Israeli Arabs Mark Palestinian Land Day; Police Fear It Might Become Violent
More than 2000 Israeli Arabs took part in a protest march in the village of Kfar Kana, in the Galilee on Saturday. The demonstrators carried posters and signs denouncing the government and the confiscation of Arab lands.
Israel’s Public Security Minister Uzi Landau ordered the police Saturday to let Israeli Arabs hold demonstrations in commemoration of Palestinian Land Day, Israel Radio reported.
Landau told the police not to intervene unless the protests got out of hand. Police units were out in force in anticipation of widespread Israeli Arab demonstrations across Israel.
Senior police officials expressed fears that in light of the Israeli operations in the West Bank, the Land Day demonstrations inside Israel might become violent. Following the October 2000 events, in which 13 Israeli Arabs were killed, the police changed its policy regarding Land Day.
Last year, at least five Palestinians were reported killed in clashes with Israelis as Palestinians marked "Land Day," commemorating the deaths of six Arabs 26 years ago while protesting land confiscations in northern Israel.
Police officials said that special units had been established and trained to deal with widespread riots. They said that several of the policy changes had already been implemented during last year's Land Day, which was relatively quiet.
According to Haaretz, Israeli police have set up command posts in the north and south of the country, which will be under the jurisdiction of the district commanders.
Meanwhile, Israeli police on Friday stormed into the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, throwing stun grenades at Palestinian rock-throwers who were there.
Israel said that after Friday prayers at the Al Aqsa Mosque, Palestinian youths started throwing rocks at Israeli police posted at a gate just outside, and at Jewish worshippers.
Police stormed into the open area outside the mosque and threw stun grenades, according to a police announcement. Some 2,500 worshippers arrived at the mosque on Friday. (Albawaba.com)
© 2002 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)