Palestinians mark 70 years since the ethnic cleansing of their homeland during the creation of Israel.
The Israeli military has conducted overnight air strikes on the Gaza Strip’s northern areas, claiming it was targeting Hamas positions.
The development comes after the Israeli army shot dead 62 Palestinians protesting near the fence with Israel to call for their right of return.
Palestinians were marking 70 years since the Nakba, or Catastrophe, the day on which the state of Israel was established on May 15, 1948 in a violent ethnic cleansing campaign.
Throughout the past seven weeks, Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have been protesting as part of a weeks-long movement calling for the right of return for Palestinian refugees to the homes and villages they were forcibly expelled from by Zionist militias in 1948.
Since the protests began on March 30, Israeli forces have killed at least 111 Palestinians in the coastal enclave and wounded about 12,000 people.
Latest updates as of Tuesday, May 17:
Israel targets ‘Hamas positions’ in overnight air raids
The Israeli military has said that it launched overnight air strikes on Hamas “infrastructure in a military compounds” and “weapons production” facilities in the north of the besieged enclave.
The army alleged the “strikes were conducted in response to the heavy machine gun fire that targeted the city of Sderot” in the south.
While Hamas has not officially responded to the attacks, a security official from the movement told Anadolu Angency that several of its positions had been targeted.
The ministry of health in the Gaza Strip said no one had been injured in the attacks.
Palestinians withdraw envoy to US
The Palestinian envoy to Washington has been recalled to Ramallah in protest over the US relocating its embassy to Jerusalem.
Husam Zomlot was instructed to return by President Mahmoud Abbas, the foreign ministry announced in a statement.
It did not say how long Zomlot would be withdrawn for.
Riad Malki, foreign minister, said “When they [the US] opened their embassy in Jerusalem there was a need for a decision from our side and this was our decision.”
Clashes and arrests near Jerusalem’s Damascus Gate
Israeli border police forces and Palestinian protesters clashed near Jerusalem‘s Damascus Gate.
Many protesters were removed from the plaza, and others were arrested in the nearby area.
Demonstrators had gathered at the square outside the gate as part of Nakba Day protests.
“The Palestinians have been living here, I was born here, my father, my grandfather, my great great grandfather, I have no other place to go, I don’t even have a passport to go anywhere else,” said Mujid Keluti, a Jerusalem resident.
|Protesters gathered outside the Damascus Gate as part of Nakba day protests [Ammar Awad/Reuters]|
Netanyahu, Erdogan in Twitter spat as Israel, Turkey expel envoys
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu exchanged heated words on Twitter over Israel’s killing of Palestinian protesters in the Gaza Strip.
Netanyahu, in a Twitter post, said Erdogan “well understands terrorism and slaughter” because of his support for Hamas, a day after the Turkish leader accused Israel of “state terror” and “genocide”.
Erdogan is among Hamas’s biggest supporters and there is no doubt that he well understands terrorism and slaughter. I suggest that he not preach morality to us
— Benjamin Netanyahu (@netanyahu) May 15, 2018
Erdogan tweeted back that Netanyahu was the leader of “an apartheid state that has occupied a defenseless people’s lands for 60 years in violation of UN resolutions”, adding that he was criticising Turkey to deflect attention.
“Want a lesson in humanity? Read the 10 commandments”.
Netanyahu is the PM of an apartheid state that has occupied a defenseless people’s lands for 60 yrs in violation of UN resolutions.
He has the blood of Palestinians on his hands and can’t cover up crimes by attacking Turkey.
Want a lesson in humanity? Read the 10 commandments.
— Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (@RT_Erdogan) May 15, 2018
The row came as the two countries expelled each other’s senior diplomats.
Earlier in the day, Turkey told Israel’s ambassador to temporarily leave the country, prompting Israel to order the Turkish consul in Jerusalem to leave for an unspecified period of time, according to the Israeli foreign ministry.
The dispute appears to mark the worst diplomatic crisis between the two regional powers since Israeli marines stormed an aid ship to enforce a naval blockade of Gaza in 2010, killing 10 Turkish activists and prompting a downgrade in diplomatic ties that lasted until 2016.
Hamas leader vows to keep demanding right of return
Marking the 70th anniversary of Nakba, or the catastrophe, Hamas’ leader Ismail Haniyeh visited protesters east of Gaza City, vowing to continue weeks of protests along Israel’s border.
“Our message today is the Return March and siege-breaking is going on and that the massacre, the Israeli occupation committed against our revolting and returning youths will only increase our steadfastness, determination and sticking to the right of return,” said Haniyeh.
“We are coming to tell the whole world: no to the deal of the century and no to the moving of the embassy to Jerusalem and Jerusalem is our eternal capital, the capital of Palestinian state and Jerusalem’s identity will not be changed by a resolution from Trump nor Netanyahu.”
Second Palestinian killed by Israeli fire
A second Palestinian was killed by Israeli gunfire on Tuesday, the Ministry of Health announced, a day after the Israeli army killed 60 people – the highest death toll in years.
The ministry said the man, who was not named, was killed east of Bureij in central Gaza.
Tuesday’s protests were far smaller than the previous day’s.
|A second Palestinian was killed by Israeli gunfire on Tuesday [Adel Hana/AP]|
Palestinian right of return ‘means Israel’s destruction’
Danny Danon, Israel’s ambassador to the UN, has described the longstanding Palestinian demand for the right of return of refugees who fled their homes during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war as a call to destroy Israel.
“Let me be very clear,” Danon told an emergency session of the UN Security Council. “When the Palestinians say right of return, they mean destruction of Israel.”
He also accused Hamas of using a strategy of “orchestrated riots” and “planned casualties” to seek international sympathy.
Hamas activists were using civilians as human shields in the ongoing protests along Gaza’s border with Israel, in an attempt to breach the fence and stage attacks on Israel, he added.
Palestinian envoy lambasts UN failure to act over Gaza unrest
Riyad Mansour, Palestine’s envoy to the United Nations, accused Israel of committing “war crimes” against Palestinian protesters in the Gaza Strip and slammed what he said was the UN Security Council’s failure to hold Israel accountable.
“For the past eight weeks, we have begged you to prevent another massacre by Israel, the occupier,” he told an emergency session of the UN Security Council.
“Is it possible that you did not hear our calls? Is it possible that you did not take our warnings seriously?”
Calling for a transparent and investigation into the killings along the Israel-Gaza border, he said: “Let us investigate what is happening on the ground. We will accept the outcome of such an investigation.”
