20 Injured as Israeli Forces, Protesters Clash
Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza Strip joined with Israeli Arabs on Thursday to demonstrate on Land Day, the annual protest of Israel’s confiscation of Arab land. At least 20 people were injured in clashes with Israeli police and soldiers.
The most violent confrontation was in the Israeli Arab town of Sakhnin, where police said about 400 demonstrators broke through a fence at an Israeli army base. Police fired rubber-coated pellets at demonstrators, wounding 15.
The director of the Sakhnin medical center, Dr. Ali Naji, said 12 people were slightly wounded. Two had head wounds; one had a broken leg.
Five Palestinians were wounded in demonstrations in the West Bank and Gaza. In the traditionally Arab eastern section of Jerusalem, about 400 Palestinians marched peacefully, protesting Jewish settlement expansion in the West Bank and demolition of Arab houses.
Land Day commemorates the 1976 killings of six Israeli Arabs during a protest against land expropriations. Observance was confined at first to Israeli Arabs, but in recent years, Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza have joined in.
A survey released to coincide with Land Day showed that Israeli Arabs are six times more likely to identify themselves as Palestinians or Palestinians who live in Israel than as Israeli Arabs.