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Land Day tree planters tear gassed by Israeli forces

March 30, 2010 5:18 P.M. (Updated: March 31, 2010 11:58 A.M.)
Ramallah – Ma'an – An event marking Palestinian Land Day in Budrus village was suppressed by Israeli forces on Tuesday, with reports of several injured by tear gas and rubber bullets.

Na’im Marar,charged with monitoring the progress of Israel's separation wall in the west-of-Ramallah area, said locals and activists gathered in the village after the noon prayer and walked toward lands on the far side of the separation wall. Participants were set to plant trees in the area, Marar said.

Among those injured was Tawfiq At-Tirawi, member of the Fatah Central Committee, who attended the event alongside his Central Committee colleague Jamal Muheisin, former Nablus governor.

According to Marar, At-Tirawi was hit with a rubber-coated bullet, adding that Palestine TV reporter Harun Amayra sustained injuries to his leg from the fire.

A statement from the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee estimated 300 Palestinians participated in the tree planting, and noted three were injured.

"During a violent and illegal riot, 60 Palestinian rioters began hurling rocks toward security forces. The forces responded with riot dispersal means," an Israeli military spokesman said in response to questions about the incident.

Palestinian citizens of Israel mark Land Day

Thousands of Palestinians and supporters gathered in the northern Israeli town of Sakhnin on to commemorate Land Day, as mosques and churches called out to their faithful to participate in the events, Israeli daily news site Ynet reported.

"Land Day has long ceased to be a day of ashes – it expresses the battle for existence and life," the Israeli daily quoted Hadash Chairman MK Mohammad Barakeh as saying at the event.

The site also quoted Israeli MK Ahmad Tibi as stressing the land issue as the central source of dispute between Palestinians and Israel:

"The general atmosphere, the feeling of despoilment, and the master-slave attitude towards the Arab citizen existed in '76 and still exist profusely today. In the past there was regional dialogue and more elements of apathy. Then there were a few scattered racists in the street, whereas today they are deputy prime ministers and ministers," he said.
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