As Purim approaches, thousands of Israeli children and families grapple with poverty
Attempts by rioters throwing rocks at Israel Defense Force soldiers to conduct a ‘Global March to Jerusalem’ have, for the most part, been thwarted by Israeli authorities, who have maintained secure national borders and checkpoints inside the country on ‘Land Day’.
Organizers intended for a million Arabs from Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Egypt to infiltrate Israel’s borders and Palestinian Authority and Israeli Arabs to riot against Israeli army and law enforcement officers, with a goal of overcoming the obstacles to reach Jerusalem.
Beefed up security forces deployed on Israel’s borders and in sensitive locations throughout the country remain on high alert, as news outlets from around the Arab world report that demonstrators are continuing to amass on Israel’s borders. Reports emanating from Jordan state that almost 20,000 people have gathered in order to converge on the Israeli border. Lebanese newspapers report that over 100 buses will be transporting Lebanese and Palestinian demonstrators to the Lebanese border.
More than a dozen Arabs have been arrested for throwing rocks at police near the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem’s old city (video by IDF Spokesperson’s Office).
AFP reported that more than 15,000 demonstrators in Jordan, waving Jordanian and Palestinian flags and carrying banners reading “Freedom for Jerusalem and freedom for Palestine,” and “Jerusalem, here we come,” joined in a peaceful sit-in at Kafrein, six miles from the border with Israel on Friday. Among them were opposition Islamist leaders and trade unionists,
“We will not forget you Jerusalem. Down with the Wadi Araba agreement,” they chanted, referring to the 1994 peace treaty between Jordan and Israel.
At the Kalandia checkpoint, north of Jerusalem, clashes began at around 12:30, after mosque Friday prayers. Dozens of young Palestinians threw stones at security forces manning the checkpoint.
Soldiers utilized the “screamer,” which transmitts very high frequency sound to keep the rioters, and the “skunk,” which showered protesters with a liquid reminiscent of a stink-bomb.
A Hamas member of the Palestinian parliament, Ahmed Atun, who was expelled from Jerusalem a few months ago, received a light head injury and required treatment.
According to a report by Ynet, Palestinian politician Mustafa Barghouti was injured by a tear gas canister that struck him in the head, and was taken to a hospital in Ramallah for treatment.
The PLO Executive Committee has encouraged the protests, saying they are necessary “to affirm the Arab and Palestinian character of Jerusalem.”
The committee insisted that the only solution to the conflict would be the establishment of Jerusalem as the eternal capital of an independent Palestine.
“The land was and remains the essence of the conflict,” the committee continued. “Our people’s main battle is over the land.”
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