Land Day in Israel: Burning tires, stones and tear gas as Palestinians clash with IDF
RT’s Irina Galushko reported from the scene that Israeli police were preparing to use noise cannons to disperse the Palestinians.
“The Palestinians are showing no signs of giving up at all, the land day demonstrations have actually been a tradition since 1976, when they occurred for the first time, 6 Palestinians were killed in a confrontation with Israeli police and Israeli armed forces. And it has been happening every year as it has been happening today.” She said.
A column of protesters formed in the West Bank and marched towards the Qalandia checkpoint on the road connecting Jerusalem and Ramallah.
The demonstrators carried Palestinian flags and pictures of Palestinian prisoners, one of whom, Samer Issawi, is currently in hospital due to his deteriorating health conditions after having been on hunger strike since August 2012 in protest for his release.
The guard at the Qalandia checkpoint, enhanced the day before Land Day, met the protesters with tear gas grenades.
Some Palestinian activists have been arrested.
The IDF wrote on Twitter that Palestinian protesters threw stones at Israeli vehicles traveling on south-north Route 60, which passes through the West Bank; a 5-year-old boy was reportedly injured as a result. The IDF said that it is searching the area for suspects.
Troops patrolling the border between Israel and the Gaza strip used live fire to disperse protesters who came close to the fence, but a hospital in Gaza said nobody was hurt.
The biggest rally on Land Day takes place in the Galilee town of Sakhnin. In remembrance, Palestinians plant trees on land Israel threatened to expropriate in 1976 to reaffirm their ties to the land.
Land Day is marked by Palestinians around the world every March 30. On this date in 1976, six Palestinians protesting against the expropriation of large tracts of Arab land were killed by Israeli police in several towns.
The current Israeli government doesn’t believe in peace or the right of the Palestinian people to have an independent state, Mustafa Barghouti, from the Palestinian Legislative Council, told RT.
“Through settlement activities, they are almost killing the last opportunity for peace based on the two state solution in the longest occupation in modern history,” he said.
He continued that the fact that many Israeli government minorities are themselves settlers is merely compounding the problem.
Israeli settlements in the Palestinian territories continues to be the main stumbling block in Israeli-Palestinians relations. Israel is continually building new houses on Palestinian land, preventing the two sides from restarting peaceful negotiations that could eventually lead to the creation of independent Palestinian state.
Despite frequent demands by the international community – and even Israel’s main sponsor and ally, the US – to stop its illegal settlement construction, Tel Aviv has continued unabated.
The recent visit to Israel by US President Barack Obama showed that Israel will ignore all demands to stop the construction of settlements; the US is apparently reluctant to become involved in the issue.