Wednesday, 16 January, 2019

Palestinians demonstrate in Gaza on third Great March of Return

Palestinians demonstrate in Gaza on third Great March of Return Palestinians demonstrate in Gaza on third Great March of Return
Steven Clarke | 14 April, 2018, 10:26

One Palestinian protester was killed and 233 injured from live fire by Israeli forces on Friday during ongoing protests along the Gaza border with Israel, the Gaza Health Ministry reported. Some in the crowd threw firebombs and an explosive device and tried to cross into Israel, according to the Israeli military.

The protests, dubbed "The March of Return", have resulted in confrontations between Palestinians and Israeli troops.

Demonstrators demand that Palestinian refugees be granted the "right of return" to their towns and villages in historical Palestine from which they were driven in 1948 to make way for the new state of Israel. Palestinians call that day "Al-Nakba", Arabic for "the catastrophe".

The five representatives issued a statement urging Palestinians to demonstrate nonviolently and Israeli soldiers "to refrain from shooting live ammunition at unarmed Palestinian protesters from hundreds of meters away, across the fence separating the two territories". But Palestinians say protesters are being shot while posing no threat to soldiers, and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and the European Union have called for an independent investigation. This would not have been possible if the organization were linked in any way to Hamas, which the USA and Israel proscribe as a "terrorist" group.

Gaza has endured a border blockade by Israel and Egypt since Hamas overran the territory in 2007, a year after winning Palestinian parliament elections.

Israel has accused Gaza's Islamic militant Hamas rulers of using the protests as a cover for attacks and says snipers only target the main "instigators".

Palestinians were streaming to tent camps along Gaza's border with Israel for the third of what are planned to be weekly mass protests until mid-May.

An elderly Palestinian man walks over a large Israeli flag at one of the protest camps along Gaza's borderline with Israel
An elderly Palestinian man walks over a large Israeli flag at one of the protest camps along Gaza's borderline with Israel

Palestinians are streaming to tent camps along Gaza's border with Israel for the third of what are to be weekly mass protests until mid-May. At the entrance, organisers had laid a large Israeli flag on the ground for protesters to step on.

Some 363 have been injured according to the Palestinian Health ministry, including from the inhalation of gas.

An Israeli foreign ministry spokesman tweeted, "Israel will continue to defend its borders and its citizens".

Conricus told The Associated Press that the army is trying to "minimize" Palestinian casualties, but that open-fire regulations have not changed. Furthermore, the shooting of unarmed civilians constitutes a violation not only of Israel's own standing orders, but of worldwide humanitarian law.

The Israeli military also displayed a video footage in which the frontier fence is seen being cut and breached during the recent clashes.

The five ex-snipers in the statement were identified by name.

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