Amid the ongoing Israeli assault on Gaza, the West Bank has risen.
Tens of thousands of Palestinians marched with President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah movement from the West Bank city of Ramallah toward Jerusalem to protest Israel’s war on Hamas in Gaza, which has claimed the lives of nearly 800 Palestinians, many of them civilians.
The protest appears to be the largest mass demonstration since the 1980s. The uprising promises to be different from previous intifadas, partly because it comes in the wake of the Arab Spring, Occupy Wall Street and other mass protest movements around the globe. But the way in which the world engages with protest has also evolved, due to the advent of Twitter and cell phone video, which can focus attention on raw conflict in a way that bypasses the mainstream media. Today’s march is being live tweeted at the hashtag #48kMarch.
Reuters reported that protests also broke out in Jerusalem itself, near the old walled city and outside the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Haaretz reported that several protesters have already been killed by Israeli military forces. Reuters quoted hospital officials saying one person had been killed and three others were in critical condition and on life support. Some 200 protesters were injured, a hospital doctor told the news service.
Heather Hurlburt, a national security fellow at Human Rights First, said that Palestinian civil society and non-violence activists have been talking about massive, peaceful marches as a protest tactic since the Arab Spring in 2011. “No one in Israel or the West has much excuse to be surprised or unprepared for this tactic. They’ve had years to think about how to handle it peacefully,” Hurlburt told HuffPost.
Israel captured the West Bank, along with Gaza, during a 1967 war.