It was the first coordinated, simultaneous, united (though under different leaderships) attempt by Palestinian refugees to return to the land of their origin (if not birth, as up to three generations have been now born outside, in the worldwide diaspora since 1947-48).
In the West Bank, the May 15 Qalandia checkpoint event was planned as non-violent.
The coalition of Manara (Ramallah’s Central Square) + Mar15 youth groups insisted on that, and appealed to the Qalandia youth not to throw stones in order to avoid provoking a forceful IDF response.
Qalandia on a good day – the photo that needs no caption
taken on 4 May by Tamar Fleishman of Machsom Watch:
In the hours ahead of the planned 11 am start of the event, IDF troops and Border Police units and special forces arrived at the checkpoint. One group of about 12-15 soldiers wearing olive green uniforms moved out of the staging area and lined up along the entrance on the Jerusalem side of Qalandia as cars were passing by. They all pointed the barrels of their black automatic rifle-sized weapons up to the sky, and in unison they cocked the triggers several times, in a group ritual that was also an intimidating display.
Plenty of IDF troops on the scene at Qalandiya checkpoint were armed with weapons that could only use live bullets — but reports of the use of live ammunition, or of any injuries resulting from live ammunition, remained unconfirmed.
In any case, the stone-throwing started within an hour of the start of the demonstration…
Demonstrators say the tear-gassing began first.
Photos posted by Sawt al-Manara on Facebook
the start of Nakba Day demonstration at Qalandia
Fadi Quran, one of leaders of Manara youth coalition, in black beret:
Israeli activist Joseph Dana said at a press briefing on IMEU’s Blogtalk radio on Tuesday afternoon that the Israeli military “immediately opened fire with tear gas”, and noted that “there was a solid hour, or hour-and-a-half, at the start of the demonstration when not a single stone was thrown, yet there were dozens of injuries caused to demonstrators [by the IDF]”…
The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights [PCHR], based in Gaza, reported Monday that “The demonstrators threw stones and empty bottles towards Israeli soldiers, who had been heavily deployed near the checkpoint beginning in the early morning. Israeli forces immediately fired rubber-coated metal bullets, sound bombs and tear gas canisters at the demonstrators”…
The truth is that almost nobody had a complete view of everything that happened.
Continue reading Nakba Day demonstration at Qalandia did not end as planned