Around a hundred Palestinians defied bad weather on March 30th and gathered near the illegal settlement and army base of Beit El in Ramallah to mark Land Day.
Land Day is a yearly event during which Palestinians commemorate the Israeli government’s confiscation of thousands of dunums of land from Palestinian citizens of Israel in 1976, and the killing of six Palestinians in the protests that followed.
This year, protesters also came out in support of Gaza and to mark the one-year anniversary of the Great March of Return. The series of marches and protests started one year ago to protest the blockade and demand the Palestinian right of return, to which Israeli soldiers have responded with lethal force.
The United Nations recently released statistics stating that the Israeli army has killed 195 Palestinians since March 30 2018, 41 of which were children. A little short of 29,000 Palestinians were wounded, 25% of them with live fire. One Israeli soldier was killed and 50 Israelis were reported injured by Palestinian actions in the same period.
Protesters in Ramallah told Mondoweiss they were there to defend their homeland. They also expressed their support for the marches in Gaza. “We are one people. They are us and we are them,” one masked youth said who preferred not to give his name.
The Israeli army used tear gas, sound grenades, and live bullets against protesters. They also deployed skunk water, a foul smelling liquid sprayed from a water canon, to disperse protesters. The smell lingered in the area for hours after the clashes ended.
Other protests took place in different locations in the West Bank; Huwwara checkpoint near Nablus, Nabi Saleh, Hebron, and the Jabal Mukabir neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem. One person in Nablus was injured in the face by a tear gas canister.
The Gaza health ministry reported that three were killed in Gaza, including a 17-year-old, and 316 Palestinians were wounded.