Land Day, “Global March on Jerusalem” pass relatively quietly

JERUSALEM (JWN)—A day of Palestinian protests inside Israel and the West Bank—and joined by several thousand demonstrators “marching to Jerusalem” from beyond Israel’s borders—passed with few disturbances and no serious injuries.

In a roundup of incidents:

  • Several protesters were lightly injured by tear gas inhalation in Hebron, when soldiers dispersed a demonstration that had become unruly.
  • Dozens of Palestinian protesters approached the closed Erez crossing between Israel and the Gaza Strip as part of demonstrations for the Global March on Jerusalem. IDF soldiers drove most of them back with warning shots, but one Gazan was shot and lightly wounded in the leg.
  • Several hundred Palestinians gathered near Jerusalem’s Nablus Gate, some carrying Palestinian flags. The crowd attempted to stage an illegal procession—a march that was already in Jerusalem, but not global—and was prevented by police. Several protesters were arrested.
  • Lebanese news sites reported that foreign and Palestinian protesters were making their way toward the Beaufort Castle near the border with Israel, under the understanding that they would proceed no further toward Israel.
  • Protests took place across the West Bank in Kalandiya, Bethlehem, Hebron, Nabi Saleh, Budrus, and other villages.
  • At the Kalandiya checkpoint north of Jerusalem, Palestinian protesters threw rocks and firebombs at security forces and set tires alight. Security forces used tear gas, stun grenades, noise weapons, and foul-smelling water to disperse the protesters, many of whom had arrived at the checkpoint from Ramallah. A number of protesters were lightly injured and taken to local hospitals for treatment.

The Israel Defense Forces had raised its alert level ahead of the anticipated protests at Israel’s borders and West Bank checkpoints during Land Day, which was being joined by the much ballyhooed “march on Jerusalem” from outside the country. IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz toured the West Bank and Syrian border Friday morning ahead of the planned protests.

The Israeli-Arab community marks Land Day to commemorate the killing of six demonstrators killed by police in clashes on the first Land Day in 1976, in a protest against land confiscation by the government.

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