A mass protest by thousands of Palestinians along the Gaza border with Israel, described as peaceful by its Hamas organizers, broke out into violence on Friday. At least three Palestinians were killed and more than 100 injured in clashes with Israeli soldiers.
Friday marks the beginning of six weeks of protests that Hamas has planned against Israel and the Palestinian displacement around the founding of 1948. The demonstrations started on Friday with camps half a mile from Gaza's 25 miles (40 kilometers) border with Israel; The climax will come in mid-May to the border with a mass march that Israel fears will make an attempt to break its territory.
Hamas leaders called the initiative a peaceful effort, though they readily agreed that it might get out of hand. This happened just a few hours after the launch on Friday, when demonstrators threw rocks and firebombs and burning tires rolled at Israeli soldiers who responded with tear gas and live fire.
The Israeli army, which brought the crowd to 1
The protests are taking place against a backdrop of growing tensions over the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel by President Donald Trump in December. US peace plan, which President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas has already rejected. After Trump announced plans to relocate the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Abbas canceled all official contacts with the White House in December.
The violence against Israel has risen sharply in recent weeks. Palestinians demanding the eastern part of Jerusalem as their own capital are storming the Gaza fence and bombing Israeli soldiers, retaliatory fires and air strikes. Palestinians broke the fence at least four times this week, including a group armed with knives and grenades that invaded Israel more than ten miles before being arrested. At least five Israelis have been killed in knife and car raids in Jerusalem and the West Bank in recent weeks
Jason Greenblatt, who leads the US peace effort, accused Hamas of triggering an "enemy march" A Confrontation [19659002"InsteadHamasshouldfocusonmuch-neededimprovementstothelivesofPalestiniansinGazainsteadofincitingviolenceagainstIsraelwhichonlyincreaseshardshipandunderminesthechancesofpeace"tweetedGreenblatt
& # 39; Right of Return & # 39;
Hamas Politburo leader Ismail Haniyeh appeared in the tent camps Friday and presented the march as a rebuke to US peace efforts. He said that this is the beginning of the Palestinian return to all that is now Israel
"The Great Return March is a message to Trump that his business and all those who support it, that there is no concession for Jerusalem, no Alternative to Palestine and not a solution, but the return, Haniyeh said, the Palestinians "will not agree to keep the" right of return "just as a slogan."
Israel sees the demand for a mass return of Palestinians as an attempt to Israel
The protests in Gaza correspond to the red letters in the Palestinian calendar: Friday is the "Diet" on which six Arab citizens were killed by Israeli security forces in 1976 during violent demonstrations against land confiscation It also marks the beginning of the one week Jewish Passover.
The main march to the fence on the 1st May 5 will commemorate the Palestinian "Nakba," or the catastrophe of its shift in the founding of Israel. It takes place one day after the opening of the new US Embassy in Jerusalem on the 70th anniversary of Israel's independence. Ramadan, the Muslim month of fasting that often witnesses an increase in Palestinian attacks, is expected to begin on May 15.
Israeli officials had looked forward to the violent efforts while Palestinian supporters of the march said they wanted to capitalize on this optics. Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman warned on Friday that Hamas was playing with the lives of the Palestinians and urged residents to stay at home.
"Anyone approaching the fence today is in danger," he tweeted in Arabic.