UPDATE (9:00 pm Friday): At least three mortars fired toward Israel from Gaza. As usual, there are wildly different claims of “injured” Palestinians being made by Palestinians. At 3:36, the Palestinians reported 80 injured; at 4:15 they reported 120 injured; at 7:21, the new number being reported was 340. By tomorrow morning, they will report 1,000. As of this moment, a “security incident” is being reported in the area of the Dead Sea.
Update and Today’s Blog (6:00 pm Friday):
Numerous incidents have taken place throughout the morning and afternoon as Israeli-Arabs and Palestinians “celebrate” Land Day.
However, when one looks at the events in total, it is remarkable how few people actually protested— and how Israeli security personnel, the IDF, the Palestinian police, Hamas security personnel, the Lebanese Army, UNIFIL forces, Jordanian police, and Egyptian security personnel thwarted the attempts of the relatively few who did protest to breach Israel’s borders.
At the Erez Crossing on the Gaza border: 14 Palestinians were reportedly injured (1 seriously when shot in the leg while trying to destroy a facility at the Crossing) when they attempted to break through the border fence–and infiltrate Israel through the Crossing. Apparently some of the Palestinians were injured when Hamas security personnel used clubs to try to force the rioters away from the border fence.
At the Qalandiya checkpoint near Jerusalem: just after Friday mosque prayers, “dozens” of masked Palestinians threw Molotov cocktails and “rocks” at Israeli security personnel who responded with tear gas, rubber bullets, and stun grenades. Palestinian politician Mustafa Barghouti was injured in a brawl with fellow Palestinians over who would lead the protest.
In the Israeli Arab town on Deir Hanna in the Galilee: “thousands” of Israeli-Arabs carrying Palestinian flags and accompanied by Arab Ministers in the Knesset staged a march through the downtown area.
In Jerusalem: IDF troops positioned around the city stopped any protesters from entering. However, protesters who live the city attacked Israelis on the Temple Mount resulting in the arrest of 14. Security personnel quickly dispersed a protest at the Damascus Gate of the Old City.
In Bethlehem: dozens of protesters broke through a line of Palestinian police near the Rachel checkpoint assaulting Israeli police with rocks–until being dispersed by tear gas.
In Lebanon: Lebanese Armed Forces and police and UNIFIL forces patrolling the Israel-Lebanese border near the Beaufort Castle kept most Lebanese protesters away from the border. Nevertheless, “hundreds of protesters” made it to the Castle including approximately 200 foreign activists including rabbis from the anti-Zionist ultra-orthodox Jewish group Neturei Karta.
On the Jordan border: An estimated 15,000 protesters led by the Muslim Brotherhood and Neturei Karta (again) waved Palestinian flags and called for the liberation of Jerusalem.
In Damascus: a government sponsored demonstration mustered “thousands” of protesters who marked Land Day by waving Syrian flags and holding up pictures of Bashir Assad.
In Egypt: all protests were canceled due to Egypt’s “internal situation… and political tensions at the current time.”
One of the most fascinating aspects of Land Day events today has been the hilarious reportage and misreportage of the event by American news programs. For example, the Fox news reporter on the scene at Qalandiya actually did all he could to chase down a small cloud of tear gas so that he could cough, while a broadcaster in the Fox studio mischaracterized the protests as being over “Israel’s frontiers.”
But again the bottom line and good news is that the level of protest has been far less than had been predicted by the Israeli media. Of course, this could change as the evening and night wear on.