LIVE BLOG: 15 Palestinians killed, scores injured in Gaza protests
Jack GUEZ (AFP)
Fifteen mainly young Palestinians were killed and hundreds more injured by Israeli fire on Friday as thousands of Palestinian protesters surged towards Israel from inside the Gaza Strip in some of the largest demonstrations seen in years.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said 30,000 Palestinians were taking part of the planned rallies endorsed by all Palestinian factions to mark 'Land Day', which commemorates the killing of six unarmed Arab protesters in Israel in 1976.
Calling it the 'Great March of Return,' protesters were demanding hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees who fled or were expelled during the war surrounding Israel's creation in 1948 be allowed to return.
Gaza's health ministry said 1416 people had presented themselves for medical treatment, with injuries ranging from tear gas exposure to bullet wounds. The Red Crescent medical service earlier said more than 200 people were wounded from live fire.
The Friday protests kick off six weeks of protests, to climax on May 14, when the United States will cut the ribbon on its new embassy in Jerusalem.
The NGO said "soldiers firing across the Gaza fence raises serious questions about Israel's longstanding use of live ammunition to police demonstrations."
"Israeli allegations of violence by some protesters do not change the fact that using lethal force is banned by international law except to meet an imminent threat to life."
The meeting, to be held at the request of Kuwait, will begin at 6:30 pm (2230 GMT), the diplomat said on condition of anonymity.
Hamas murders civilians, advocates genocide, calls for our destruction, and right now is attempting to infiltrate into Israel. None of this advances peace.— David Keyes (@DavidKeyesPMO) March 30, 2018
- He holds Israel responsible for today's events
- Requests that the 'international community' intervene to protect 'our unarmed people'
Secretary General Ahmad Abul Gheit said Israel is responsible for "those souls that were annihilated," according to a statement cited by Kuwait's official news agency KUNA.
"Terrorism will not only suppress the Palestinians," he was quoted as saying, referring to Israel, but would "make the situation explode just like what happened today."
In 1948 his family fled the village of Majdal, on the site of what is now the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon, not far from the Gaza border.
"I feel that these tents are similar to the white tents that were set up for us after they made us flee," he told the news agency.
Government spokesman Mohammad Momani was quoted as saying by the official Petra news agency that Amman holds "Israel accountable as the occupation power behind today's violations and for using 'excessive force' against peaceful protesters who were marching to commemorate the Land Day and affirm their legitimate rights in accordance with international law and norms."
He "urged the international community to pressure Israel to abide by its obligations as the occupying power and address the humanitarian crisis the coastal territory has been experiencing for years now."
It put the number of injured at 1416, which includes everyone who presented themselves for treatment throughout the day.
"Two terrorists approached the fence and fired at our forces. Our forces reacted immediately with small arms and tank fire towards the terrorists and Hamas positions nearby," the statement said.
An Israeli warplane was also used in the strike, the army said.
The military accused Hamas of using the protests as cover to carry out terror activities.
Abdel Khader-Hajri, 42, Sari Walid Abu Odeh and Hamdan Ismail Abu Amsa.
Odeh and Amsa were killed in the Beit Hanoun area and their ages were not given.
"We mourn the martyrs of our great people and we tell their families that our people shall not surrender. The global conscious must acknowledge that history will ultimately stand with the rights of peoples, and land is at the core of these rights."
- The number of participants in Gaza has soared to 30,000
- The military has information that a 'terror attack' is planned during the demonstration
- Two of those killed were Hamas 'special forces' members
"We strongly condemn Israel's use of disproportionate force against Palestinians during the peaceful protests today in Gaza," the statement quoted by AFP said.
"It is necessary that Israel rapidly ends use of force that would further raise the tensions in the region," it said. "We are inviting the international community to fulfil its responsibility to convince Israel to give up on its hostile attitude."
Another 456 were wounded in Gaza as reported by the Palestinian Red Crescent.
The military said that across six locations "Palestinians burn tires, throw Molotov cocktails and stones at the fence and IDF forces."
The army said it made sure she was returned to her parents.
The total number of those injured includes all who were treated, including for gas inhalation.
The pamphlet added that the residents are being used as a scapegoat for terrorist purposes
"Hamas sacrifices you to develop its meaningless goals instead of spending money for your well-being. DO NOT HAMAS TO USE YOU," it read in highlighted text. "You deserve a better future than the future Hamas has planned for you."
The IDF said it holds Hamas 'responsible for all the events and their consequences," adding the "terror organization endangers the residents of the Gaza Strip and turns them into cover for terrorist acts."
A second Palestinian was wounded by tank fire near Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip.