Amnesty warns Israel against “violent crackdown” on Land Day

Israeli occupation forces in Jerusalem arrest a Palestinian youth during a rally marking Land Day, on 29 March 2014. Saeed Qaq APA images

Amnesty International has warned Israel against a “violent crackdown” on protests in present-day Israel, the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip this weekend as Palestinians mark Land Day.

Despite the warning, Israeli occupation forces and settlers have continued violent attacks on Palestinians in several locations.

Every 30 March, Palestinians commemorate the 1976 killing by Israeli police of six Palestinian citizens who were taking part in mass marches against land expropriation and state-sponsored discrimination in the Galilee.

“Amid news of plans for forced evictions of Bedouin in the Negev/Naqab, demolitions of Palestinian homes in the West Bank and the often lethal enforcement of a no-go zone in Gaza, ‘Land Day’ demonstrations will protest ongoing policies as well as commemorate historical events. Israeli forces must not resort to unnecessary or excessive force as they so often have done in the past,” Philip Luther, director of Amnesty’s Middle East and North Africa program, said in media release.

Luther recalled that in a report published last month, titled Trigger-happy: Israel’s use of excessive force in the West Bank, Amnesty revealed that Israeli forces “routinely resort to unnecessary, arbitrary and excessive force against Palestinian demonstrators” in the occupied West Bank and that “dozens of Palestinian protesters who posed no direct threat to life, including children, have been killed there in recent years with near total impunity.”

Strike

In towns and villages across the Galilee in present-day Israel, Palestinians observed a general strike this weekend and took part in public events marking Land Day, including a wreath-laying at the memorial for those killed in 1976.

The publication Arabs 48, which focuses on Palestinian citizens of Israel, published photographs indicating widespread observance of the strike called by community leaders.

Journalists injured

Palestinians plant olive trees in commemoration of Land Day in Jabalya, in the northern occupied Gaza Strip, on 30 March 2014. Ashraf Amra APA images

On Friday, occupation forces fired tear gas and stun grenades at villagers who were attempting to plant olive trees in Burin, near Nablus.

Also on Friday, Israeli occupation forces reportedly shot and injured a 19-year-old youth in the so-called “buffer zone” east of Jabaliya near the Gaza Strip’s eastern boundary with present-day Israel.

Israeli occupation police “used force on Saturday to break up a Palestinian protest march in occupied East Jerusalem, injuring several people including two journalists,” Ma’an News Agency reported.

Home invasions

Meanwhile, in overnight home invasions early on Saturday, Israeli occupation forces ransacked several houses in the village of Jabaa in the occupied West Bank and arrested three young men.

Occupation forces carried out similar attacks in the eastern occupied Jerusalem village of Issawiyeh as well as near Bethlehem, arresting at least three more people.

Settler attack

In Hebron on Saturday, dozens of Israeli settlers “attacked Palestinian homes” while “Israeli troops responded to complaints by detaining Palestinians,” Ma’an News Agency reported.

Witnesses said settlers from the illegal colony of Kiryat Arba “hurled rocks at Palestinian homes in the al-Jaabari and al-Raas neighborhoods of Hebron” while “Israeli troops escorted the settlers, who in addition to throwing stones, swore at Palestinians.”

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hi there ali
my only concern is that amnesty are completely toothless when it comes to Israel. Israel is going out of control with regards to the frequency and intensity of its attacks against the Palestinians. they hardly need any pretext.
I cannot belive that the arab countries and international community are letting Israel get away with violence, destruction and murder on an unprecedented scale

Ali Abunimah

Ali Abunimah's picture

Co-founder of The Electronic Intifada and author of The Battle for Justice in Palestine, now out from Haymarket Books.

Also wrote One Country: A Bold-Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse. Opinions are mine alone.