Palestinian Protest
Turns Violent

Activists throw rocks, firebombs during ‘peaceful’ protests

March 30, 2012

Pro-Palestinian activists involved in the Global March on Jerusalem (GMJ) criticized Israel on Twitter Friday after violent protests along Israel’s borders forced the deployment of tear gas and resulted in injuries—but downplayed the fact that rocks and firebombs had been thrown by protesters to instigate the clashes.

Pictures and videos from the protest—which aims to "end the Apartheid, ethnic cleansing and Judaisation policies affecting the people, land and sanctity of Jerusalem"—reveal that self-described "peaceful" protestors have been throwing firebombs and rocks at Israeli border police.

Twitter user Captain Barak Raz, who identifies himself as a spokesperson for the Israeli Defense Force’s division in the West Bank, posted a video of protesters throwing a firebomb at Israeli security forces.

"Firebombs on security forces peaceful protest???," Raz tweeted when linking to the video. "#Yeahright."

Raz also posted a picture of what appears to be a Palestinian child casting a stone in a photographer’s direction.

"Wow that's one young rioter!!" Raz tweeted. "Peaceful??"

The IDF’s official Twitter account condemned the child’s violence.

"This is how Palestinian rioters educate their children to terror," one tweet on the feed read.

Others in the area have reported unsubstantiated claims that more than 100 injuries have been sustained in the heavily-Arab area of Qalandia.

Photos purporting to show injured Palestinians have also been broadcast across Twitter, though the context behind such images remains unclear.

"Palestinian directly hit in the face by a tear gas grenade," wrote Jenny Baboun, who identifies herself as a translator for the Gaza Strip’s Ma’an News Agency.

Baboun also disseminated pictures that appear to show activists hanging a Palestinian flag by Israeli guard towers and other uncertain scenes of chaos.

Supporters of the march also celebrated activists as they attempted to penetrate Israel’s sovereign borders by violent means.

"We're currently in Erez right in front of the wall," tweeted one activist, referring to the Erez border crossing near Gaza. "Protesters burning tires and throwing stones."

The 'peaceful' protesters were also caught gathering rocks.

The protester, who referred to Israeli security guards as "Zionist fuckers," also noted that activists were attempting to disassemble a metal fence near the crossing.

"1 other injury. People are falling here like flies," added the activist. "Yes, [IDF] fuckers are enjoying themselves. Blood everywhere."

Protestors covered a wide area, demonstrating throughout the territories surrounding Israel.

"Demonstrations and protests in 17 locations," tweeted Fadi Quran, who linked to a map displaying the areas where marches are taking place. "Palestinians from all over participated."

Middle East experts decried the one-sided lambasting of Israeli security forces.

"GMJ uses the same PR tactic that has become standard for all the terrorist groups who attack Israel. They want to put the Israelis in a situation where they have to kill people," said Noah Pollak, executive director of the Emergency Committee for Israel. "Hamas, Hezbollah, GMJ—it's all the same strategy: force the IDF to kill people, get it on video, kick back and enjoy the media furor."

Hadar Sela, a Middle East writer and researcher, said, "The whole project was to create a PR disaster for Israel."

"It comes as no surprise to see [Global March to Jerusalem] organizers and activists trying to get their pre-determined message out to the media by use of spin, even though that message has absolutely no foundation in the reality of the events which they initiated today," Sela said.

Meanwhile, Palestinian political leader Moustafa Barghouti is said to be in stable condition after being struck in the face by a tear gas canister as he incited a mob to riot.

Updated reports suggest Barghouti may have been injured during a brawl that broke out among the Palestinian protesters.

Barghouti, recently a guest at J Street’s 2012 conference, was reported by an IDF spokesperson to have been injured while enflaming the protestors.

Heading into the event, GMJ organizers referred to Israelis as Nazis and claimed that they are "ready for martyrdom."

"Israel has gone crazy, and they are acting no different than Nazi's. Our response to them is a response of bravery," Firouz Mitiborwala, a GMJ-backer, told the Iranian-controlled Fars News Agency. "We are ready for martyrdom for our Palestinian brothers."

Other anti-Israel activists are reported by Fars to have cut their chops aboard a Gaza freedom flotilla that attempted to penetrate Israeli waters in 2010. Activists aboard that ship attacked Israeli security personnel, leading to several injuries and deaths.

The protest movement has also been bolstered by several high profile endorsements from world leaders and Nobel laureates, including anti-apartheid activist Desmond Tutu, radical professors Noam Chomsky and Cornell West, Nobel peace laureate Mairead Maguire, and the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, who served for nearly 20 years as President Obama’s spiritual leader.

Other prominent backers of the movement are longtime supporters of President Obama.

United Nations official Richard Falk, for instance, donated to Obama’s presidential campaign in 2008. So did Stanford University Professor Claybrone Carson and Marcy Winograd, a member of California’s Green Party.

Published under: Israel , Middle East