Child throws stone during Land Day protest 370.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
One Palestinian was killed and dozens of pro-Palestinian activists were
injured when protests marking Land Day turned violent in the West Bank
and Gaza Strip on Friday.
Despite the widespread clashes between Israeli security personnel and
pro-Palestinian protesters in the West Bank and Gaza, the IDF expressed
satisfaction with the day's occurrences overall.
IDF Spokesperson Brig.- Gen. Yoav Mordechai said that "overall, none of the
incidents were out of the ordinary."
He added that IDF-PA security coordination helped contain the protests.
"Security forces in Palestinian cities did not allow the demonstrations
to spread," he said.
With an eye to the future, Mordechai said that "the real test will come
during the Nakba and Naksa Day protests as well as Prisoners' Day,
which will be very tense.
One killed, dozens injured in Gaza
Adham Abu Salmiya, a spokesperson for the emergency medical services in
Gaza, said that 20-year-old Mahmoud Muhammad Zaqout was shot dead by
IDF forces stationed near the border with Gaza.
The IDF confirmed the death of one Palestinian protester who was shot and killed after refusing to
stop his approach towards the Israeli border.
The emergency services in Gaza stated that 37 people were injured, three seriously, in the
protests. The IDF Spokesperson's office stated that only 29 had been injured in Gaza.
The main Gaza protests took place in Beit Hanoun (Erez) and Khan Yunis.
Protesters clash with security forces in West Bank
Israeli police and border patrol units arrested 34 activists on Friday
in clashes that took place in the West Bank and east Jerusalem to
commemorate the 36th annual Land Day. Palestinian activists and
supporters held demonstrations in east Jerusalem and Bethlehem, while a
demonstration at the Kalandiya checkpoint resulted in
several activists being injured.
Thousands of protesters assembled at
Kalandiya near Jerusalem, with Palestinian youths hurling stones and
Molotov cocktails at Israeli security forces, who responded by firing
tear gas, stun grenades, sound weapons and foul-smelling water
to disperse the protesters.
large number of protesters, who arrived at the checkpoint from Ramallah, were injured and taken to local hospitals for
treatment. Israel Radio reported that those taken to hospital were
lightly injured. Among the injured was Palestinian lawmaker Mustafa
Barghouti.In Bethlehem, dozens of protesters threw stones
at an IDF checkpoint after breaking through a line of Palestinian
police. IDF troops responded to stone throwers at the Rachel Checkpoint
outside Bethlehem with large quantities of tear gas.
security forces had blocked the protesters from approaching the
checkpoint. The protesters stopped in front of the Palestinian police
and sat in the road, chanting: "To Jerusalem, we will march."Aharonovitch: Kalandia demonstration is "a show"
Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch visited the Kalandiya checkpoint
on Friday, calling a rowdy Palestinian demonstration taking place there a "show."
"They are throwing stones, and we are responding," Aharonovitch said.
Commissioner Insp.-Gen. Yochanan Danino arrived in the North Friday
afternoon to inspect the deployment of officers. Police said no unusual
incidents took place in the North.
Israel Police deployed large
numbers of police and border police forces in and around Moshav Avivim
near the Lebanese border Friday morning, ahead of the expected
demonstrations. Security forces set up checkpoints to prevent protesters
from encroaching on the Lebanese border, where at least 10 people were
killed in clashes that erupted during last years Nakba Day
Amnesty International issued a condemnation of what it termed Israel's "excessive use of force" on Land Day protesters.
organization's deputy director of Middle East and North Africa program
said in a press statement that the the human-rights group was "extremely
worried" by reports that the IDF was using live ammunition on
protesters, "particularly in the light of frequent and persistent use of
excessive force against Palestinian protesters."
condemned the PA for preventing protests and Hamas for beating up
protesters, calling on them both to respect freedom of assembly.
Nida Tuma, Ben Hartman, Yaakov Lappin, Melanie Lidman and Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this report.