- Title: One year on, Gaza-Israel border braces for large anniversary protests
- Date: 28th March 2019
- Summary: GAZA CITY, GAZA (RECENT) (REUTERS) ISRAELI FORCES FIRING TEAR GAS TOWARDS PALESTINIAN PROTESTERS ACROSS BORDER ORGANISER OF PROTESTS, ESAM HAMAD, TALKING TO CHILDREN AT BORDER AREA (SOUNDBITE) (English) ORGANISER OF PROTESTS, ESAM HAMAD, SAYING: "We did not imagine that we could go into violence or cut the wires and cross aggressively, no it wasn't at all our idea. Our idea was to wear white clothes and the United Nations flag and demand the implementation of the resolution and walk to our land in our places which we were expelled from." GIRLS TAKING SELFIE DURING BORDER PROTESTS PROTEST IN PROGRESS / AMBULANCES SEEN IN BACKGROUND (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) PALESTINIAN PROTESTER, QAWTHAR, SAYING: "Unfortunately, until now we haven't achieved anything, on the contrary. We hope to make gains and we will continue for a year, two years, three years and forever until we achieve our goals and until we get all our demands." SUNSET AT BORDER AREA GAZA CITY, GAZA (RECENT - MARCH 24, 2019) (REUTERS) (NIGHT SHOTS) REFLECTION OF AMBULANCE LIGHTS AMBULANCE DRIVING TOWARDS BORDER AREA MEDICAL WORKER SPEAKING ON INTERCOM INSIDE AMBULANCE MEDICAL WORKERS SPEAKING TO INJURED MAN NIGHT PROTEST AT BORDER AREA PALESTINIAN PROTESTER SWINGING FIRE VARIOUS OF PROTEST GAZA CITY, GAZA (RECENT) (REUTERS) FARMERS WORKING ON LAND IN BORDER AREA IRRIGATION SYSTEM IN FIELD FARMERS WORKING BIRDS FLYING ISRAELI WATCHTOWER AT BORDER AREA, ISRAELI BULLDOZER DRIVING PAST VARIOUS OF FARMERS CHECKING THEIR CROP (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) PALESTINIAN FARMER FROM GAZA, NASER ABU DAFF, SAYING: "The protesters during the march of return have been coming here for a year now. They come and destroy our trees and vegetables and leaves. And the (tear) gas fired by the Jews (Israeli forces) make us go back home dizzy and not feeling well." ROOFTOP VIEW OF ALNUSIERAT REFUGEE CAMP PEOPLE IN ALLEY AT REFUGEE CAMP
- Embargoed: 11th April 2019 16:55
- Keywords: Palestinians Gaza protests Israel border Gaza-Israel border anniversary protest
- Location: GAZA CITY, GAZA / ISRAEL-GAZA BORDER AND NATIV HAâ€™ASARA, ISRAEL
- City: GAZA CITY, GAZA / ISRAEL-GAZA BORDER AND NATIV HAâ€™ASARA, ISRAEL
- Country: Palestinian Territories
- Topics: Conflicts/War/Peace
- Reuters ID: LVA001A7XRNEV
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: A year on from the start of Gaza border protests that have proclaimed Palestinian defiance to the world but done little to ease Gaza's impoverishment, organisers have called for a "million-strong" anniversary march against Israel on Saturday (March 30).
That number is likely hyperbole for a 360 square kilometre (139 square mile) coastal enclave which has a population of 2 million, around 70 percent of them refugees and their descendants, according to the United Nations agency that deals with Palestinians.
But Israel is bracing for a mass turnout on the anniversary of what has become known as "The Great March of Return" - and has stationed tanks, cannon and troops along the fortified Gaza-Israel frontier.
Around 200 Palestinians have been killed and thousands wounded by Israeli live fire since the protests began on March 30 last year, say Gaza medical officials. And one Israeli soldier has been shot dead by a Palestinian sniper along the frontier, and another was killed during a botched undercover raid into Gaza.
The United Nations Human Rights Council on March 22 said Israeli security forces may have committed war crimes and crimes against humanity by using "excessive force".
But Israeli officials said their troops were defending the border, and denounced the report as showing "clear evidence of political bias against Israel."
The protests have become weekly - and sometimes daily - fixtures along the border and are popular among a young populace lacking productive alternatives. Also during the week protesters have been holding night protests aiming to keep Israeli forces busy day and night.
The protest organisers want a large turnout on the anniversary to increase pressure for economic relief to ease Gaza's economic woes.
Israel, which regards the protests as "riots" that provide cover for Hamas militants to breach the border fence, warned that its troops will stop anyone crossing.
Military commanders say the troops are defending the border and residents of nearby Israeli towns who live in daily fear of Palestinian rockets and militants infiltrating from Gaza through tunnels or breaches of the fence.
The protesters are demanding the right to return to land from which their ancestors fled or were forced to flee during Israel's founding in 1948. Israel rejects any such right, fearing it would lose its Jewish majority.
But the televised scenes of a high-tech military facing off against crowds of youths armed mostly with rocks or improvised kite- and balloon-borne firebombs bedevil Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government.
(Amichay, Shana, Rosenberg, Tsabari, Mustafa Abu Ganeyeh, Rinat Harash, Roleen Tafakji)
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