Palestinian killed and 49 wounded during Gaza border protest

Hannah Rogers
May 12, 2018

The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) said on Twitter that 15,000 Palestinians took part in what it described as riots along the fence that separates Israel from Gaza.

The protests are due to culminate early next Tuesday, when Palestinians will commemorate the Nakba.

In moving the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Mr. Trump reversed decades of America's approach to the Holy City, one of the world's most contested pieces of land.

"Those who attend the ceremony will be sending an ominous message, a message that they encourage flagrant violations of global law and (of) the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people", he said.

The US decision to abandon the nuclear accord and recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital has made a combustible region - one with four ongoing conflicts - potentially all the more explosive, some analysts said.

Though they were initially planned as non-violent demonstrations, the protests were co-opted by the Hamas terror group, which rules Gaza and whose leaders have said their goal is to erase the border and "liberate Palestine". He stressed that the protesters would be unarmed and peaceful, but also likened them to a "starving tiger", saying the residents of Gaza were so desperate that their actions were impossible to predict.

Israeli forces have drawn worldwide censure for using live fire against the protesters, most of whom appeared unarmed and did not seem to present any immediate threat to the lives of the soldiers.

A Palestinian protester throws back a teargas canister at Israeli soldiers as others burn tyres near the Israeli fence during a protest at the Gaza Strip's border with Israel, Friday, May 11, 2018.

Seven people have been critically injured, including a 16-year-old boy who was shot in the face.

Israel says it has a right to defend its border and has accused Hamas of using the protests as a cover for attacking the border.

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Given the dire humanitarian situation in the coastal enclave - with Gazans exposed to pollution, impure water and epidemics - Israeli security officials believe that it is in Hamas's interests to redirect the citizens frustrations towards Israeli soldiers in order to stave of steeping responsibility on the militant group.

The Islamist movement Hamas has controlled Gaza since 2007 and has fought three wars with Israel since.

Tensions were spiraling ahead of Monday, when the USA will relocate its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in a controversial move condemned by the Palestinians.

The only window that could resurrect United States mediation, he said, is if Mr Trump "comes out and say something along the line of Bill Clinton parameters. that east Jerusalem will be sovereign and a capital for Palestinians".

She warned that the U.S. move will encourage Israel to accelerate its attempts to erase the Palestinian presence from occupied Jerusalem by destroying their homes and stealing their land for illegal settlements.

Thousands of protesters Friday gathered in five tent camps set up weeks ago, each several hundred meters from the border. "But at the same time, you have some people flying kites as symbols of freedom, you have some people flying kites with Swastikas, and gas bombs attached to them, and that's intolerable".

Nur Arafeh, Policy Fellow of Al-Shabaka: The Palestinian Policy Network, said the inauguration of the US Embassy in Jerusalem the day before Palestinians commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Nakba, when almost a million Palestinians were driven from their homes during Israel's establishment, is a reminder that the embassy move is not simply an aberration. Egypt also restricts movement in and out of Gaza.

Egypt opens the crossing from time to time, mainly to allow people in special categories, including medical patients and Gaza residents studying overseas, to leave the territory or return to it.

Friday's rally took place before a large stage with a view of the Dead Sea and the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Jordanian, Palestinian, and green Muslim Brotherhood flags flew over crowd.

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