Monday, November 23, 2020

Deadly protest hits West Bank on holiest night in Islamic calendar

By Lil Jackson - July 25, 2014
Section: [Main News] [Life under Occupation]
Tags: [Qalandiya checkpoint] [Ramallah] [Gaza] [Operation Protective Edge]

 Thousands march to Qalandia checkpoint at the July 24 protests. | Photo by Haley Paladino



On one of the holiest nights in the Islamic calendar, Laylat al Qadr,10,000 Palestinians marched to Qalandia checkpoint in the biggest demonstration in the occupied West Bank since the second intifada. 


The central purpose of the protest was to deliver a message of solidarity with the people of Gaza, according to the events organization committee.


Palestinian youth threw rocks and Molotov cocktails whilst setting off a steady stream of fireworks over the clashes. Israeli forces located at Qalandia checkpoint used tear gas, stun grenades and live ammunition. 


Mohammad al-Araj, 17 was killed after being shot in the head, arm and leg, another protestor Majd Sufyan, 27 is deemed clinically dead and over 100 people were injured. 


“We were marching straight forward [to Qalandia checkpoint] until the Israelis started firing, they fired live ammunition … in every direction,” said one activist present at the clashes. 


Demonstrations erupted throughout the occupied West Bank, with significant clashes in the greater Hebron area, Nablus, Bethlehem, Salfit, Qalqiya, Tulkarem, and Abu Dis. From last nights clashes over one hundred injuries have been reported across the West Bank, no total number has been confirmed. Israeli forces have reportedly used live ammunition, skunk water, and explosive bullets during these clashes.


The protests come after more than 815 Palestinians have been killed in the besieged Gaza Strip since Israel’s 'Operation Protective Edge’ began 17 days ago. A substantial percentage of those killed have been civilians, including 123 children, according to Defence for Children


Delivering a message


The 48,000 March Committee organized the demonstration. The group is a collective of “young Palestinians who want to live in freedom and dignity…We want to deliver this message to the highest members of the international community and the Israeli occupation,” according to Qassam al Barghouti, a core organizer with the March Committee and son of imprisoned Palestinian political figure Marwan Barghouti. 


“Looking at the things happening in Gaza truly calls for action and for something to be done…I hope that it will gather a range of people from different backgrounds and political affiliations,” one volunteer organizer of the demonstration, who preferred to remain anonymous, told Palestine Monitor. 


Palestinians from the West Bank planned to march from al Amari refugee camp, on the outskirts of Ramallah, to al Aqsa mosque to express their opposition to Israel’s ongoing offensive in the besieged Gaza Strip and to deliver a message of solidarity. 


“We will not forget Jerusalem”


Barghouti stated that the aim of the protest was to reach al Aqsa mosque, located in Jerusalem’s Old City. Their reasons for this were twofold: They aspired to transmit their message of solidarity from East Jerusalem, a part of the city that Palestinians wish to be their capital, and they wanted to reach al Aqsa mosque, one of the holiest sites in Islam, to pray. 


“We hope to reach al Aqsa mosque and to pray there. It also a very important indicator that Palestinians will never forget Jerusalem…whatever Israel tries to do, we will not forget Jerusalem” said Barghouti.


Violent clashes have persisted today in Hebron and Nablus. Israeli forces are continuing to use live fire to disperse crowds, killing four protesters. One Palestinian was reportedly fatally shot by a settler near Nablus. Among today’s fatalities is Hashem Abu Maria, 27, of Defence for Children International Palestine.


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