The Month in Pictures: May 2013

6 June 2013


A Palestinian youth flashes the victory sign as he is arrested by Israeli forces at Damascus Gate in Jerusalem’s Old City following a protest against Jerusalem Day on 8 May. Thousands of Israelis marched and rallied throughout the city, including through Damascus Gate, during the annual celebration of Israel’s conquest of Jerusalem in 1967. 

(Sliman Khader / APA images)

Palestinians faced yet another chapter of mass forced displacement in Syria in May — the month in which Palestinians mark the anniversary of the Nakba, the ethnic cleansing and violent dispossession of historic Palestine during the establishment of Israel in 1947-48.

At least five Palestinian refugees were reported killed in an explosion in Sbeineh Camp near the Syrian capital on 27 May. UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestine refugees, estimated at the end of the month that “approximately 235,000 Palestine refugees have been displaced during the Syria conflict.”

Armed groups “have taken up positions in camp after camp, in turn attracting intense military responses from government forces,” resulting in “casualties and deaths on a daily basis.” According to UNRWA, “In a single day at the end of April, some 6,000 Palestine refugees were compelled … to flee their homes in Ein el Tal Camp in Aleppo Governorate” (“UNRWA condemns attack on Sbeineh Palestine refugee camp in Syria).

Meanwhile in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, approximately 250 were injured during Nakba Day protests; half the injuries during the protests were caused by rubber-coated steel bullets.

Also in the West Bank, Israeli military forces and settlers damaged or destroyed approximately two thousand Palestinian olive and almond trees during the month, approximately half of them seedlings. Palestinian security forces shot and killed a woman in the West Bank village of Sair when they opened fire at the vehicle she was in during an attempt to arrest her husband.

Thousands of Palestinians were stranded in Egypt after the crossing with Gaza was closed by Egyptian forces for several days in protest of the kidnapping of their colleagues in the Sinai peninsula.

A Palestinian worker was killed when a tunnel collapsed under the Egyptian-Gaza border and a 16-year-old boy died of injuries he sustained after he was electrocuted in a tunnel in July 2012. Thirteen have been killed in tunnel-related incidents since the beginning of the year.

Above facts and figures compiled from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs’ weekly reports through 27 May except where noted.


Safiya Jawabrah holds the key to her family’s property seized in 1948 in front of her home at al-Aroub refugee camp in the West Bank city of Hebron, 14 May. Palestinians mark Nakba Day on 15 May to commemorate the ethnic cleansing of approximately 700,000 Palestinians during the violence that led to the founding of Israel in 1948.

(Mamoun Wazwaz / APA images)


Palestinian refugees join other protesters during a demonstration to mark Nakba Day outside the UN offices in Amman, Jordan, 15 May. The sign reads “Palestine we are returning.” 

(Muhammad Hamed / Reuters)


A Palestinian woman holds a banner reading “The people want to return to Palestine” during a march to mark Nakba Day near the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) headquarters in the southern Lebanese town of Naqoura, near the border with historic Palestine, 13 May.

(Ali Hashisho / Reuters)


Palestinians march with torches during a rally marking Nakba Day in the West Bank city of Ramallah, 14 May.

(Issam Rimawi / APA images)


Demonstrators place a Palestinian flag on Israel’s wall during a Nakba anniversary march in the West Bank city of Tulkarem, 13 May.

(Nedal Eshtayah / APA images)


An Israeli policeman bleeds from an injury during clashes with Palestinians commemorating Nakba Day at the Old City of Jerusalem’s Damascus Gate, 15 May.

(Ryan Rodrick Beiler)


Right-wing protesters wave Israeli flags and carry signs reading “The Nakba is bullshit” at a counter-demonstration of a ceremony commemorating the Nakba that was held by Palestinian and Israeli students at the entrance to Tel Aviv University, 13 May. The event took place under heavy police presence.

(Oren Ziv / ActiveStills)


A Palestinian woman reacts to the vandalization of her olive trees in a Palestinian-owned field in the village of al-Tuwani, south of the West Bank city of Hebron, 10 May. Jewish extremists were suspected of uprooting dozens of olive trees and scrawling graffiti near the village, police and witnesses said.

(Mamoun Wazwaz / APA images)


A Palestinian man from al-Zubeidat village near the West Bank city of Jericho stands next to his car which was vandalized by Israeli settlers, 29 May. Five other cars were set on fire in the village and graffiti alluding to Israeli settler Eviatar Borovzky, who was stabbed to death by a Palestinian one month ago, was sprayed all over the villages’ buildings.

(Tali Mayer / ActiveStills)


The father of the Sabach family stands in the ruins of his son’s family home a few hours after it was demolished by Israeli authorities on 20 May. He holds a photo from 1983 in which he and his own father are seen standing near their demolished home in the Anata neighborhood of East Jerusalem. Seven family members, including five children, were displaced due to the latest demolition.

(Tali Mayer / ActiveStills)


Activists play with children of the unrecognized village of Atir in the Naqab (Negev) desert, 25 May; two weeks ago, 15 houses in the village were demolished by the Israeli land administration.

(Oren Ziv / ActiveStills)


Settlers watch from above as a Palestinian activist waves a flag in front of a home taken over by Israeli settlers in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem, 17 May.

(Oren Ziv / ActiveStills)


Israeli border police guard the wall between the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Ras al-Amoud and the West Bank town of Abu Dis on 19 May after Palestinian protesters broke a large hole through it during a demonstration two days earlier.

