One Palestinian Protester Killed, Dozens Arrested and Wounded in IDF Clashes on Land Day

One Palestinian killed in clashes at Erez crossing on the Israel-Gaza border; at least 34 arrested in Jerusalem; IDF Spokesperson: This is only the start, Nakba and Naksa Day still ahead of us.

The IDF spokesperson confirmed that one Palestinian was killed during clashes at the Erez crossing on the Israel-Gaza border during protests to commemorate Land Day on Friday, while dozens more demonstrators were reportedly wounded and arrested in other sites in the West Bank and Israel.

The IDF spokesperson, Brigadier General Yoav Mordechai, said of the events on Land Day: "It's important to remember that this is the first day. The Nakba and Naksa days are ahead of us, and that is where the challenge will be."

A Palestinian protester hurling stones at Israel Defense Forces  Qalandiyah Land Day
Gili Cohen Magen

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Some 15 Palestinians were detained in Issawiya on suspicion of throwing stones, while a further 19 were detained in Jerusalem.

One protester was moderately wounded at the border crossing near Rachels Tomb, and was taken to hospital in Hebron. He was apparently wounded after being hit in the head by tear gas.

At the Erez crossing on the Israel-Gaza border, eight people were wounded after demonstrators approached the entrance to the crossing. They did not heed the IDFs requests to stop approaching, and the soldiers opened fire. Sniper teams stationed at the crossing reported eight wounded, most of them moderatley, and one severely. The Palestinian media reported that nine Palestinians were injured.

Some 250 Palestinians protested at the Qalandiyah checkpoint near Jerusalem. Demonstrators burned tires and hurled rocks at soldiers, who responded with stun grenades and tear gas. Protests continued at the checkpoint on Friday evening. The IDF used two crowd dispersal methods, releasing a foul-smelling gas and sounding a loud noise,  as well as using tear gas at the checkpoint.

Palestinian politician Mustafa Barghouti was said to have been hit on the head by a tear gas canister at the Qalandiyah clashes, but Israeli officials later said he had been punched by another Palestinian.

An additional demonstration took place at the Gaza Strip near Khan Yunis, where four people were reportedly wounded by sniper fire when they approached the border fence.

Protests also took place in the village of Deir Hanna in the Galilee, and in the unrecognized village of Wadi Aniam in the Negev. Demonstrators waved Palestinian flags and chanted slogans against the continual discriminatory policies against the Arab public, especially over housing and land.

Mohammed Zidan of the High Follow-Up Committee for Arab citizens of Israel said that the plan to continuously expropriate Arab land sends the Arab sector in Israel a dangerous message, and instead of attempting to close gaps, the state implements dangerous plans such as the Prawer Plan, the passage of racist laws, and the deepening of social gaps. 

Demonstrations also took place in neighboring countries. In Jordan, 14,000 people took part in a large demonstration near the Allenby Bridge. The demonstrators did not come into contact with IDF forces stationed in the area, and the demonstration was dispersed after that. Some 5,000 people gathered in Lebanon, and marched to Fort Beaufort. Some of the protesters were Palestinians from refugee camps in Lebanon.

Unlike last year, there were no incidents in the Golan Heights, as was estimated by Israeli intelligence. The IDF spokesperson explained that the reason for this was that Assad is busy with himself these days."

The IDF estimated that events were starting to wind down on Friday evening, with a few dozen Palestinians still demonstrating Qalandiyah on Friday evening, a few dozen still demonstrating at the Erez crossing.

The demonstrations in Israel marked the anniversary of Land Day, an event marked annually by Arab Israelis to commemorate the 1976 protests in which six Arabs were killed by security forces.

Read this article in Hebrew