The Army Chief of Israel has stated that more than 100 sharpshooters have been deployed along the Gaza border to counter the plan of Palestinians protests along the Gaza border. The protest organizers have stated that they expect many volunteers along with their entire families for the protest. The people will be staying in tent cities in five locations all along the border for 6 weeks to forward their demand of the right of return of Palestinian refugees to Israel.
The Israeli military has enforced a no-go zone for Palestinians on land in Gaza adjacent to Israel’s border fencing due to rising security concerns. Lieutenant-General Gadi Eizenkot the Chief of Staff of Israeli military has stated that Israeli military will not allow or tolerate any damage to the barrier fencing on border or attempts of mass infiltration during the protests. The deployed of 100 sharpshooters who have been called on from different units, along the border is a clear message that in any case of violations which puts lives at risk, they are being instructed to fire.
Palestinians have resorted to frequent protests along the Gaza border. The Israeli military has often resorted to using of rubber bullets, live ammunition or tear gas to disperse them if they turn violent and make use of rocks or petrol bullets.
The latest protest finds the support of many Palestinian factions and also the dominant Islamist Hamas movement. UN Special Contributor for Middle-East peace process Nickolay Mladenov has urged restraint on both sides and has especially urged that children should not be put at risk at any cost and by anyone.
The destruction of attacking tunnels of Hamas by Israel near the border areas along with deteriorating economic conditions in Gaza have mounted pressure on Hamas to act- as they had avoided any direct confrontation since 2014 after the Gaza War.
The start of the protest and the demonstrations are symbolically linked to the ‘Land Day’ which stands for memory of six Arab citizens from Israel in 1976 who had been killed by the Israeli security due to land confiscations. The Jewish holiday of Passover which marks a fostering of security by Israel will also commence on Friday. The protest will end on May 15 on the day of ‘Nakba’ or ‘Catastrophe’ which marks the displacement of hundreds of Palestinians in 1948 at the time of creation of Israel.
Palestinians demand the right to return for nearly 5 million Arabs which have been outrightly turned down by Israel as it fears the incoming of Arabs will affect the Jewish majority in Israel.