Arab League calls on ICC to investigate ‘Israeli crimes’
The Arab League’s Permanent Committee on Human Rights called on the International Criminal Court prosecutor to urgently investigate “the crimes of the Israeli occupation” against Palestinians.
“Israel is an oppressive and murderous entity, and its politicians and officers must be taken to the International Criminal Court,” Amjad Shamout, the committee’s chairman, said in a statement.
Arab League chief Ahmed Abul Gheit condemned the “massacres” of Palestinians, which he said resemble “war crimes”.
In a statement, he called on the international community to “protect the Palestinian people, who have chosen the path of peaceful struggle and have been confronted with brutality, violence and murder”.
ICC prosecutor vows to ‘take any action warranted’ over Gaza unrest
The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court said she was watching closely the unrest in Gaza, and would “take any action warranted” to prosecute crimes.
“My staff is vigilantly following developments on the ground and recording any alleged crime that could fall within” the tribunal’s jurisdiction, she warned in a statement to AFP news agency.
“The violence must stop,” she added.
US ambassador says Israel acted with ‘restraint’
US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley tells the Security Council, “no country in this chamber would act with more restraint than Israel has”.
She said Hamas had been documented by news media as inciting Palestinians to storm the Gaza border.
“The Hamas terrorist organisation has been inciting violence for years, long before the United States decided to move our embassy,” says Haley.
“This is how determined they are to make the lives of the Palestinian people miserable … Make no mistake. Hamas is pleased with the results from yesterday.”
UN Middle East Envoy urges quick action to ‘prevent war’
Nikolay Mladenov, UN’s special coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, has called on the international community to act quickly and effectively to end the “senseless violence” in the Gaza Strip.
“For it to end, it needs every one of us to put in their best effort into preventing an explosion that can drag the whole region into another deadly confrontation,” he told an emergency session of the UN Security Council.
“The international community must step in and prevent war”, he said.
He called on Israel and Hamas to exercise restraint and to avoid any further escalation, while also urging Israel to investigate any incident that led to the loss of lives.
Belgium summons Israeli envoy, calls for Gaza inquiry
Belgium demanded a UN inquiry into the violence in Gaza and summoned Israel’s ambassador to the foreign ministry after she described all the Palestinian victims as “terrorists”.
Belgium’s foreign ministry said it summoned ambassador Simona Frankel over her remarks while Prime Minister Charles Michel said: “We call for an international inquiry led by the United Nations.”
France says Middle East is ‘explosive’, ‘war could loom’
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian described the situation in the Middle East as “explosive” and criticised the United States for unilateral acts in the region.
“The situation in the Middle East is explosive, violence is doing the talking, war could loom,” he told lawmakers in parliament.
Israeli troops kill Palestinian near Gaza border
Israeli forces killed a Palestinian near the Gaza border on Tuesday, local health officials said.
The 51-year-old man was fatally shot along the frontier in the central Gaza Strip after thousands of Palestinians took part in funerals for Monday’s dead.
Palestinian protesters turned out in smaller numbers than on Monday, when dozens were killed by Israeli gunfire.
UN Security Council debates Israel’s Gaza killings
The UN Security Council is holding an emergency session in New York to discuss violence along the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip.
The meeting began with a minute of silence for the more than 60 people who were killed in Monday’s protests.
Speaking before the meeting, Danny Danon, Israeli ambassador to the UN, accused Hamas of attempting to breach the border fence by organising violent protests along the Israel-Gaza border and defended Israel’s right to security.
He also accused Hamas of committing ‘war crimes’ against Palestinian and Israeli civilians.
Turkey expels Israeli ambassador for ‘some time’
Turkey’s official news agency says the country has asked Israel’s ambassador to temporarily leave Turkey.
Anadolu news agency said Tuesday the Turkish foreign ministry notified Eitan Na’eh, the Israeli ambassador that “it would be appropriate for him to return to his country for some time”.
The ministry summoned the ambassador to protest Israel’s use of deadly force on Palestinians and the U.S. decision to relocate its embassy there to contested Jerusalem.
Turkey has also called home its ambassadors to Washington and Tel Aviv for consultations.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called on residents across the occupied West Bank to hold a general strike on Tuesday in honour of those killed in the Gaza Strip on Monday.
Schools, universities, banks, and private and public businesses are closed as part of the strike, which comes as Palestinians commemorate 70 years since the Nakba – or the “catastrophe” – when the state of Israel was created, and hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were forced from their towns and villages.
Baby dies of tear gas inhalation east of the Gaza Strip
Laila Anwar al-Ghandour, an eight-month-old baby, died of tear gas inhalation at dawn on Tuesday, according to Gaza’s ministry of health.
On Tuesday morning, 30-year-old Omar Jumaa Abu Foul succumbed to his wounds from Monday’s protests, raising the death toll to 60.
|[Photo courtesy of Mahmoud Hamda]|
Britain, Germany, back independent probe into Gaza killings
The United Kingdom on Tuesday called for an independent investigation into the violence at the Gaza border with Israel after the United States blocked a United Nations Security Council statement calling for a probe.
Germany also announced its support for an independent inquiry into the deadly violence.
“It is our view that an independent investigation commission can clarify the violent incidents and the bloody violations at the border area,” said government spokesman Steffan Seibert.
Monday, May 14:
At least 58 Palestinians were killed on Monday in Gaza and more than 2,700 others wounded as the Israeli army fired live ammunition, tear gas and firebombs at protesters assembled along several points near the fence with Israel.
The demonstrations coincided with protests against the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem.
Erdogan accuses Israel of ‘genocide’ over Gaza deaths
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has accused Israel of “state terror” and “genocide”, according to state-run Anadolu agency, as Ankara announced three days of national mourning over the killing of scores of Palestinians in Gaza.
“Israel is wreaking state terror. Israel is a terror state,” Erdogan told Turkish students during a visit in Britain’s capital, London.
“What Israel has done is a genocide. I condemn this humanitarian drama, the genocide, from whichever side it comes, Israel or America,” he added.
Thousands had earlier marched through central Istanbul to denounce the bloodshed as the US moved its Israel embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in defiance of widespread outrage in the Islamic world.
|Thousands of Turks march through central Istanbul to denounce the relocation of the US embassy to Jerusalem [Faisal Edroos/Al Jazeera]|
US blames Hamas for Gaza violence
White House spokesman Raj Shah has accused Hamas’ leaders of making a “gruesome and unfortunate propaganda attempt” after the killing of at least 55 Palestinian protesters by Israeli forces.
