Roughly 250 Palestinians demonstrated at the Kalandiya checkpoint between Jerusalem and Ramallah on Sunday, the anniversary, on the Gregorian calendar, of the day in 1967 that the Six Day War began.
Palestinians refer to June 5 as “Naksa Day,” “the Day of the Setback.”
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The demonstrators tried to cross into Green Line Israel by foot around noon, and threw rocks, gasoline bombs and burning tires at the soldiers and border police.
After the attempt to force Kalandiya, the rioters were pushed north about half a kilometer on the Jerusalem-Ramallah highway by soldiers using tear gas and shock grenades.
According to Palestinian news reports, at least 40 people were treated for tear gas inhalation and two were seriously injured. One policeman was lightly wounded by a rock and treated on the scene. A Jerusalem Post photographer was also lightly injured in the leg by a rock.
The checkpoint, which serves approximately 24,000 people per day, was closed to almost all traffic during the demonstrations.
Dozens of young Arabs carried signs reading “To Jerusalem We Go!” and
“Facebook Status: Free Palestine,” while the clashes got more violent
farther away from the checkpoint. There were fewer demonstrators than
the hundreds who turned out on May 15’s “Nakba Day,” when Palestinians
marked what they call the “Catastrophe” of the state’s founding in 1948.
“We are Generation Oslo, we’re sick of negotiations,” said Zaid, a
20-year-old Ramallah resident, at Kalandiya, amid burning tires and
heavy tear gas. “This is direct confrontation. We don’t sit at tables.”
The march’s goal was to reach the Aksa Mosque on the Temple Mount. “We
invited everyone to come here with spirits high... to check and see
whether people are allowed to go to Jerusalem to pray,” said Amra, a 24-
year-old resident of Ramallah who works in marketing.
Amra said this was the first year she could recall “Naksa Day”
demonstrations. In previous years, the demonstrations were centered
around “Nakba Day,” but the “growing intensity of the occupation” was
forcing more Palestinians to the streets, she said.
Dr. Mustafa Barghouti, who came in second to Mahmoud Abbas in the 2005
Palestinian Authority presidential election, with 19 percent of the
vote, told the Post that Sunday’s Naksa demonstrations were the second
wave of protests, after the Nakba demonstrations, before the declaration
of a Palestinian state at the UN in September. The next wave of
demonstrations will be on July 9, Barghouti said, the anniversary of a
nonbinding 2004 opinion by the UN’s International Court of Justice that
said the West Bank security barrier was illegal.
“We’ve tried negotiations, now the UN is part of our diplomatic
resistance,” said Barghouti, a distant cousin of imprisoned Fatah leader
Marwan Barghouti and the secretary-general of the Palestine National
Initiative, an independent political party for politicians not aligned
with Hamas or Fatah.
Barghouti added that the protests across the Arab world affected
Palestinians deeply. “We did inspire the Arab people for many years, now
they are inspiring our young people,” he said.
In Jerusalem, Arabs clashed with border policemen in Silwan and Abu Tur, and seven people were arrested for throwing rocks.
In Hebron, Palestinians threw rocks and bottles at a kindergarten in
Beit Hadassah. The children were brought inside and no injuries were
Also in the West Bank, about 40 Palestinians and left-wing activists
marched toward the Elon Moreh settlement and tried to break through its
gate. Protesters set a small fire, which was extinguished, and were
In Ramallah, 200 protesters gathered in Manara Square. Hundreds of
Gazans also marched in commemoration of the “Naksa” in Beit Hanun.Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.