Tuesday, 18 December, 2018

Israel comes out swinging against Hamas ahead of Gaza protests

Twitter Image found on hacked sites in Israel on Tuesday night April 3 2018 Twitter Image found on hacked sites in Israel on Tuesday night April 3 2018
Ellis Copeland | 06 April, 2018, 09:23

Israeli Defense Forces' aircraft opened fire Wednesday night on an armed Palestinian near the border fence in the northern Gaza Strip, says a statement from IDF spokesperson.

Eighteen Palestinians were killed when Israeli forces opened fire on a crowd that massed on the border for a demonstration called the "March of Return" last week on Land Day, an annual commemoration of a 1976 protest against Israeli confiscation of Arab-owned land.

B'Tselem has never before called on soldiers to refuse orders, but believes firing on Palestinians who pose no imminent threat to the lives of Israeli forces is "manifestly illegal", said spokesman Amit Gilutz.

Looking at images of Israeli drones dropping tear gas on the protesters in Gaza this week, Francesco Sebregondi, an architect who investigates war crimes for the research group Forensic Architecture, observed that "tear gas is without debate considered a chemical weapon - hence banned from military arsenals".

The Return rallies culminate on May 15, the day Palestinians commemorate Nakba Day (Day of Catastrophe) when hundreds of thousands fled or were driven out of their homes in 1948 and Israel was created. Hamas said on Thursday it would pay $3,000 to the family of anyone killed in the protests, $500 for critically injuries and $200 for more minor injuries.

Between January 2017 and February 2018, Israeli authorities put 102 Palestinian children, a lot of them from Jerusalem, under house arrest, citing an increase of 15.5 per cent compared to the same period in 2016.

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The protests come on the heels of months of anger over US President Donald Trump's decision to move the American embassy to Jerusalem, largely perceived as the United States rejecting Palestinian claims to East Jerusalem as their capital as part of a two-state solution.

The Hamas security agency appealed to the demonstrators to "cooperate with the instructions of the organizers" of the March of Return.

United Nations officials and rights groups say the blockade amounts to collective punishment of the coastal strip's two million residents.

Despite the precautions Israel will take to protect civilians, Nuriel predicted "another bloody weekend", with the Gaza-based terrorist organization Hamas, which is in complete control of the Strip, marching to the border, using the civilian population as human shields. They have stressed its peaceful character and commitment to civil disobedience.

The latest deaths on Thursday brings to 21 the number of Palestinian dead from a week of protests.

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