Palestinians kick off 6-week protest at Israel border; 1 dead, many injured in violence
Several thousands of Palestinians in Gaza kicked off their six-week-long protest called the Great March of Return on Friday, March 30, after marching towards the Israel border. It was on this day in 1976 that the policemen of Israel shot dead six Palestinian citizens of Israel while they protested Tel Aviv's expropriation of huge Palestinian land.
March 30 has since been remembered as Palestine Land Day and is seen as an important date in Palestinian's political life. It is symbolic of Palestine's resistance to Israel's occupation.
On Friday, Palestinian officials said dozens of people on their side were injured in a gunfire near Jabaliya in northern Gaza strip and Rafah in the south. They had also reported before the protest about the death of a farmer in tank fire. The Israeli military, on the other hand, reported about "rioting" in as many as six places and defended the firing, saying it was aimed at the "main instigators".
The Palestinians have set up five camps near the Israel border for the six-week protest. The killing of the farmer drew a strong reaction from Hamas, the militant group that dominates the Gaza Strip, which accused the Israelis of intimidating the protesters and urging them not to join the protests.
The Israeli foreign ministry also let know its strong stand on the issue, saying the protest was a "deliberate attempt to provoke a confrontation with Israel" and held Hamas and other Palestinian organisations taking part in the protest for being solely responsible for the clashes.
The current protest is scheduled to conclude on May 15 or Nakba Day, a date which is again a memorable one for the Palestinians. It was on this day in 1948 that several thousand Palestinians were displaced over the creation of Israel.