6 Arabs arrested in pre-Land Day violence in Jerusalem

Dozens of Palestinians riot outside Damascus Gate in capital; police use stun grenades to disperse crowd.

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March 29, 2014 21:52
2 minute read.
palestinian protest

Stone-throwing Palestinian protesters take cover behind a garbage bin amidst tear gas fired by Israeli troops during clashes at a checkpoint near Ramallah last month.. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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Police clashed with dozens of Arab protesters in Jerusalem on Saturday, causing injuries on the eve of Land Day.

Some demonstrators and four journalists were among the injured, including a photographer from AFP and another from Reuters, at the incident near the Old City’s Damascus Gate, AFP reported.

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“Police responded only after rocks were thrown at them and used non-lethal stun grenades to disperse the crowd,” a police spokesman said on Saturday.

Six Israeli Arabs were arrested.

Land Day is held on March 30 to commemorate the deaths of six Galilee Arabs in 1976 riots over a government decision to confiscate land.

The Monitoring Committee of the Israeli Arab Leadership organizes the rally.

Khaled an-Naftawi, an Israeli Arab political activist, told The Jerusalem Post on Saturday evening that there will be protests and a general strike in the Arab sector on Sunday.



The main protest is set to happen at 2 p.m. in the Israeli Arab village of Arrabe, located in the Galilee next to Sakhnin, said Naftawi.

He said that a protest in the Negev is planned to include opposition to the Prawer-Begin Bill, which is frozen as Agriculture Minister Yair Shamir studies the issue.

Shamir took over responsibility in January from former minister Bennie Begin for handling the Beduin land issue.

The measure, set to be revised, is a five-year economic development initiative to regulate Beduin settlement in the Negev.

The PLO Executive Committee issued a statement on Saturday regarding Land Day, which it said comes during “an intensifying settlement attack aimed at seizing more Palestinian lands, consolidating the Israeli occupation, and preventing the establishment of an independent and viable Palestinian state on lands occupied by Israel since 1967,” the Palestinian Wafa news agency reported.

The Palestinians are “hanging on to their legitimate national rights, first and foremost the complete Israeli withdrawal from all lands that have been occupied by Israel since June 5, 1967, the right of return, the right to self determination as well as the right to independence and establish the Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital,” the committee said.

It rejected any framework deal that would force the Palestinian leadership to recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

The committee called on the US to stop holding double standards when dealing with Palestinian rights, Wafa reported.

Amnesty International released a statement cautioning Israel against using violence against demonstrators on Land Day.

“Amnesty International is calling on the Israeli authorities to ensure that all forces policing demonstrations receive clear instructions that comply with the UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms, which require that the use of any force by police should be strictly limited to those situations where it is absolutely necessary and strictly proportional to the legitimate aim pursued,” it said.

Daniel K. Eisenbud contributed to this report.

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