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Scores injured at Qalandia in Land Day protest

Some 1,000 Palestinians and internationals gathered outside the Qalandia checkpoint today to mark Land Day and to protest Israeli occupation, continued settlement of Palestinian land, and restrictions on freedom of movement.

Protester injured by rubber bullet receives treatment (photo: Mya Guarnieri)

Israeli forces used rubber-coated bullets, tear gas, skunk water, and “the scream” acoustic weapon against demonstrators. Some Palestinian youth burned tires and threw stones.

Israeli forces left the checkpoint area and entered Qalandia, effectively pushing protesters further back from the checkpoint.

Speaking to +972, Dr. Zaid Atabeh of the Palestinian Authority-affiliated Military Medical Services said that 85 protesters had been injured, 12 of whom were hospitalized. All of the injuries were from tear gas and rubber bullets.

Palestinian politician and activist Mustafa Barghouti was reportedly among those injured and hospitalized; some Palestinians say he was struck in the head by a tear gas canister, while Israeli officials claimed he was injured in a fight that broke out between protesters. At least one Palestinian eyewitness backed the Israeli account.

A Palestinian protester who goes by his Twitter handle @JalalAK_jojo explained to +972, “The Mubadara guys [Palestinian National Initiative, Mustafa Barghouti’s party] just went ahead before everyone else and the Fatah and other organizers inside [Qalandia refugee] camp were angry that someone is trying to pull this as a media stunt. So, basically, Mustafa Barghouti and his supporters were beaten up by the other organizers inside the camp…”

He added that he felt that the chaotic demonstration was not successful.

Other Palestinians expressed frustration about the lack of organization and leadership of the protest as well as squabbling between factions. When asked if the chaotic scene was a microcosm of Palestinian politics, Palestinian activist Diana Alzeer answered, “Definitely… it looks like the whole  of Palestinian politics and how it works. ”

“We don’t know who is organizing and if you just look around you, with all the flags that are being spread from all factions, it just tells you that they’re just competing amongst each other,” Alzeer continued.

She added that, when she first arrived, she was excited to see a crowd larger than she’d seen at past protests at Qalandia. “But it’s such a weak protest – everybody is just standing around, watching, and people are not trying to march.”

Alzeer continued, “On top of that, you see [the Palestinian cellular company] Jawwal is advertising itself right now. It’s using people.”

Jawwal’s booth and the company representatives handing out free hats and bottles of water lent the scene an odd, festival-like feeling, especially when one considers the gravity of the day.

Land Day marks the strikes and protests that were held in Israel in 1976 after the state appropriated thousands of dunams of privately-owned Palestinian land. Six Palestinian citizens of the state were killed by Israeli security forces during the 1976 demonstrations, a watershed moment in the Palestinian national struggle and in the crystallization of a Palestinian political and national identity. Protests commemorating the day were held Friday all over Israel and the Palestinian territories.

While Qalandia is within the Israeli-dictated municipal boundaries of Jerusalem, and inhabitants are Jerusalem residents who pay taxes to Israel authorities, it is cut off from the rest of the city by the separation wall and a massive checkpoint. Many who live in Qalandia must pass through the checkpoint on a daily basis to reach their jobs and schools on the other side. Like other areas of East Jerusalem, Qalandia receives inadequate services from the Jerusalem municipality.

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    1. Anonymous

      Are you disappointed you didn’t get any corpses to pimp, Mya?

      Reply to Comment
    2. Jack

      Witness the hypocrisy by the west, in Syria, Libya they support not only the protesters but violent protesters. In Palestine they get no love at all. All talk about democracy, human rights, arab spring, all lies.

      Reply to Comment
    3. Anonymous

      Jack, when the Palestinians start protesting for democracy and human rights and not another genocide of Jews, you let me know. I’ll be right there with them.

      Reply to Comment
    4. Sinjim

      According to Jalal AbuKhater, who was at the Qalandiya protest, the plan was for everyone to march together to Qalandiya after Friday prayers. However, Barghouti’s group (the Palestinian National Inititiative, or Mubadara) and the PFLP raced to the checkpoint in order to get there first. Some of the Fateh youth confronted the Barghouti’s group, which escalated into a brawl and that’s how he was injured.
      Is this the “non-violence” that Barghouti was talking about earlier this week? In the service of glorifying oneself?
      And now that his lying has been exposed, the Israeli spokesmen are using his actions justify the violence the army used against protesters, including the death of at least one in Gaza and the firing a tear gas canister at the face of an 8-year-old child in Nabi Saleh.
      The Palestinian parties should be ashamed of themselves.

      Reply to Comment
    5. anonymous, your comments are totally disconnected from reality as well as the text of this article. first off, the protesters were not calling for “another genocide of jews” but exactly the things you said you’re willing to support: “democracy and human rights.” that simple. and what they were calling for was stated in the first sentence of this article. second, your attempt to make a personal stab at me with your little comment about pimping corpses was just laughable.

      Reply to Comment
    6. Jack

      I think you should read the declaration of Human rights, especially the paragraph about right to return.

      Reply to Comment
    7. Anonymous: I will not tolerate you making claims about how I feel or would feel if someone died on my thread. You don’t know me. Your above comment, which was totally out of line and offensive to me, was deleted. Stay on topic. Off topic comments and those that attempt to tell me how I would feel will be deleted. Best, Mya

      Reply to Comment
    8. anonymous: freedom of speech is fine, but i will not allow you to clutter a thread with off-topic comments, bully me, and be patronizing and condescending and pretend to speak for my feelings. period.

