Another Week of Palestinian Protests Sees Sixteen Protesters Wounded
More shots are fired as Palestinians continue their protests in the Great March of Return.
On Friday, the Israeli army shot and wounded sixteen Palestinian protesters on the 59th week of border protests during Palestinian’s Great March of Return.
Medical sources in Gaza suggested that among those wounded are a journalist and a volunteer paramedic, who were hit by tear gas canisters. The injuries were by live bullets, rubber-coated steel bullets and tear gas. They all received first aid on the spot, medics reported.
It is unclear what prompted the Israeli army shooting, but the Times of Israel reported that fires had ravaged Israel in recent days and Israeli officials were looking into whether incendiary balloons launched from Gaza were the cause. Officials were also looking into electrical faults, Lag B’Omer holiday bonfires and arson on the ground.
The Times of Israel also reported this week’s protest were less intense than usual and had a lower turnout, some 4,000 Palestinians protested on Friday. The Palestinian protest began in March 2018, when the Great March or Return was launched. Friday’s protest came after Israeli media reported on Monday that Isreal and the ruling Hamas party in Gaza had agreed to a six-month ceasefire with the help of Egyptian mediators.
However, in response to the news of the ceasefire, both Israel and Hamas denied reaching an Egyptian-mediated six-month truce, which allegedly stipulated a halt of weekly border protests, in return for Israeli ease of the blockade, including the marine siege, in place since 2007.
Vow That Protests Will Continue
Earlier on Friday, organizers of the Great March of Return had called on protesters in five border locations to stay inside tents in order to avoid harm from unprecedented temperature highs in the territory and to avert clashes with Israeli border troopers.
One of Hamas’ political leaders in Gaza, Ismail Redwan, told crowds in eastern Gaza City that all protests will continue unabated, until the Israeli blockade of Gaza is lifted, once and for all.
In his public speech, the Hamas leader insisted that the Palestinian border protests, as part of the Great March of Return, will thwart any peace plan that does not live up to the national aspirations of the Palestinian people. His speech referred to the so-called deal of the century – a peace plan expected to be proposed soon by the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump.