Israeli forces clash with protesting Palestinians

Israeli security forces in riot gear confronted Palestinian demonstrators along Israel’s frontiers on an annual protest day.

Minor skirmishes broke out between thousands of protesters and security forces in the Jerusalem area. Palestinians threw stones and Israeli troops responded with tear gas, stun grenades and rubber bullets. No serious injuries were reported.

In Gaza, Palestinians said Israeli forces shot and wounded two men who approached the border during a demonstration by about 15,000 people, organised by Gaza’s Hamas rulers. The Israeli military said soldiers shot and wounded one protester.

Elsewhere, things were calm.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The Land Day rallies are an annual event marked by Israeli Arabs and Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza who protest against Israeli land policies. Supporters in neighbouring countries planned marches near the Israeli frontier, but organisers said they would keep protesters away from the borders.

Last year, demonstrators from Lebanon and Syria tried twice to break across the borders into Israel, setting off clashes with Israeli troops in which at least 38 people were killed. In southern Lebanon yesterday, more than 3,000 Lebanese and Palestinians gathered outside the Crusaders’ Beaufort castle nine miles from Israel. Lebanese security forces kept them from moving any closer to the border.

Sobhiyeh Mizari, 70, said: “We will liberate our land against the will of Israel and its backers.” Mrs Mizari claimed her husband was killed by Israeli shelling of Lebanon in 1978.

Several dozen Palestinians who live in east Jerusalem waved their national flag outside Jerusalem’s walled Old City. “One, one homeland!” they chanted.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Palestinians were banned from entering from the West Bank except for medical emergencies, and police barred Palestinian men under 40 from praying at a volatile holy site in Jerusalem. The demonstrators then prayed on their flags instead of the traditional mats.