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Gazans bury their dead after bloodiest day in years

758 protesters wounded by live fire while no reports of injuries among occupation troops

By AFP - Apr 01,2018 - Last updated at Apr 01,2018

A girl, affected by tear gas, is being carried away by a boy after Israeli forces’ intervention in a demonstration within the ‘Great March of Return’ east of Khan Yunis, Gaza, on Saturday (Anadolu Agency photo)

GAZA CITY, Palestinian Territories — Gazans buried their dead on Saturday with calls for “revenge” a day after a major demonstration saw Israeli forces kill 16 Palestinians in the bloodiest day since a 2014 war.

But while anger seethed over Friday’s events, only several hundred protesters returned to tents erected at different sites near the Gaza Strip’s border with Israel to resume demonstrations planned to last six weeks in the blockaded enclave.

Gaza’s health ministry said ten people suffered wounds that were not life-threatening in low-level clashes along the border on Saturday.

Thousands attended funerals for 14 of those killed — two were buried on Friday — with mourners holding Palestinian flags and some chanting “revenge” and firing into the air.

The armed wing of Hamas, the resistance movement that runs the Gaza Strip, said five of those killed were its members who were participating “in popular events side-by-side with their people”.

“Where are you, Arabs? Where are you, Muslims?” mourners chanted at one funeral, calling on the Arab and Muslim world to intervene.

 

A general strike was being held in both the Gaza Strip and the occupied West Bank.

Minor clashes broke out between Israeli forces and Palestinians in Hebron, while a small protest was held in Nablus, both in the West Bank. 

In addition to the 16 Palestinians killed, more than 1,400 were also wounded Friday, 758 of them by live fire, with the remainder hurt by rubber bullets and tear gas inhalation, according to the Gazan health ministry.

Israel defended its soldiers’ actions, when forces opened fire on Palestinians who strayed from the main protest camp attended by tens of thousands and approached the heavily fortified fence cutting off the Gaza Strip.

Israeli forces said it opened fire only when necessary against those throwing stones and firebombs or rolling tyres at soldiers.

It said there were attempts to damage the fence and infiltrate Israel, while alleging there was also an attempted gun attack against soldiers along the border. No casualties were reported among Israelis.

Palestinians accused Israel of using disproportionate force, saying its soldiers opened fire on protesters who did not pose a threat, while human rights groups questioned Israel’s use of live fire.

UN chief Antonio Guterres called for an “independent and transparent investigation”.

 

‘Continue its aggression’ 

 

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas declared Saturday a day of national mourning and in a speech said he held Israel fully responsible for the deaths.

His spokesman on Saturday called on the United States at the UN Security Council to not provide “cover for Israel to continue its aggression against the Palestinian people”. 

An Israeli military spokesman said Friday’s events were “not a protest demonstration” but “organised terrorist activity” by Hamas, which has fought three wars with Israel since 2008.

“If it continues, we shall have no choice but to respond inside the Gaza Strip against terrorist targets which we understand to be behind these events,” Brigadier General Ronen Manelis told journalists.

The six-week protest is in support of Palestinian refugees and the timetable holds significance for a range of reasons that have added to tensions.

It began on Land Day, when Palestinians commemorate the killing of six unarmed Arab protesters in Israel in 1976, and as Jewish Israelis readied to observe the Passover holiday, which started at sundown on Friday.

Protests will continue until the United States opens its new Jerusalem embassy around May 14, a move that has provoked deep anger among the Palestinians, who see the city’s annexed eastern sector as the capital of their future state.

May 14 will also mark 70 years since the “creation of Israel”, while Palestinians will mark what they call the Nakba, or “catastrophe”, the following day.

The Nakba commemorates the more than 700,000 Palestinians who either fled or were expelled from their homes in the war surrounding Israel’s creation in 1948.

 

‘Lethal force’ 

 

US President Donald Trump has harshly criticised the Palestinians in the past, but the State Department said only that it was “deeply saddened” by the loss of life and urged steps to lower tensions.

Human Rights Watch criticised Israel’s actions.

“Israeli allegations of violence by some protesters do not change the fact that using lethal force is banned by international law except to meet an imminent threat to life,” the New York-based group said, calling the number of killed and wounded “shocking”.

Israel had deployed troop reinforcements along the border, including more than 100 special forces snipers, saying it would prevent attempts to break through the fence.

Protests along the border are common, often culminating in young Palestinian men throwing stones at Israeli soldiers who respond with tear gas along with rubber and live bullets.

But the “March of Return” protest that began on Friday is on a larger scale and intended to involve families with women and children camping in tent cities near the border for weeks.

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Comments

WHILE THE INTENT OF DANIEL IS GOOD, THERE IS NO NEED TO USE VERY STRONG AND LABELLING TAGS TO ASK FOR PEACE AND FAIRNESS. THE FACT IS THAT JEWS AS A RACE, COUNTRY ARE NOT BLOOD THIRSTY KILLING MACHINE AS WRITTEN BUT SOME ELEMENTS ON BOTH SIDES ARE HARD LINERS THAT DOES NOT BELEIVE IN PEACE. I AM A CHRISTIAN AS YOU ARE AND AS A CHRISTIAN, WE BELIEVE IN FORGIVENESS 70 TIMES 70 TIMES AND THAT FAIR AND HONEST PEACE IN THE ONLY SOLUTION TO THIS CARNAGE. I CAN NOT FIND ANY ONE WHO DO NOT CONDEM THIS BRUTALITY IN COLD BLOOD. HOWEVER, THE WORLD CAN GET PASS THROUGH THIS AND REPLACE IT WITH THE RULES OF A CIVIL SOCIETY. DONT BLAME THE JEWS ALONE BUT YOUR OWN LEADERS OF THE ARAB WORLD.

The Zionists have a plan for greater Israel. Just google greater Israel and click on images. After King Abudullah is dead they plan to take part of Jordan. Zionists are not the true Jews. They are blood thirsty killing machine. How can Muslims not stand up to them? I am a Christian who supports the rights of both Jews and Palestine.

THIS IS THE LARGEST PRISON ON THE FACE OF THE EARTH; SHAME ON THE PEOPLE WHO ARE BENT ON RELIGION AND LAND GRABBING; EVENTUALLY THE O'MIGHTY SUPREME POWER WILL RESOLVE THIS ISSUE IN A JUST MANNER AND IT WOULD BE FALLEN ON THE OPPRESSOR IS A GUARANTEE THAT BEEN PROMISED BY GOD OF ALL RELIGIONS.

THE ARAB WORLD AND THEIR LEADERS ARE NOT WORRIED TO SEE THESE SHOCKING PICTURES. AGAIN THE ONLY WAY THAT A JUST PEACE CAN COME IN THAT REGION IS WHEN THE LEADERS OF THE ARAB WORLD CAN UNITE AND SPEAK WITH ONE VOICE. UNDER THE PRESENT BACK-BITING DIPLOMACY AND BETRYAL OF OF THEIR OWN, THE CARNAGE AND CHAOS WILL CONTINUE. WHAT ARE THEY GOING TO SAY NOW OR WILL THEY CONTINUE TO OBEY THE CEO'S. PEACE NOW OR NEVER.

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