(Ryan Rodrick Beiler / ActiveStills)


Palestinians wait at the Rafah crossing with Egypt in the southern Gaza Strip, 18 May. Egyptian police closed the Rafah border crossing with Gaza for several consecutive days in protest of the kidnapping of colleagues in the Sinai peninsula, preventing thousands of Palestinians from leaving or entering Gaza.

(Eyad Al Baba / APA images)


A Palestinian worker stands amid empty cooking gas canisters at a warehouse in the eastern Gaza Strip, 16 May. The Gaza Strip has been facing a gas crisis for the past two months partially due to the frequent closure of border crossings by Israel.

(Mohammed Asad / APA images)


Jamal al-Dura and his family hold pictures of his son Muhammad al-Dura at their house in Bureij in the central Gaza Strip, 20 May. Muhammad died in the arms of his father on 30 September 2000, after being caught in crossfire between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian militants at the start of the second intifada. Israel said this month that a France 2 television report seen worldwide on the death of Muhammad was “baseless” and claimed his death was fabricated.

(Mohammed Asad / APA images)


The wife of Palestinian prisoner Yasser Badrasawi inspects her home after the Israeli military raided it during an operation in Balata refugee camp near the West Bank city of Nablus, 29 May. Badrasawi was arrested during the raid, three months after he was released by Israel.

(Nedal Eshtayah / APA images)


Israeli settlers and Palestinian demonstrators throw stones at each other after settlers marched onto the lands of the West Bank villages of Deir Jarir and Silwad where villagers were protesting construction on village land by settlers from the nearby Jewish colony of Ofra, 30 May.

(Oren Ziv / ActiveStills)


A Palestinian hurls rocks at Israeli forces during clashes following a protest against the confiscation of Palestinian land in the West Bank village of Deir Jarir east of Ramallah, 17 May.

(Issam Rimawi / APA images)


Palestinians protest outside the Palestinian Authority headquarters in the West Bank city of Ramallah against US Secretary of State John Kerry’s visit, 23 May. Kerry met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem in the morning before talks with the Palestinian Authority leadership in Ramallah in the early afternoon.

(Shadi Hatem / APA images)


US Secretary of State John Kerry eats sweets at a Ramallah shop after his meeting with Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas, 23 May.

(Fadi Arouri / Xinhua)


US Secretary of State John Kerry shakes hands with Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli President Shimon Peres during the opening session of the World Economic Forum on the Middle East and North Africa on the shores of the Dead Sea in Jordan, 26 May. (Thaer Ganaim / APA images)


Ismail Haniyeh, Palestinian Prime Minister in the Gaza Strip, meets with billionaire business tycoon Munib al-Masri in Gaza City, 5 May. Al-Masri has been criticized for his business ties with Israel.

(Ashraf Amra / APA images)


Protesters hold photos of Ismail Arouj, who is in a Palestinian Authority jail in Ramallah, during a protest in the West Bank city of Bethlehem’s Manger Square, 24 May. PA police arrested Arouj one day after his release from an Israeli jail earlier this year.

(Ryan Rodrick Beiler)


Palestinian security forces take part in a drill in the West Bank city of Jenin, 5 May.

(Nedal Eshtayah / APA images)


Palestinian civil defense workers in Gaza City take part in a drill at a scene simulating an Israeli air strike, 27 May.

(Ashraf Amra / APA images)


Palestinians in Gaza City attend a welcoming ceremony for Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, Egyptian cleric and chairman of the International Union of Muslim Scholars, 9 May.

(Eyad Al Baba / APA images)


Palestinian Orthodox Christians mark the Holy Fire ceremony at the Saint Porfirios church in Gaza City, 5 May.

(Mohammed Asad / APA images)


Palestinian children look at a new graphic novel depicting the popular struggle in the West Bank village of Budrus during an event marking the launch of the book at the girls’ school in the village, 2 May. The Israeli army shot tear gas near the event, forcing the organizers to end earlier than planned.

(Oren Ziv / ActiveStills)


An Israeli policeman orders a Palestinian woman selling vegetables to evacuate near Damascus Gate in Jerusalem’s Old City, 18 May.

(Ryan Rodrick Beiler / ActiveStills)


Palestinian farmers harvest wheat near an Israeli settlement in the Hebron area of the West Bank, 13 May. Jewish settlers frequently attack Palestinian farmers in the West Bank.

(Mamoun Wazwaz / APA images)


Farmers tend to cucumber crops in the West Bank city of Nablus, 7 May.

(Issam Rimawi / APA images)


Palestinian workers lay asphalt as a street is paved in Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip, 29 May.

(Ashraf Amra / APA images)


A confectioner prepares candy at his shop in the West Bank city of Nablus, 23 May.

(Nedal Eshtayah / APA images)


Fadia Zahdeh works on decorations made of recycled paper which she sells as gifts as part of a small business in the West Bank city of Hebron, 23 May.

(Mamoun Wazwaz / APA images)


A carpenter works in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, 6 May.

(Eyad Al Baba / APA images)


A Palestinian girl rides a horse during a training session at the Equestrian Club west of Jabaliya refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip, 5 May.

(Ali Jadallah / APA images)


Fans of Palestinian singer Mohammad Assaf watch him on television at a café in the West Bank city of Hebron as he performs in the Arab Idol competition, 18 May. Assaf is a favorite to win the contest.

(Mamoun Wazwaz / APA images)


A Palestinian man sells grilled corn at the beach west of Gaza City, 24 May.

(Ali Jadallah / APA images)