Tens of thousands protest at Gaza-Israel border

IDF tanks stationed near the Gaza border
IDF tanks stationed near the Gaza border

01 April, 2019

According to the Gaza Ministry of Health, Israeli snipers killed three 17-year-old boys during the protests, and more than 300 others were wounded, including five who were in critical condition.

Haniyeh said Hamas is demanding the delivery of aid and goods to the blockaded Gaza Strip, an end to water and electricity shortages, and job creation programs to mitigate the territory's 50 percent unemployment rate.

No casualties were reported from the rockets and no Palestinian group claimed responsibility.

Tens of thousands of Gazans gathered at the Israeli border on March 30 to mark a year since protests and clashes erupted there, testing a fragile truce only 10 days ahead of an Israeli general election. The forces fired tear gas and opened fire, killing four Palestinians, including three teenagers, and wounding 64.

Hamas had pledged to keep the crowds a safe distance from the fence to avoid inflaming the political atmosphere during negotiations of a possible easing of the blockade. Netanyahu took heavy criticism this week for what was seen as a soft response to renewed rocket fire out of Gaza. "We're waiting for timelines and clear programs [from Israel] for the implementation of the understandings reached between the resistance groups and the occupation", said Hamas spokesman Abdel Latif al-Qanou.

Under the Egyptian plan, Israel was to offer economic incentives for Gaza in exchange for calm, according to Palestinian officials. "We will continue our marches until all our goals are achieved", he said.

The protesters are calling for the lifting of a security blockade imposed by Israel and Egypt, and for Palestinians to have the right to return to land from which their families fled or were forced to flee during Israel's founding in 1948.

It deployed soldiers along the border fence, who it said were ordered to resort to live fire only when absolutely necessary and when there was an imminent threat. Israeli troops fired rubber bullets and tear gas at about 150 demonstrators.

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The Israeli army said that a projectile launched from the Gaza Strip did not cross into Israeli territory, but did set off air-raid sirens in the country's south. The Kingdom stated its categorical rejection of Israeli policies and practices, along with false and illegal plans, that it described as flagrant violations in defiance of worldwide law, charters, conventions and resolutions, which are preventing any chance of achieving a two-state solution.

The health officials say another man was shot dead by Israeli troops close to the fence overnight. In the evening, the ministry said another 17-year-old died hours after being shot in the chest in a different protest location.

The Israeli army says that some 20,000 Palestinians are gathering along the Gaza fence for the mass rally marking one year of weekly demonstrations aimed at breaking the Israeli-Egyptian blockade.

Dozens of activists approached the fence during Saturday's demonstration, hurling stones and explosives toward Israeli forces.

"The message of the Palestinian masses that they came today to reiterate their right in living in dignity and freedom like other peoples of the region without a siege and without the big prison that enclaves the Gaza Strip".

"This was not something extraordinary, and much, much, much less than what people were anxious about", retired Israeli Brig. An Israeli soldier was also killed in the context of the marches.

The week before the anniversary saw a flare-up of cross-border violence after a rocket fired from Gaza wounded seven Israelis north of Tel Aviv on Monday.

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