- Title: Gaza factions soften stance over border protests
- Date: 26th December 2019
- Summary: GAZA CITY, GAZA (FILE - SEPTEMBER 7, 2018) (REUTERS) PROTESTERS GATHERED AT BORDER AREA FOR WEEKLY RALLY CALLING FOR RETURN OF WHAT THEY SAY IS THEIR LAND / SMOKE RISING KITES LIT ON FIRE FLYING OVER BORDER AREA PROTESTERS GATHERED / SMOKE RISING FROM BURNING TYRES PALESTINIAN FLAG FLYING / PEOPLE AND CARS DRIVING IN BACKGROUND VARIOUS OF PALESTINIANS GATHERED AT PROTEST / SMOKE RISING KITE FLYING OVER BORDER AREA PROTESTERS GATHERED AT BORDER / SMOKE FROM TYRES RISING PEOPLE LOOKING TOWARDS PROTEST AT BORDER AREA PALESTINIAN FLAG FLYING / CACTUS IN FOREGROUND
- Embargoed: 9th January 2020 15:02
- Keywords: Gaza Israel Palestinians Wajeh Abu Zarifa border protests protests
- Location: GAZA CITY, GAZA
- City: GAZA CITY, GAZA
- Country: Palestinian Territories
- Topics: Conflicts/War/Peace
- Reuters ID: LVA002BBM3A6F
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Palestinians in Gaza will scale back protests along the fortified border with Israel, factions in the strip said on Thursday (December 26), in a sign of a lasting dÃ©tente between Israel and Gaza's Islamist rulers Hamas along the volatile frontier.
For nearly 20 months, Palestinians have held weekly demonstrations dubbed the "Great March of Return," which have often turned violent as people throw rocks and firebombs at Israeli troops who respond by shooting with live fire.
Gaza medical officials say 214 Palestinians have been killed since the Friday protests began in March 2018. In that period, an Israeli soldier was shot dead by a Palestinian sniper on the border during the demonstrations. However, the protests have tapered off in recent months.
Analysts attribute the decline to diplomatic efforts by Egypt, Qatar and the United Nations to fend off a wider escalation between Israel and Hamas.
The Higher National Committee, a collection of Gaza-based factions and civil society organisations which organise the protests, said there will be a protest this Friday (December 27) but that demonstrations thereafter would only be held monthly and on national occasions.
The protesters have called for an end to a security blockade imposed on Gaza by Israel and Egypt, and for Palestinians to have the right to return to land from which their families fled or were forced to flee during Israel's 1948 founding.
Israel rejects any such return, saying that would eliminate its Jewish majority.
Israel seized Gaza in a 1967 war and pulled out its settlers and troops in 2005. It says its blockade is necessary to stop weapons reaching Hamas, which fought three wars with Israel and fired thousands of rockets at it in the past decade.
(Production: Roleen Tafakji, Arafat Barbakh, Nehad Khalil)
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