Speaking to reporters at a White House briefing, Shah also declined to join with other countries – including France and Britain – in calling for Israel to exercise restraint in its response to the demonstrations.
The White House instead reiterated the Trump administration’s refrain that Israel had a right to defend itself.
“The responsibility for these tragic deaths rests squarely with Hamas,” Shah said. “Hamas is intentionally and cynically provoking this response.”
Turkey recalls ambassadors to Tel Aviv, Washington
Ankara has recalled its ambassadors to Tel Aviv and Washington for consultations, according to Turkish Deputy Prime Minister and government spokesman Bekir Bozdag.
Turkey also called for an emergency meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) this week, said Bozdag, hoping it will be held on Friday.
Ankara: US shares blame for ‘Gaza massacre’
Turkey has accused the United States of sharing responsibility with Israel for a “vile massacre” along the Gaza border.
“The United States, unfortunately, took its place without complaint alongside the Israeli government in this massacre of civilians and became a party to this crime against humanity,” Prime Minister Binali Yildirim told reporters in Ankara.
“This is a vile massacre, and we condemn it strongly,” he added.
Yildirim said the events were “incompatible” with the US acting as a mediator or protector of world peace.
UN HR High Commissioner: ‘Israeli live fire in Gaza must stop’
Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the UN high commissioner for human rights, says Israeli live fire killing dozens and wounding hundreds in Gaza must stop immediately.
He also calls on the international community to bring those responsible to justice.
“Shocking killing of dozens, injury of hundreds by Israeli live fire in #Gaza must stop now. The right to life must be respected. Those responsible for outrageous human rights violations must be held to account. The int’l community needs to ensure justice for victims” – #Zeid. pic.twitter.com/hBb7825Sp8
UN Human Rights (@UNHumanRights) May 14, 2018
Death toll reaches 55
Palestinian health officials say 55 people have been killed and more than 2,770 others have been wounded so far.
This brings the total death toll since the beginning of the weeks-long protests to 104.
|Palestinian mourners gather around the body of a man who was killed by Israeli forces on the Gaza border [AFP].|
‘An incredible amount of live fire’
Al Jazeera’s Stefanie Dekker, reporting from Gaza City, describes witnessing “extraordinary scenes” at the protests along the fence with Israel.
“There was an incredible amount of live fire; it explains the high death toll and the more than 2,000 injured.
“There was tear gas raining down on people and people being shot at, people who were peacefully protesting at the border.”
|At least 55 Palestinians have been killed, and more than 2770 have been injured [AFP].|
Dekker says hospitals in the Gaza Strip have now reached “breaking point” as medical staff struggle to treat the thousands wounded during the demonstrations.
“Yes the boys, the young men, will tell you that they throw Molotov cocktails and rocks [at the Israeli forces], but they say that is their legitimate right in terms of a resistance to the Israeli occupation.”
“The factions here have all come together to issue a statement saying they all hold Israel responsible for the high death toll,” she added.
France condemns ‘violence in Gaza’
The French presidency has condemned “the violence” in Gaza after the killing of 52 Palestinian protesters by Israeli forces.
President Emmanuel Macron “will speak to all the actors in the region in the coming days”, his office said in a statement.
Kuwait requests emergency Security Council meeting
Kuwait has requested an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council on Tuesday, according to the country’s mission to the world body.
“We condemned what has happened,” Ambassador Mansour al-Otaibi told journalists.
Kuwait is a non-permanent council member.
Netanyahu responds to criticisms over Gaza
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has responded on Twitter to criticism over the Israeli army’s conduct in Gaza, saying it acted in self-defence by firing at protesters.
“The Hamas terrorist organisation declares it intends to destroy Israel and send thousands to breach the border fence in order to achieve this goal,” Netanyahu wrote.
“We will continue to act with determination to protect our sovereignty and citizens.”
South Africa recalls ambassador to Israel
The South African government has condemned the actions of the Israeli armed forces near the fortified fence in Gaza.
In a statement released on Monday, the Department of International Relations (Dirco) says: “The latest attack has resulted in scores of other Palestinian citizens reported injured, and the wanton destruction of property.”
“Given the indiscriminate and gravity of the latest Israeli attack, the South African government has taken a decision to recall Ambassador Sisa Ngombane with immediate effect until further notice.”
Israeli drone targets journalists
An Israeli drone with a tear gas canister has targeted a group of journalists in Gaza , including an Al Jazeera TV crew.
Al Jazeera correspondent Hoda Abdel-Hamid was standing in a media row with several other reporters when she was hit by the tear gas canister.
Abdel-Hamid has been sent to hospital to be treated for the after-effects of the tear gas.
Palestinian President Abbas condemns Israeli actions
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has described the events in Gaza as “one of the most ferocious days” during a press conference.
He also told a press conference that the move of the US embassy to Jerusalem was an assault on the sovereignty of the Palestinian people.
“On this day, the Israeli massacres against our people continue in the Gaza Strip as well as the West Bank. Today is one of the most ferocious days that our people have witnessed,” said Abbas.
“As we speak, about 52 Palestinians have been killed, a number which is likely to increase. This is an indication of the level of Israeli brutality.”
|Abbas addresses the Palestinian leadership in the West Bank city of Ramallah [AFP]|
“Today Israel is celebrating the opening of the US embassy. They allege that the occupied land of Jerusalem is the land of their forefathers. That is a falsification of history.
“Palestinians have been living continuously on this land. Our people will not give up their peaceful demonstrations until we reach victory with Jerusalem as our capital.
“By this move [of the embassy] the US has excluded itself from the peace process in the Middle East. It can no longer act as mediator, and its role will no longer be valid.”
Call for emergency Security Council meeting
Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian Authority’s UN ambassador, has condemned Israeli strikes on unarmed Palestinians in Gaza.
Speaking at a press conference in New York, Mansour described Washington’s decision to open its embassy in Jerusalem as “very tragic”.
“We will use all of our available rights in the security council to see it shouldering its responsibility to condemn this massacre and bring those responsible to justice,” said Mansour.
“Very tragic that they (America) are celebrating illegal action while Israel is injuring and killing thousands of Palestinians.
“Tragic day for Palestinians and shame on those who ignore the pain and suffering of the Palestinian people.”
