Published: Sun, April 15, 2018
Global Media | By Garry Long

Palestinians wounded at Gaza-Israel border protests

Palestinians wounded at Gaza-Israel border protests

On Friday, most demonstrators assembled in five tent camps located several hundred meters (yards) from the border fence.

Gaza's Health Ministry said more than 1,300 Palestinians were wounded by live fire in the past two weeks.

"Thirty protesters were injured, one of them critically, east of [the city of] Khan Yunis", ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra told Anadolu Agency.

The military spokesperson denied reports in Hebrew media that a mob of dozens of Palestinians had tried to breach the border between Israel and Gaza.

On Friday, hundreds flocked to one of five camps near Gaza City, stepping on a large Israeli flag laid out on the ground at the entrance.

On Friday, hundreds of Jordanians demonstrated in Amman in solidarity with Palestinians.

The IDF had deployed snipers and tanks along the border in readiness for another showdown with the Hamas-backed demonstrators.

Palestinian organizers have called the series of protests the "Great March of Return" beginning on Land Day, March 30, and continuing until May 15, the 70th anniversary of the "Nakba" - or the "catastrophe" - when 750,000 Palestinians were forced out of their homes and off their land by Israeli forces in 1948. Gaza has endured a border blockade by Israel and Egypt since Hamas overran the territory in 2007, a year after winning Palestinian parliament elections. The previous week there were an estimated 30,000 protesters.

The Palestinian authorities reported that 33 people have been martyred since the mass demonstration against Israeli occupation kicked off of March 30.

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Thousands of Palestinians are staging a protest across Gaza boundary together with Israel with a few burning Israeli flags, projecting stones and torching tires.

The health ministry said in an official press statement that Israeli soldiers stationed at the border are targeting with live ammunition and tear gas the paramedics and the medical clinics established in the tents that were erected close to the border between eastern Gaza Strip and Israel.

Israel accuses Hamas, the Islamist movement that runs Gaza and with whom it has fought three wars since 2008, of using the protests as cover to carry out violence.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, the European Union and others have called for an independent investigation into the deaths.

The Jewish state eventually claimed the man killed, Yasser Murtaja, was a paid member of Hamas, but produced no evidence.

The White House has called on Palestinians to engage in exclusively peaceful protests and stay at least 500 meters from Gaza's border with Israel. REUTERS/Mohammed SalemPalestinian demonstrators use a rope to remove part of the Israeli barbed wire during clashes with Israeli troops at a protest demanding the right to return to their homeland, at the Israel-Gaza border, east of Gaza City, April 13, 2018.

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.

The rallies began on March 30, when tens of thousands of Palestinians gathered at different points along the border to demand that they be allowed to return to their homes in historical Palestine. Israel and Egypt maintain a security blockade of Gaza.

Israel says it is doing what it must to defend its border, and to stop any of the protesters getting across the fence. However, Egypt opened the border on Thursday and it is due to stay open over the weekend.

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