Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, as well as pro-Palestinian supporters in other Arab nations, will mark "Nakba Day" Tuesday, marking the "catastrophe" of the inception of the State of Israel.
The Palestinian Authority has declared a general strike, as did the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee, which declared a strike in Israel's Arab sector.
Mass rallies and marches are planned across the Palestinian Authority and in Arab cities in Israel.
Rally in Ramallah (Photos: Gil Yohanan)
The IDF has declared high alert across all borders, and has bolstered its deployment in West Bank cities and along the Gaza border, ahead of possible clashes.
Dozens of Palestinians clashed with IDF soldiers at the Qalandiya checkpoint in the West Bank. The rioters stoned the troops, who employed crowd-control measures in return. No injuries were reported.
Dozens of Palestinians rioted and torched tires at a checkpoint near the Cave of the Patriarch, as well. IDF troops used crowd-control measures there as well.
The PA held its main rally in the Yasser Arafat Square in Ramallah, where thousands of Palestinians gathered at noon.
Riot in Qalandiya
The rally will be preceded by a march starting at the former PA chairman's tomb, near the Mukataa. At 12pm, a 64-second siren will sound across Ramallah to mark the beginning of the official ceremony.
A similar march will be held in the Gaza Strip, with members of all Palestinian factions in attendance. The procession will commence at the center of Gaza City and continue towards the local UN headquarters.
In order to avoid clashes, the factions agreed in advance that only the official Palestinian flag will be waived during the march – and none of the individual factions' flags.
Ahead of "Nakba Day," the PLO's research center released its annual census of Palestinians worldwide. The center found that in 2011, Palestinians worldwide numbered 11.2 million, with 4.2 million living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and 1.37 million living within the Green Line.
Some five million Palestinians live across the Arab world and 630,000 live in various European countries and the United States. Nevertheless, over 50% of Palestinians live outside the West Bank, Gaza and Israel.
High Arab Monitoring Committee Chairman Mohammad Zeidan urged the Arab public to avoid clashes with Israeli security forces.
"I hope today will be uneventful. I ask the Arab people to respect the strike, the Nakba and the security prisoners. I also urge the (Israeli) police to stay away from the rallies. The situation is sensitive and we don't want to see any clashes."
In Jordan, the Muslim Brotherhood is also planning a Nakba Day march. A similar event is planned in Cairo's Tahrir Square.
Roi Kais and Hassan Shaalan contributed to this report
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