Appeal for blood donations
The Palestinian Ministry of Health has put out a call on Twitter for people in Gaza to head to donation centres to donate their blood.
There has been an increasing need for blood as 52 Palestinians have been killed and 2,400 others injured by Israeli forces across Gaza so far.
Death toll reaches 52
Palestinian health officials say 52 people have been killed and 2,400 others have been wounded so far.
Of those killed, the Ministry of Health says at least six are below 18, including one female. Of those wounded, at least 200 are below the age of 18; seventy-eight are women, and 11 are journalists, including Al Jazeera’s Gaza correspondent Wael Al-Dahdouh.
|Palestinians wave their national flag as they demonstrate near the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip, east of Jabalia [AFP]|
Names of those killed
Here is the list of some of the Palestinians killed as of Monday afternoon according to the Gaza Ministry of Health:
1. Ezz el-din Musa Mohamed Alsamaak, 14 years old
2.Wisaal Fadl Ezzat Alsheikh Khalil, 15 years old
3.Ahmed Adel Musa Alshaer, 16 years old
4. Saeed Mohamed Abu Alkheir, 16 years old
5. Ibrahim Ahmed Alzarqa, 18 years old
6. Eman Ali Sadiq Alsheikh, 19 years old
7. Zayid Mohamed Hasan Omar, 19 years old
8. Motassem Fawzy Abu Louley, 20 years old
9. Anas Hamdan Salim Qadeeh, 21 years old
10. Mohamed Abd Alsalam Harz, 21 years old
11. Yehia Ismail Rajab Aldaqoor, 22 years old
12. Mustafa Mohamed Samir Mahmoud Almasry, 22 years old
13. Ezz Eldeen Nahid Aloyutey, 23 years old
14. Mahmoud Mustafa Ahmed Assaf, 23 years old
15. Ahmed Fayez Harb Shahadah, 23 years old
16. Ahmed Awad Allah, 24 years old
17. Khalil Ismail Khalil Mansor, 25 years old
18. Mohamed Ashraf Abu Sitta, 26 years old
19. Bilal Ahmed Abu Diqah, 26 years old
20. Ahmed Majed Qaasim Ata Allah, 27 years old
21. Mahmoud Rabah Abu Maamar, 28 years old
22.Musab Yousef Abu Leilah, 28 years old
23. Ahmed Fawzy Altetr, 28 years old
24. Mohamed Abdelrahman Meqdad, 28 years old
25. Obaidah Salim Farhan, 30 years old
26. Jihad Mufid Al-Farra, 30 years old
27. Fadi Hassan Abu Salmi, 30 years old
28. Motaz Bassam Kamil Al-Nunu, 31 years old
29. Mohammed Riyad Abdulrahman Alamudi, 31 years old
30. Jihad Mohammed Othman Mousa, 31 years old
31. Shahir Mahmoud Mohammed Almadhoon, 32 years old
32. Mousa Jabr Abdulsalam Abu Hasnayn, 35 years old
33. Mohammed Mahmoud Abdulmoti Abdal’al, 39 years old
34. Ahmed Mohammed Ibrahim Hamdan, 27 years old
35. Ismail Khalil Ramadhan Aldaahuk, 30 years old
36. Ahmed Mahmoud Mohammed Alrantisi, 27 years old
37. Alaa Alnoor Ahmed Alkhatib, 28 years old
38. Mahmoud Yahya Abdawahab Hussain, 24 years old
39. Ahmed Abdullah Aladini, 30 years old
40. Saadi Said Fahmi Abu Salah, 16 years old
41. Ahmed Zahir Hamid Alshawa, 24 years old
42. Mohammed Hani Hosni Alnajjar, 33 years old
43. Fadl Mohamed Ata Habshy, 34 years old
|Palestinian mourners carry the body of a man killed during clashes with Israeli forces, on May 14, 2018, in Gaza City [AFP]|
Britain urges ‘calm and restraint’ in Gaza
British Prime Minister Theresa May’s spokesman urged “calm and restraint” in the Gaza Strip ahead of the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem.
Foreign Office minister Alistair Burt also expressed concern that peaceful protests were being exploited by extremist elements while adding: “(I) urge restraint in use of live fire.”
The prime minister’s spokesman said: “We are concerned by the reports of violence and loss of life in Gaza. We urge calm and restraint to avoid actions destructive to peace efforts.
“The prime minister had made her views clear in December that we disagreed with the decision (to move the US embassy). We believe it’s unhelpful in terms of prospects for peace in the region.”
The spokesman also reiterated Britain’s commitment to a two-state solution between the Israelis and Palestinians with Jerusalem as the shared capital.
Death toll reaches 43
Palestinian health officials say 43 people have been killed and 1,960 others have been wounded so far.
Of those killed, the Ministry of Health says at least six are below 18, including one female. Of those wounded, at least 200 are below the age of 18; seventy-eight are women, and 11 are journalists.
According to the ministry, some 918 people were shot at with live ammunition.
At least 39 are in critical condition, and there are fears that the death toll could rise.
“The hospital smells like blood, there is blood everywhere,” local journalist Maram Humaid told Al Jazeera from the Indonesia Hospital in the northern Gaza Strip.
“Those wounded are lying on the floor – there are no more beds to accommodate them. The hospitals are overflowing,” Humaid added.
“There is a state of anxiety in the hospitals. Ambulances have not stopped arriving. The refrigerators are filling up with bodies and hundreds of people are crowded near them, distressed by the news of the killing of their loved ones.”
Egypt and Jordan condemn Israeli action
Egypt and Jordan have condemned Israeli action in the Gaza Strip, where dozens of Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire at the border.
Jordan’s government spokesman, Mohammed al-Momani, condemned Israel’s use of “excessive force against the defenceless Palestinian people” and described the violence as a “crime”.
Egypt meanwhile “expressed its strong condemnation for the targeting of unarmed Palestinian civilians by the Israeli occupation forces”, according to a foreign ministry statement.
Egypt and Jordan are the only two Arab states with formal diplomatic relations with Israel. Cairo signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1979 and Jordan followed in 1994.
Palestinians in Gaza prepare to cross fence with Israel
A leaflet circulated by the organisers reads: “The national committee for the Great March of Return invites you to participate in the peaceful popular protest, the Million Man March of Return and Breaking the Siege”.
A spokesperson for the Great March of Return, Ahmad Abu Artema, told Al Jazeera that the goal of trying to cross the fence is to “send a message the Palestinian people have not and will not adapt to 70 years of being refugees, estrangement and difficult conditions.”
