Palestinian Arabs March Violently, Set Tires On Fire

From the Jerusalem Post:
Thousands of Palestinians gathered along the Gaza border on Friday for the second week of protests that they have called the “Great Return March.” Amid warnings from Israel and the US to stay at least 500 meters from the border, Palestinians brought masses of tires to burn to shield their movements from the IDF. According to Gaza’s health ministry, by nightfall seven Palestinians had been killed and at least one thousand injured in the Friday protests and riots.

By ten in the morning, fires and black smoke were already lit and billowing at two places in the northern Gaza Strip near the town of Beit Hanoun. Hundreds of Palestinians could be seen on a road leading to the border, and food trucks and camping equipment festooned the road. Most of the Palestinians appeared to be onlookers. At a berm constructed by the IDF along the border, the army watched the burning tires and Palestinians.

Palestinian media reported that dozens of ambulances had deployed a “field hospital” near Bureij refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip. In Khan Yunis hundreds of men with tires were filmed. Shehab media’s twitter account claimed a Palestinian was wounded in Jabalia in the northern part of the Gaza Strip.

Closer to Gaza City the protesters achieved what they wanted around two in the afternoon when the winds shifted slightly and blew the smoke toward IDF positions. The army fired tear gas to keep some of the protesters back who had come closer to the fence. One young man could be seen on a mound of earth near the border waving a Palestinian flag before he was engulfed in the thick fumes. Another man threw a Molotov cocktail at the fence. Stun grenades and sniper fire could be heard. Israeli fire crews were deployed to try to spray water across the fence at the fires. A giant fan was also brought up to blow the smoke away, but neither were effective.

Palestinians on loud speakers chanted religious slogans and someone could be heard using a loudspeaker to give out gas masks and also sell food. The combination of the three symbolized the larger protest movement. Most of the thousands who came appeared to be onlookers, not interested in approaching the fence. In a major difference from last Friday, both the Palestinians and the IDF appeared to hold back. Last Friday 17 were killed.

Richard Kemp, a former commander of British forces in Afghanistan came to see the protests. “One thing people don’t appreciate if they haven’t seen it is that this is not a peaceful demonstration,” he said. Despite Hamas’s claims, he said that seeing the clashes close up revealed the reality. “This is a deliberate and specific intent by terrorist organizations to penetrate the state of Israel and kill civilians and the IDF has no option except to use lethal force to stop such a dangerous threat.”….

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