Israel has given a tough response to the Gaza protests with killing of 15 people and wounding many hundreds. Gaza observed a national day of mourning for all those who died in the Israeli firing. While Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has blamed Israel for the killing of its citizens, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has defended the response of his military by saying that latter opened fire as a last resort to protect the sovereignty and security of its border and citizens.
Palestinian protestors had completely ignored the calls of Israeli military and the protest organizers to not to go near the border. The youth started throwing stones, firebombs and rolling burning tyres towards the border. So, the army which first fired tear gas and rubber bullets ultimately started firing at the protestors who were instigating further violence. The firing led to the death of 15 people, 5 of whom were later stated to be members of the armed wing of Hamas while Israeli side stated that all 15 were members of Hamas which is considered as a terrorist outfit by both Israel and the West.
Thousands of Palestinians had gathered along the border where the organisers had erected tents for a protest which was planned for six weeks. The protest was to demand a right of return of Palestinians to Israel. The protest which began on the Land Day is scheduled to continue till the Nakba or Catastrophe which marks the day when many Palestinians were driven from their homes in 1948 during the creation of Israel. Israel has always denied any right of return of Arabs to their country as they fear this will undermine the Jewish population in the Jewish nation. It instead has always reinforced that the refugees should settle in the future state which the Palestinians seek in West-Bank and Gaza under the current occupation of Israel. The Peace talks on the issue have been stalled since 2014 although Israel had withdrawn its troops from Gaza in 2005. There are no signs of any thaw in near future.
Israel military has stated that Hamas was using the protests to mask their attacks on Israel and the violence is likely to continue till May. It added that the military will not keep responding in pointed responses to individual terrorist acts but will not hesitate to respond inside the Gaza territory. UN Secretary-General has asked for an independent inquiry into the incident.
Amid the funerals of the those dead, the protest has considerably shrunk with a smaller number of people.