“We are adamant to return, no matter what happens. This is what the people of Gaza want – it’s about popular will. And this is their right.”
The Right of Return is enshrined in United Nations Resolution 194.
Israeli officials have accused Hamas of being behind the protests, saying the movement exploits Palestinians and deliberately exposes them to danger near the border fence.
The organisers behind the Great March of Return have rejected these claims.
Early on Monday, the Israeli military, which has imposed a land, sea and air blockade on the Gaza Strip for more than a decade, dropped leaflets warning Palestinians to stay away from the border.
Saturday, May 12
Palestinian teen succumbs to wounds
Jamal Afanah, a 15-year-old boy, died on Saturday in the southern Gaza Strip as a result of wounds inflicted by Israeli security forces the day before, according to Palestinian health officials.
Israeli forces shot Afanah on Friday during protests which took place for the seventh Friday in a row as part of the Great March of Return movement.
Afanah’s death takes the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces since the protests began to at least 49.
Egypt to open Rafah border crossing
The Palestinian embassy in Cairo announced that Egypt would open the Rafah border crossing for four days and would allow movement in both directions.
The opening is meant to attend to humanitarian cases, as well as to those whose names are registered waiting to leave the Gaza Strip.
Hundreds mourn death of Jaber Salem Abu Mustafa
Hundreds of Palestinians in the southern Gaza Strip attended the funeral of 40-year-old Jaber Salem Abu Mustafa, who was shot by Israeli forces.
Mustafa was shot in the chest near the Israeli border, east of Khan Younis, on Friday, May 11.
Friday, May 11
Palestinian killed, more than 100 wounded
Israeli forces have shot dead a 40-year-old man, Jaber Salem Abu Mustafa, east of Khan Younis, according to Palestinian health officials.
Abu Mustafa died when he was shot in the chest with live ammunition.
Ashraf al-Qidra, spokesperson for Gaza’s health ministry, said 167 other people had been wounded by live ammunition, tear gas, and rubber-coated steel bullets.
One journalist was among those injured. He sustained an injury in his foot east of Khan Younis.
Al-Qidra said medical staff are conducting therapeutic treatment for dozens wounded by Israeli forces, including women and children.
Preparations under way for Nakba protest
Al Jazeera’s Stefanie Dekker, reporting from the Gaza-Israel border, said young people have been arriving at the protests with tyres to be burned to reduce their visibility to Israeli forces positioned with snipers on the other side of the fence.
“We’ve already seen one youth injured this morning, hit by live fire. He was very close to the fence, taken away in an ambulance,” Dekker said.
“What people here will tell you is that there is a lot of pressure. It has resulted in a lot of pressure on Israel.
“We’re understanding from sources that there are talks under the table to prevent the Nakba protest from happening. Why? Because hundreds of thousands of people are expected to show up – not just at this point but all along the border with Israel.”
Dekker explained that there might be fewer demonstrators attending this Friday’s protests compared with previous weeks because Palestinians are preparing for far bigger protests in the days to come.
Israelis march in support of Palestinians in Gaza
Around noon, some 50 Israelis began marching towards the Gaza border protesting against the Israeli blockade on the Gaza Strip and the Israeli army’s use of lethal force against unarmed Palestinian protesters.
Friday, May 4
Dozens of Palestinians wounded in Gaza border protest
Israeli forces have fired tear gas and live rounds at Palestinian protesters on the Gaza-Israel border, wounding at least 40 people.
At least 13 people were wounded by live fire, according to the health ministry in Gaza.
Al Jazeera’s Harry Fawcett, reporting from the Gaza-Israel border, said there were no reports of deaths and that the number of people injured on Friday marked “a substantial decrease” as compared to previous weeks.
But that figure could rise, he said, adding: “We have heard live fire being used on several occasions today. There has been a lot of tear gas, a lot of warnings coming from the Israeli side.”
Protesters burned tyres at the site sending black smoke billowing into the air.
|Palestinians with their faces painted like characters from the movie ‘Avatar’ pose for a picture at the Israel-Gaza border [Said Khatib/AFP]|
Naming the dead
These are the 56 Palestinians that have been killed by Israel since the start of the protests:
- Mohammed Naeem Abu Amr, 27, died on March 30
- Amin Mansour Abu Muammar, 22, died on March 30
- Mohammed Najjar 25, died on March 30
- Ahmed Odeh, 19, died on March 30
- Mahmoud Saadi Rahmi, 33, died on March 30
- Abdelfattah Abdelnabi, 19, died on March 30
- Jihad Freneh, 33, died on March 30
- Sari Abu Odeh, 30, died on March 30
- Ibrahim Abu Shaar, 22, died on March 30
- Abdelqader Al-Hawajri, 42, died on March 30
- Jihad Abu Jamous, 30, died on March 30
- Bader al-Sabbagh, 22, died on March 30
- Naji Abu Hujeir, 25, died on March 30
- Hamdan Abu Amsha, 26, died on March 30
- Ahmed Omar Arafeh, 25, died on March 30
- Omar Wahid Samour, 28, died on March 30
- Mosab al-Saloul, 22, died on March 30
- Fares al-Raqab, 29, succumbed to his wounds on April 2 from injuries sustained on March 30
- Shadi Hamdan al-Kashif, 34, Rafah, succumbed to his wounds on April 5 from injuries sustained on March 30
- Thaer Mohammed Rabea, 30, succumbed to his wounds on April 6 from injuries sustained on March 30
- Ahmed Nizar Muhareb, 29, died on April 6
- Usama Khamis Qudeih, 38, died on April 6
- Majdi Ramadan Shabat, 38, died on April 6
- Hussein Mohammed Madi, 16, died on April 6
- Ibrahim Al-Err, 20, died on April 6
- Mohammed Saeed Saleh, 33, died on April 6
- Alaa Zamli, 17, died on April 6
- Sedqi Faraj Abu Atewi, 45, died on April 6
- Alaa Eddine Yahya Al-Zamli, 15, died on April 6
- Hamza Abdel Al-Aal, died on April 6
- Yaser Murtaja, 30, succumbed to his wounds on April 7 from injuries sustained on April 6
- Marwan Awdeh Qadeih, 45, died on April 9
- Mohammed Abu Hajeela, 31, died on April 12
- Abdallah Al-Shahri, 28, died on April 14
- Ahmed Abu Aqil, 25, died on April 20
- Ahmed Rashad, 24, died on April 20
- Mohammed Ibrahim Ayyoub, 15, died on April 20
- Saad Abdul Majid Abdul-Aal Abu Taha, 29, died on April 20
- Ahmad Abu Hussein, 24, succumbed to his wounds on April 25 from injuries sustained on April 13
- Khalil Atallah, 22, died on April 27
- Muhammad Amin al-Muqid, 21, died on April 27
- Abd al-Salam Eid Zuhdi Baker, 33, died on April 27
- Azzam Oweida, 15, died on April 27
- Anas Abu Asser, 19 years old, succumbed to his wounds on May 3 from injuries sustained on April 27
- Yousif Abu Jazar, 16, died on April 29
- Attiyah Muhammad al-Amawi, 23, died on April 29
- Yousif Ahmad al-Amawi, 23, died on April 29
- Jaber Salem Abu Mustafa, 40, died on May 11
- Jamal Afanah, 15, died on May 12
- Anas Hamdan Qdeih, 21, died on May 14
- Musab Abu Laila, 29, died on May 14
- Bilal Abu Daqqa, 26, died on May 14
- Ezz al-Din al-Owaiti, 22, died on May 14
- Ezz al-Din al-Sammak, 14, died on May 14
- Obaida Salem Farhan, died on May 14
- Mohammad Abu Sitta, 26, died on May 14
Sunday, April 29
3 Palestinians killed at Gaza border
In two separate incidents, Israeli forces shot dead three Palestinians at the Gaza-Israel border fence late Sunday evening. The spokesperson for the Israeli army confirmed the deaths on Twitter and added that another Palestinian had been detained.