      Reply to Comment
    9. Anonymous

      OK Mya, as you wish. Here is a question about something that’s on topic. According to every news source the Palestinians protesters threw fire bombs, Molotovs, and stones. Here’s a pic of a child doing that.


      How come this information did not make it into your article?

      Reply to Comment
    10. Did you not read my post? It says stones and burned tires. So don’t tell me that “this information” didn’t make it into my article.

      I did not see molotov cocktails with my own eyes at this. But perhaps they were thrown after I left the protest.

      Reply to Comment
    11. Anonymous

      I was referring principally to the throwing of fire bombs and Molotovs.

      Could you please correct your post with the information contained in my comments, considering that it is important context for the actions of the IDF?

      Reply to Comment
    12. anonymous: no, i will not “correct” my post with information from your comments. i reported what i saw at qalandia.

      according to maan, firebombs were thrown at bethlehem. i did not see any at qalandia and so i will not add that based on YOUR comments.

      Reply to Comment
    13. Anonymous

      Mya, with respect, you didn’t report just what you saw with your own eyes. You reference Dr. Zaid Atabeh for your casualty figures.
      My question is why do you reference him in your article, but not Ynetnews, that reported on the clashes at Qalandiya?
      “The riots began around 12:30 pm, shortly after Friday prayers, when dozens of masked Palestinian youths began hurling stones and Molotov cocktails at security forces stationed at the Qalandia checkpoint.”
      Where is the cut off between what you will not include and what you will?

      Reply to Comment
    14. Sherri Munnerlyn

      To Anonymous, Why would anyone believe Fascists at ynetnews? Get real, some of us care about Truth, not Hasbara lies. Getting my news from ynetnews, that would be like looking to Satan to tell me who God is.

      Reply to Comment
    15. Jack

      You clearly show your true colors by not only denying palestinians the right to protest against illegal annexation and constant human rights violations by the occupying force, you even go beyond that and try to steer the discussion away from the big question by complaining about a kid throwing a stone against armed commandos with live fire munitons. Israel proved itself not being a democracy by clashing with demonstrators, just like Bahrain, Yemen, Syria, Saudi arabia.

      Reply to Comment
    16. Matt

      “Israel proved itself not being a democracy by clashing with demonstrators, just like Bahrain, Yemen, Syria, Saudi arabia.”

      Well said. Likewise, the US, UK, Greece and France are also not democracies because they too clash with demonstrators.

      Reply to Comment
    17. Jack

      The difference between US, UK, Greece, France is that they dont deny protesters their right because of their ethnicity/religion. Or more concrete that the same states dont crush the people that trying to get free of a occupation (impossible to begin with since none, US excluded, occupy/annex other states).

      Reply to Comment
    18. micheli

      Mya, thanks for another round of great, detailed reporting; it’s very much appreciated.

      Reply to Comment
    19. Matt

      Keep moving those goalposts, Jack.

      Reply to Comment
    20. Anonymous

      Mya, where did you go? I asked a very legitimate question. What is your answer?

      Reply to Comment
    21. objectivenewseeker


      I have to second Anonymous’ request. Protesters throwing Moltov Cocktails is a vital contextual fact in everything that happened and you didn’t just report what you saw with your own eyes either. I’ve been following 972 latley but am starting to feel it isn’t balanced and objective.

      Please update your reprt Mya.


      Reply to Comment
    22. Sherri Munnerlyn

      To Jack, The ones dying are Palestinians, and the ones doing the killing are the Israeli Occupiers. Same as always.

      And I remind all, under international law armed resistance to occupations is completely and 100% lawful. So, the reality is even if this were a planned violent action to overthrow the Occupation, it would be completely and 100% lawful under intl law.

      This violence we see may well me a direct response to Israeli violence, or its also possible some of it is being perpetrated by Israelis or Palestinians hired by Israel to engage in violent acts. I have read that is a regular Israeli practice in demonstrations.

      Reply to Comment
    23. Bill Pearlman

      Sherri is a mondoweiss gal. Which means she thinks that Israel is the center of evil in the universe, satanic really. And needs to be exterminated.

      Reply to Comment
    24. mya guarnieri

      Objectivenewsseeker: I will not update my report based on something I did not see, that my colleague Omar, who was also at Qalandia yesterday, did not see, and that was not reported by a number of news agencies.

      Reply to Comment
    25. Jack

      Who cares if molotovs were throwed?! Its like that time Israel attacked and killed 9 civilians on the Freedom flotilla and said it was weapons onboard and showed this picture (below) were Israel they had collected all kinds of objects that Israel tried to portrayed as some weapons of mass destruction.


      The propaganda mill is getting ridiculous. To be effective the propaganda must be perceived as realistic. This is not.

      Its obvious who show restraints and who doesnt, while palestinians throwing stones, Israel throwing missiles at defenseless occupied people.

      Reply to Comment
    26. JB from SC

      Dr. Barghouti told the NY Times “I was hit with a tear-gas bomb on the side of my head and my back,” Dr. Barghouti said in a telephone interview from his hospital bed. “My scalp is injured, my right ear has problems, and they are checking to see if I have any spinal injury.”

      “The Israeli military spokesman’s office, in a set of Twitter messages and later over the telephone, said Dr. Barghouti had not been hit by an Israeli canister but had been attacked by other Palestinians. A few Palestinian witnesses offered a similar account. ”

      Now, JalalAK_jojo seems to confirm the IDF account. This is extremely disappointing in lieu of the respect that Dr. Barghouti garnered with his non-violent talks at the J Street Conf. in DC earlier in the week.

      Reply to Comment
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