Israeli anti-occupation activists demonstrate in the heart of Tel Aviv in solidarity with Palestinians taking part in the Great Return March and against the continuing blockade on Gaza.
Hundreds of Israeli activists demonstrated in solidarity with Gaza protesters Saturday evening outside the IDF headquarters in Tel Aviv, marking Land Day and one year since the beginning of the Great March of Return protests. The protesters waved Palestinian flags and held signs in support of the Palestinian right of return while chanting against the 11-year blockade of the strip.
The demonstration came hours after tens of thousands of Palestinians protested at several locations along the fence surrounding the Gaza Strip. Israeli troops used live ammunition, rubber-coated metal bullets, and tear gas to try and disperse demonstrators who approached the fence. According to the Gaza Ministry of Health, Israeli snipers killed three 17-year-old boys during the protests, and more than 300 others were wounded, including five who were in critical condition.
Adham Amara, 17, was shot and killed east of Gaza City, and Bilal Mahmoud Najjar and Tamer Aby el-Khair, both 17, were shot in east of Khan Yunis and died later at the hospital. A fourth man, Mohammad Saed, was killed along the fence before the protests began Saturday morning.
Over 200 Palestinians have been killed and another 13,000 wounded by Israeli security forces since the Great Return March began on the Israel-Gaza border in March of last year.
The protests came as Israel and Hamas, the Palestinian group that rules Gaza, were said to be nearing “understandings” about a cease-fire following a tense several weeks that saw rockets fired at Tel Aviv and Israeli bombing raids across Gaza. Hamas’ demands reportedly focused on easing the blockade, while one of Israel’s central demands was that Hamas rein back the weekly protests along the fence.