Rioter in Qalandiya
Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg
Security forces in Qalandiya
Photo: Reuters

IDF: Next challenge – Prisoner Day

As Land Day protests die down, IDF spokesman says army is pleased with handling of riots; Army says 50 were injured in West Bank, Gaza, but Palestinians report one man killed, 150 hurt

The IDF expressed contentment with its handling of Friday's Land Day protests, in which one Palestinian was reported killed and dozens were injured.


"Overall, no dramatic incidents took place, and the security forces in the Palestinian cities did not allow the demonstrations to spread," IDF Spokesman Brigadier-General Yoav Mordechai said.


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The spokesman stressed that the soldiers stuck to the rules of engagement, which required the troops to verbally warn protesters to stay away from the border, use various means of crowd dispersal and fire warning shots before resorting to shooting the protesters in the legs, should they not heed the previous deterrence methods.

פיזור מפגינים בקלנדיה. עשרות נפצעו (צילום: EPA)

Crowd dispersal in Qalandiya (Photo: EPA) 


Mordechai noted that the army is already preparing for the next round of demonstrations, expected in the coming months.


"The challenge will be to deal with the upcoming memorial days, including Nakba Day, Naksa Day and especially Prisoner Day, which call for bolstered alertness."


Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah on Friday praised the demonstrators in a speech during an opening ceremony held at a religious center in Beirut.


"This is a great day for Palestine and Jerusalem, when our Palestinian brethren came out to protest within occupied Palestine and outside it," he said.

כוחות הביטחון בקלנדיה. פתיחה באש בהתאם לנהלים (צילום: EPA)

'Troops stuck to rules of engagement.' Qalandiya (Photo: EPA) 


According to the IDF, some 50 people were wounded in the rallies in the West Bank and Gaza, but the Palestinians claimed that 150 were injured, 100 of whom were hurt by inhaling tear gas in near the Qalandiya crossing north of Jerusalem.


According to the reports, 1 man was killed and eight were moderately injured when they approached the border fence near the Erez Crossing in northern Gaza.


Four others were injured by IDF sniper fire during a protest in the southern region of the Strip, near Khan Younis, aftering ignoring the soldiers' warnings against approaching the border fence. Their condition remains unclear. Also in southern Gaza, Palestinians snipers shot at IDF troops, and mortar shells were fired. No injuries were reported in these incidents.

חמאס מונע ממפגינים להתקרב לגדר (צילום: רויטרס)

Hamas held protesters back in Gaza (Photo: Reuters)


In Qalandiya, security forces used tear gas against rioters who threw stones and torched tires. Palestinian Parliament Member Mustafa Barghouti appeared to have been hit by a rubber bullet fired by the IDF, and was taken to the hospital. He was evidently also hurt by rocks hurled at him by Palestinian protesters who opposed his participation in the rally. Earlier, the IDF denied having injured the politician.


Riots broke out in Jerusalem's Old City as well, prompting the security forces to arrest dozens.


Some 300 took part in a violent rally in Bethlehem, near Rachel's Tomb. Three sustained moderate injuries during the riots. One man was lightly hurt during the weekly protests against the construction of the security fence in the West Bank; he was hit in the eye by a gas grenade ricochet.

אלפי ערבים ישראלים הפגינו בדיר חנא (צילום: חגי אהרון)

Israeli Arabs rallied in Deir Hanna (Photo: Hagay Aharon)


In Jordan, not far from the Allenby Crossing, a larger rally took place, drawing 14,000 people – including protesters who arrived from Asia to take part in the Pro-Palestinian event. The Jordanian security forces were able to contain the demonstration; no unusual incidents were reported.


Some 5,000 people held an anti-Israel rally in southern Lebanon, near the Beaufort. Some arrived at the demonstration from Lebanon's Palestinian refugee camps, while others travelled from as far as India. Members of the extremist anti-Zionist Jewish sect Neturei Karta were in attendance as well.


Hundreds of Syrians rallied in Damascus in show of solidarity for the Palestinians, while the Palestinian community in Egypt staged a protest in Cairo's Tahrir Square.


Meanwhile, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Hussein Amir Abed Lahyan toured southern Lebanon near the border with Israel, and promised that the  Islamic Republic will continue to support the Lebanese and Palestinian resistance "until the entire land is liberated." A Hezbollah delegation attended the reception held for the Iranian official.


Israeli Arabs joined in on the Land Day demonstrations; the main event was held in the village of Deir Hanna in the Galilee, and was attended by Arab Knesset members. Other rallies were held in Sakhnin, Arraba, Kafr Kanna, Taibe and Wadi al-Naam. No violent incidents were reported.


Roi Kais contributed to the report




פרסום ראשון: 03.30.12, 21:20
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