of six Arab-Israelis. Tens of thousands of Palestinians are expected to storm the numerous crossing points into Israel, whereas Gazans simultaneously are planning to set up “tent cities” along the border fence, which could lead to major clashes when Israeli forces attempt to disperse the sit-in. The makeshift camps are intended to remain in place until May 15, when Palestinians mark the Nakba—the Arabic word for “catastrophe” used to describe the creation of Israel—whose protests have, historically, descended into violence. That occasion will, moreover, follow the relocation of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, a decision that infuriated the Palestinian leadership which subsequently called for repeated “days of rage” that predictably devolved into confrontations between demonstrators and Israeli army personnel. Some analysts are describing the confluence of anticipated events as a “perfect storm” that has the potential to ignite the Palestinian “street,” and, in the estimation of some, even lead to a third armed Palestinian uprising known as an Intifada.
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