Tear gas, rocks, and stun grenades filled the air as Palestinian rioters and Israeli security personnel skirmished today — the Land Day protests unraveled into predictable anarchy and violence.In Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and at the Erez crossing between Gaza and Israel, hundreds of Palestinian protested, and later rioted, as they marched on Israeli border positions. In an abrupt contrast to the relative silence at the Qalandiya crossing between Ramallah and Jerusalem this morning, the attempt to “liberate” Jerusalem descended into chaos at the conclusion of Friday morning prayers.Organizers of the Global March on Jerusalem boasted of a complex and thoroughly planned effort to flush Israel’s borders with two million activists, refugees, and militants from across the West Bank, Gaza, Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan for Land Day. (March 30 is when Palestinian and Israeli Arabs commemorate deadly protests that took place in Israel over land rights in 1976.) The organizers included Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood, and leftist and extremist groups, and were backed by Iran and other Arab governments.Protestors burned tires and threw Molotov cocktails at Israeli soldiers in Jerusalem, who were deployed to prevent large-scale violence and the possible infiltration of Israeli territory. In the West Bank and Gaza, Israelis responded with non-lethal countermeasures, such as tear gas, the Scream device (used to disperse crowds with projected audible dissonance), and the Skunk (a modified carrier that sprays a non-toxic foul-smelling substance at large crowds).At the Erez Crossing between Israel and Gaza, 14 injuries and one death were reported after Gaza protesters crossed into the no-man’s land close to the Israeli border. The rioters were fired upon after failing to heed warning shots by IDF personnel. Large groups of Palestinians gathered at landmarks in Lebanon and Jordan, but did not attempt to breach the border.
The ensuing calamity resulted in visibly frustrated Palestinian aggressors largely retreating from Israeli security forces. The protesters who remained after most of the crowd dispersed were unable to sustain any cohesive momentum to continue their violence. By nightfall, only infrequent reports of rock-throwing and verbal incitement were being reported on Israeli radio and television.
The underlying failure of the Palestinian cause has been and continues to be its inability to look inward and to contemplate the underlying reason of their discontent. The crowds, led by political demagogues, misdirected their anger at Israeli authorities in the wake of their own leadership’s failings and dabblings in folly-induced, faux-nationalist events.The Palestinian leadership devotes years to planning and hundreds of thousands of manpower hours to these displays of false national victimhood — protests that spiral into violence, incitement, terrorism, and other grand plans of subterfuge that always end in grandiose failure to obtain their number-one goal: a state of Palestine. Recognition and realization of a Palestinian state will only come when Palestinians recognize the source of their anguish does not come from Israel, but from within their own ranks.
While a demonstration in Jordan attracted up to 15,000 people, according to AFP, numbers were far smaller in Israel's northern neighbor, Lebanon, as Lebanese security forces attempted to prevent a repeat of fatal protests that occurred along the border with Israel last year.In Syria, despite a a brutal year-long conflict between the government in Damascus and an armed opposition, protesters rallied in Damascus in solidarity for both the Palestinians on Land Day and for Syrian President Bashar Assad.In Syria, thousands of protesters gathered in Damascus' al-Sabaa square to mark Land Day, according to Reuters. The protesters also expressed solidarity with Assad, with many of them waving Syrian flags and holding up pictures of the embattled leader.In Egypt, meanwhile, security forces prevented mass protests in Egypt to mark Land Day, while organizers in Cairo called off another demonstration due to the political situation in Egypt, Al Jazeera reported according to pro-Palestinian activists.
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 and indicated that none of the incidents were out of the ordinary.Meanwhile, 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.
A 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.