Palestinian protesters sittingnear Bethlehem on Land Day 370.
(photo credit: TOVAH LAZAROFF)
The Global March to Jerusalem turned violent in Bethlehem on Friday afternoon as
protesters hurled rocks and in some cases Molotov cocktails at two IDF concrete
Palestinian sources said that one protester was injured in
the head by a tear-gas canister and that dozens of others were treated for
According to the IDF, on the other side of the gate,
vehicles were damaged when rocks and concrete blocks were hurled over the
The march began peacefully on a small road that led to a checkpoint
near Rachel’s Tomb by a road out of the city.
There an open steel gate,
flanked by a IDF guard tower, marks a break in the security barrier’s large
Even as marchers held flags and chanted slogans such
as “to Jerusalem we march with millions,” the barrier’s large steel gate was
A few tourist buses drove by the marchers and headed out of the
Two blocks from the checkpoint, Palestinian police in riot gear
stood across the road shoulder to shoulder and blocked the marchers’
The marchers paused next to the police. Some sat on the road
and listened to a speaker. Afterward, the men prayed, bowing at the
Marchers then tried to push their way past the police line, but the
officers held them back.
After a few minutes, the protesters were able to
break through the line, and head to the gate.
Almost immediately, young
protesters hurled rocks at the gate and the nearby IDF guard tower.
also lit a fire in a wheeled trash bin and pushed it toward the gate.
few threw lit flags at the gate, and one such flag or a Molotov cocktail, hit
the window of the IDF guard tower, where it ignited a small fire on the outside
of the structure. It died out after a few moments.
The IDF posted on
YouTube a video of the fire and the scene in general as it looked from their
Onlookers stood by the sidelines taking photographs and in
some cases filming.
At one point, a protester with a Palestinian flag
scaled the wall and plated it on top, to the cheers of the protesters
The IDF eventually dispersed the protesters with a barrage of tear
Once the final smoke had clear, the street stood empty, strewn with
rocks and water bottles.
The burned-out trashcan was still by the gate.
The word “Love” stood out from the graffiti that was next to it.
road, a small band of protesters continued to hurl rocks at another IDF guard
tower for over an hour.
By this point, most of those that had attended
the rally had left. The street was so quiet that one could hear the stones clank
as they hit the guard tower.
As the afternoon wore on, that sound was
interspersed with the call to prayer from a local mosque. Occasionally, the IDF
shot tear gas at the protesters.
Further down the road, the Palestinian
police, some in riot gear, stood idly by.
At one point, Palestinian
protesters lit a fire by the guard tower.
Watching the smoke billow out
over the road, a Palestinian medic said, “That is the fire of occupation.”