There was nothing "out of the ordinary" about Friday's annual Palestinian protest of Land Day, the Israeli Defense Forces [IDF] spokesman said, despite predictions that 2 million Palestinians and activists would swamp Israel's security forces. Many protests both in Israel and the territories were prevented or under attended, while international demonstrations drew few to the cause of "stopping the Judaization of Jerusalem."
The army was "satisfied" about its largely nonviolent reaction to the protests, as well as Palestinian-Israeli security cooperation in preventing the overwhelming spread of protests, said IDF Spokesman Yoav Mordechai. Only one violent protester was killed along the Gaza border, in comparison to 38 deaths that followed illegal infiltrations along the Syrian and Lebanese borders last year. The low turnout also thwarted attempts by Hamas and the Palestinian Authority to draw more demonstrators to officially sponsored rallies.
The event was also a major failure internationally. Jordanian protesters were stopped before they reached the border, and four American members of the anti-Zionist Jewish group Neturei Karta were beaten and verbally abused by some local participants. Lebanese protesters spoke out violently against Israel but did not provoke major reactions at the border, while the ongoing Syrian government crackdown prevented any serious actions there. A rally in Berlin drew around 50 protesters, and rallies in other European capitals and America failed to impress.
Israeli police have already begun to prepare for other upcoming protest days, including Nakba and Naksa days.