A march organized by non-violent coordinating committees across the West Bank focused on solidarity with Gaza led to a clash with Israeli police at the Qalandia checkpoint Thursday evening.The protesters chanted “Gaza is our star in the sky”, referring to the fact that Palestinians in the West Bank are forbidden from traveling to Gaza, since it would require them traveling through Israeli-controlled territory, and Israel has laws preventing Palestinians from travelling.
The march to the holy city of Jerusalem began after evening prayers and the breaking of the Ramadan fast on Thursday.
Thousands of protesters filled the streets west of Ramallah and began marching toward Jerusalem. They were stopped at Qalandia, which is a major checkpoint created by Israel that resembles a border crossing, and separates Palestinians in the West Bank from the city of Jerusalem.
Eyewitnesses have reported seeing at least four Israeli snipers on rooftops, and there are reports of live ammunition being used against the demonstrators.
Protesters set off fireworks, and also set tires on fire next to the checkpoint.
There are reports of a number of injuries, but the exact number is unknown at this point.
Israeli forces who control all movement in the West Bank have put in place a full closure since the Israeli attack on Gaza began on July 8th, preventing Palestinians from accessing Jerusalem, including preventing access to the Al Aqsa mosque for Friday prayers during the holy month of Ramadan, which began on June 28th and goes until July 24th this year.
At the beginning of the Israeli offensive in Gaza, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu made a statement that Israel “will make the month of Ramadan a month of darkness and pain for the people of Gaza.”