Saturday, April 28
Hundreds mourn death of Palestinian teenager shot on Friday
Azzam Oweida, a 15-year old boy, who was shot in the head by Israeli military on Friday has died of his wounds on Saturday.
Hundreds in Khan Younis gathered to pay their last respects for Hillal on Saturday.
Three other Palestinians were shot dead during Friday’s peaceful protests.
Friday, April 27
Four Palestinians killed, 955 wounded
Four Palestinian demonstrators were killed and 955 injured by Israeli forces during the protests on Friday.
The health ministry identified the three men and child as Khalil Atallah, 22, Muhammad Amin al-Muqid, 21, Abd al-Salam Eid Zuhdi Baker, 33, and Azzam Oweida, 15.
“Thousands of people stood right at the border, then we heard Israeli forces opening live fire. They’re still doing that sporadically as we speak,” Al Jazeera’s Stefanie Dekker reported from the Israel-Gaza border.
“Ambulances are rushing towards that area… The scenes that we have witnessed here over the past half hour or so are the most dramatic.”
Eighteen medical personnel and journalists were among the wounded.
Ashraf al-Qidra, spokesperson for Gaza’s health ministry, said Israeli forces targeted medical service points twice with an unidentified gas east of the al-Bureij refugee camp in central Gaza.
A number of victims experienced convulsions as a result of their exposure, he said.
|A female demonstrator is evacuated after inhaling tear gas fired by Israeli troops at the Israel-Gaza border [Ibraheem Abu Mustafa/Reuters]
Dozens hurt in latest Gaza protest
At least 25 Palestinian protesters have reportedly been injured by live Israeli gunfire or have suffocated from tear gas inhalation, as demonstrations erupted for the fifth Friday in a row in Gaza, according to reports.
The Palestinian news agency WAFA reported that at least six Palestinians were injured when Israeli forces fired live ammunition at protesters, while the rest were hurt because of teargas inhalation.
Hundreds of protesters have been gathering at the eastern and northern borders of the Gaza Strip on what they called the “Friday of Rebellious Youth”.
UN rights chief decries Israel’s excessive use of force in Gaza
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein has condemned Israel’s use of “excessive force” against Palestinian protesters, saying its security forces must be held to account for the many deaths and injuries sustained by Palestinians in the past month.
“The loss of life is deplorable, and the staggering number of injuries caused by live ammunition only confirms the sense that excessive force has been used against demonstrators – not once, not twice, but repeatedly,” Zeid said.
In the past four weeks, 42 Palestinians were killed and more than 5,500 injured along the fence in Gaza, with no reports of Israeli casualties.
Friday, April 20
Four Palestinians killed by Israeli forces
Palestinian officials say the death toll on Friday has risen to four, with Mohammed Ibrahim Ayyoub, a 15-year-old from Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip, joining the growing list of fatalities.
Ashraf al-Qidra, spokesperson for Gaza’s health ministry, added that at least 729 Palestinians, including 45 children, had been wounded by Israeli forces.
The other three victims were identified as Ahmed Rashad, 24, Ahmed Abu Aqil, 25, and Saad Abdul Majid Abdul-Aal Abu Taha, 29.
Yahya Sinwar makes rare public appearance at protest site
Yahya Sinwar, the leader of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, has made a rare public appearance at a protest near Gaza City.
Freed in a 2011 prisoner swap with Israel after more than 20 years in jail, Sinwar told the crowd of protesters that they would “march on Jerusalem”.
|Yahya Sinwar, leader of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, made another rare public appearance on Friday at a protest near Gaza city [Bernard Smith/Al Jazeera]|
|Palestinians raise their flag in front of burning tyres they lit near the border with Israel, east of Gaza City [Hosam Salem/Al Jazeera]|
Great March of Return spokesman: South Africa is our model
Asaad Abu Shariek, a spokesman for the Great March of Return protest movement, said demonstrators were following a path laid down by South Africa during its struggle against apartheid.
“People are very enthusiastic to come and take part in the protests because they know without participating in this non-violent form of resistance they can’t achieve their objective,” Abu Shariek told Al Jazeera.
When asked whether the protests would lead to any tangible concessions by the Israelis, Abu Shariek said: “We are implanting an idea in the minds of people across the world that Palestinians have rights and they hope for the right of return.
“We want the world to impose a military embargo on Israel and the BDS [Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions] strategy. South Africa used this method, and they emerged victorious, and I think we will be no exception.”
|A man has his eyes cleaned after he was exposed to tear gas fired by Israeli soldiers [Hosam Salem/Al Jazeera]|
‘Barrage of tear gas’
Reporting from the protest site, Al Jazeera’s Bernard Smith said the thousands of Palestinians in attendance were being subjected to a “barrage of tear gas from Israeli soldiers”.
“Thick black smoke has now filled the air as they try to obscure the view for Israeli soldiers,” Smith said.
