During protests commemorating Land Day, on the border of the Gaza Strip and Israel, 17 Palestinians have been killed and more than 1,400 wounded.
Palestinian factions called for a mass protest on Land Day, demanding refugees right of return to their lands taken by Israel.
Since the early morning of March 30, Gazans were gathering all along the eastern border of the Gaza strip.
On the edge of Shajaia, near the disused checkpoint of Karmi, Protestor Mouna Jadalah hesitated to enter the buffer zone.
We are all coming here today in peace, with no stones, nothing, not any kind of weapons. I hope the army will deal with this march of return wisely, and will not shoot at the protesters, Jadalah told Palestine Monitor.
It was not long after Friday’s midday prayer that thousands of people joined the first protesters.
Officially organized by civil society, “the March of Return” is backed by Hamas, the Palestinian Islamist movement in power in the Gaza Strip.
In the lead up to Land Day, Hamas ensured the protest would stay 700 meters away from the border where five tents had ben erected, but young men and families were quick to move inside the buffer zone.
Protestor Mahmoud, with his Palestinian Keffieyeh on his head, was one of the people calling for all the protesters to go closer.
The Israelis fears us, so let’s go! let’s take our land back, Mahmoud told Palestine Monitor.
20-year-old Mahmoud Jundieh was among the crowd determined to continue resisting.
We have nothing left to lose, we’ve lost everything. I’m not afraid to be martyr. I will stay here for 45 days, until representatives from around the world recognize our rights, Jundieh told Palestine Monitor.
On the other side of the border, awaits heavy numbers of reinforcement from the Israeli army.
With protesters throwing stones and burning tires, the occupation forces striked back with tear gas and live ammunition.
In an almost unprecedented manner, the Israeli Army used a drone to fire tear gas to protesters over the border.
The rally could last 6 weeks. Indeed protesters like Mahmoud intend to stay until May 15, day of the Nakba.
Source: Palestine Monitor