“This is a peaceful protest as it has been over the last few weeks.
“There will be more protests like this until May 15, the day the Palestinians call the Nakba that marked the founding of the state of Israel.”
Death toll reaches 37 Palestinians killed
Ahmed Rashad, 24, was pronounced dead by the Palestinian Ministry of Health after being hit by a live bullet fired by Israeli forces. This brings the death toll to 37 Palestinians since protests began on March 30.
Ahmed Abu Akil, 25, died in the hospital after being shot with a live bullet, according to the Palestinian health ministry.
Palestinians fly kites over fence into Israel
Palestinian protesters along the Gaza border have sent kites over the fence into Israel, including some carrying notes telling Israelis: “There is no place for you in Palestine.”
|Palestinians fly a kite with the words: ‘We will return despite the betrayers’ [Hosam Salem/Al Jazeera]|
40 Palestinian protesters wounded
At least 40 Palestinians have been wounded by Israeli use of live fire and tear gas during protests along the Gaza-Israeli border, reported by the Palestinian Ministry of Health.
Among the wounded is Ahmed Abu Akil from Jabaliya. He has been moved to the intensive care unit after being injured in the head by live bullets fired by the Israeli forces, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health.
Another two Palestinians have also been reported injured in the Gaza Strip after Israeli forces fired live bullets at protesters.
Israel drops leaflets in Gaza: ‘Stay away from border fence’
Israel dropped leaflets in the Gaza Strip warning Palestinians not to approach its border fence as the military braced for fresh Palestinian protests along the eastern borders of the Gaza Strip.
It was the first time leaflets have been dropped in the recent round of demonstrations.
The Israeli army “is prepared for all scenarios. Stay away from the fence and do not attempt to harm it,” read the leaflets, which were scattered by Israeli aircraft along the border in the early morning.
Friday, April 13
Number of injured approaches 1,000: health ministry
The Palestinian Ministry of Health is reporting that a total of 969 people have been injured by Israeli forces
Palestinian killed in Gaza
The Palestinian Ministry of Health confirmed that Islam Herzallah, 28, died after being shot by Israeli snipers in his stomach, east of Gaza.
The number of injuries has surpassed 701, it added.
Palestinian Ministry of Health: 528 wounded
Health officials in Gaza say at least 528 protesters have been wounded, including 16 journalists and medical professionals.
According to the ministry, at least 122 Palestinians were wounded by live ammunition.
Palestinian Ministry of Health says 363 protesters wounded so far
Journalists are among the injured, with Ahmad Abu Hussein shot in the chest while covering the protests in Jabaliya, northern Gaza.
A bullet also grazed the arm of Middle East Eye’s photographer Mohammed al-Hajjar at the same location.
More than 100 protesters wounded, say health officials
The Palestinian Ministry of Health said that 112 protesters have been wounded by live bullets and tear gas along the Gaza Strip border.
Mobile clinic targeted near Khan Younis
|Medics carry a wounded protester on a stretcher in Khuza’a, Khan Younis, on the third consecutive Friday protest near the Gaza Strip border [Hosam Salem/Al Jazeera]|
The spokesperson for Gaza’s health ministry Ashraf al-Qidra had condemned Israeli forces targeting a mobile clinic east of Khan Younis with tear gas, resulting in the suffocation of 10 medical staff.
“Despite the direct targeting of our medical points, we are determined to continue providing treatment to our people under all circumstances,” he said.
The Ministry of Health also said that 30 protesters have been injured so far.
Three protesters injured
Al Jazeera’s Harry Fawcett said that three protesters east of Gaza City have already been wounded by Israeli forces.
“What we have seen over the past two Fridays is a great number of people shot by Israeli snipers,” he said, speaking near the encampment near Gaza City.
According to Gaza’s Ministry of Health, more than 1,600 Palestinians were wounded last Friday.
Journalists undeterred by Israeli targeting
Last Friday, nine journalists who were covering the protests were hospitalised with serious leg injuries after Israeli forces shot at them.
One them, Izz Abu Shanab, is a freelance photographer and told Al Jazeera he was wearing a flak jacket marked with “PRESS” and a helmet.
“As I was working about 400 metres away from the border fence, the Israelis shot me with a live bullet in the leg,” Abu Shanab said. “It broke the bone because it was an explosive bullet.”
Another journalist, Jameel Dahlan, said that despite concern from family members, he will continue to cover the protests.
“We as journalists send a message,” he told Al Jazeera. “No matter what my wife or mother says, we love our work. Because of that we’ll keep coming here.”
‘Burn the Israeli flag’
|Palestinians in Gaza burn the Israeli flag as part of the protest’s theme on the third consecutive Friday [Hosam Salem/Al Jazeera]|
Amer Shreiteh, member of the Coordinating Committee for the Return March, told local Palestinian media that Friday’s protest theme has been dubbed as “Burn the Israeli flag and raise the Palestinian one”.
“A 25-metre flag mast has been built for each of the five encampments along the border,” he said.
In a statement, the Committee confirmed its commitment to a peaceful, popular protest.
Friday, April 6
For a second week, thousands of Palestinians protested along the eastern borders of the Gaza Strip, as part of the Great March of Return movement.
Israeli forces have killed 29 Palestinians during the past week, including 21 during and after the March 30 protests, which wounded more than 1,600 others.
Eight Palestinians died last Friday, including one who succumbed to his wounds after being shot last week.
Two more died from their wounds the following day, including journalist Yaser Murtaja.
Local media: Eight killed by Israeli forces
The Palestinian Shehab News Agency is reporting that the death toll in Friday’s protests has risen to nine, after Alaa Yahya al-Zamali, 17, was shot dead by Israeli forces in Rafah.
Yahya Sinwar: Gaza will ‘stand tall’ in the face of the occupation
Yahya Sinwar, the leader of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, has made a rare public appearance at a protest near the city of Khan Younis.
Freed in a 2011 prisoner swap with Israel after more than 20 years in jail, Sinwar told the crowd that Gaza would “stand tall” in the face of Israeli occupation.
“The plot of starvation and siege have failed to incite the Palestinian people against the resistance [Hamas].
“Gaza will not starve and will not abandon its national objective.
“Our people came out to tell the world that Gaza is free and that we will stand tall and resist the Israeli occupation.”
|A Palestinian protester wears a tyre on his head with an onion (to protect himself from tear gas) dangling from it [Hosam Salem/Al Jazeera]|
Local media: Six killed by Israeli forces
The Palestinian Safa Press Agency is reporting that the death toll has risen to eight, with Sidqi Abu Outewi, a 45-year-old from Nuseirat, and Mohammed Hajj Saleh, a 33-year-old from Rafah, joining the growing list of fatalities.
Fifth Palestinian killed, health ministry says
The Palestinian Ministry of Health says the death toll has risen to six, with 20-year-old Ibrahim Al-Ourr killed.
Palestinian Ministry of Health: 780 wounded
Health officials in Gaza said that at least 780 protesters have been wounded, including seven women and 31 children.
Fourth Palestinian killed, health ministry says
The Palestinian Ministry of Health said that a 16-year-old boy has been killed by Israeli forces.
The teenager, Hussein Madi, was dead on arrival after he was taken to Gaza City’s Shifa Hospital, the ministry added.
Journalist: 28 wounded protesters in intensive care unit
Hosam Salem, a photographer at the scene in the southern Gaza Strip, told Al Jazeera that there are currently 8 protesters in the intensive care unit at the Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis.
Salem witnessed his colleague Yaser Murtaja, a 30-year-old journalist with a local media outlet, drop to the ground after he was shot by Israeli forces in the stomach.
“Yaser was filming with his camera next to me when we heard the sound of gunfire,” Salem said. “He just fell on the ground and said, ‘I’ve been shot, I’ve been shot’.”
“He needed eight units of blood,” Salem continued. “The hospital moved him from the operations room to the ICU where his situation remains critical.”
Another journalist, Ibrahim Zanoun, was shot in the arm while covering the protests in Jabaliya, northern Gaza.
Half an hour ago the occupation army shot my brother, journalist, Ibrahim Zanoun in the arm!
— Ezz zanoon (@EzzZanoon) April 6, 2018
Health officials: Two killed, 250 injured
The Palestinian Ministry of Health says protester Majdi Ramadan Shbat has been killed east of Gaza City by Israeli forces.
The number of those wounded has risen to at least 250, according to the ministry.
Shbat’s death brings the total number of protesters killed on Friday to three, after Thaer Rab’a, who was shot by Israeli forces during the March 30 demonstrations, succumbed to his wounds earlier in the day.
Protesters ‘defiant’ amid growing tension
|A Palestinian woman and man stand behind burning tyres in Khuza’a near the border in southern Gaza Strip [Hosam Salem/Al Jazeera]|
Al Jazeera’s Hoda Abdel-Hamid, reporting from Gaza, says Palestinian protesters have remained “defiant” despite Israel saying it will not change its rule of engagement.
“Some young boys have been carrying mirrors to blind the soldiers stationed all along the border,” she said. “We’ve seen them with makeshift homemade gas masks which won’t really protect them from anything.
“Tension is growing because more and more people are arriving, but it seems that the Israelis are showing some degree of restraint compared to last week,” she continued. “They are still using live ammunition and high-velocity bullets which don’t kill but maim protesters.”
Palestinian killed in Gaza
The Palestinian Ministry of Health has confirmed that 38-year-old Osama Qdeih has been killed by Israeli live fire east of Khan Younis.
The number of wounded has increased to at least 150, the ministry added.
Ministry of Health: 40 wounded by live fire and tear gas
|A medic stands over a wounded protester near Gaza Strip’s eastern border [Hosam Salem/Al Jazeera]|
Palestinian health officials say at least 40 protesters have been wounded.
According to Ashraf al-Qidra, the health ministry’s spokesperson, five are in critical condition after being shot in the head or in the upper body.
Mahjoob Zweiri, a professor at Qatar University, told Al Jazeera that the protests are the outcome of “years and years of frustration” by the residents of the Gaza Strip.
“If you look at the past 60 years there has always been delayed action from the Arab League and the international community [with regards to] the Palestinian question,” he said.
“That delay of action is an indication that there is no serious attempt to stop Israel from doing what it is doing now.”
UN warns Israeli forces to respect ‘right of peaceful assembly’
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights spokeswoman Liz Throssell has expressed concern over further violence during Friday’s demonstrations and in the weeks ahead.
Speaking at a press conference in Geneva, Throssell said: “We remind Israel of its obligations to ensure that excessive force is not employed against protesters and that in the context of a military occupation, as is the case in Gaza, the unjustified and unlawful recourse to firearms by law enforcement resulting in death may amount to a willful killing, a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention.”
Earlier, Gaza’s Ministry of Health confirmed the death of Thaer Rab’a, 30, who succumbed to his injuries after he was shot by Israeli forces last Friday.
This brings this week’s death toll to 22 Palestinians.
Friday of ‘Burning Tyres’
Palestinians have gathered hundreds of spare tyres and plan on setting them on fire in order to create a smokescreen to obstruct the vision of Israeli snipers.
Al Jazeera’s correspondent in the Gaza Strip, Hoda Abdel-Hamid, said that the situation is calm at the moment, despite five Palestinians so far being wounded by live ammunition
“[At the five encampments along the border] you have entire families with their children dressed in traditional Palestinian clothes,” she said. “They are having picnics, they are sitting on the floor, and there’s a lot of vendors on the side.
“It is a completely different atmosphere and that’s where the vast majority of people are.”
Hamas internal security called for peaceful protest
|An elderly Palestinian man and his granddaughter sit during Friday prayers at at one of the encampments east of Khuza’a in the southern Gaza Strip [Hosam Salem/Al Jazeera]|
On Thursday night, the internal security of Hamas released a statement calling on all protesters to “avoid friction with the Israeli occupation forces, and cooperate with the instructions of the organizers of the events.”
The statement also called on participants to avoid wearing distinctive clothes and to not take photos or use their mobile phones.
Organisers of the march
“The march is organised by refugees, doctors, lawyers, university students, Palestinian intellectuals, academics, civil society organizations and Palestinian families,” Asad Abu Sharekh, the spokesperson of the march, told Al Jazeera.
“Using these claims of Hamas being behind the protests, Israel is trying to sabotage the idea of the march to justify its escalation against protesters.”
The planned protests, which started on March 30, or Land Day, will continue until the Nakba anniversary on May 15, which marks 70 years since 750,000 Palestinians were expelled from their villages and towns by Zionist militias in 1948.
Makeshift tents have been erected 700 metres away from the Israeli fence, symbolising the right of return for Palestinian refugees, who make up 70 percent of the Gaza Strip’s population of two million.