Published: Sat, May 12, 2018
Global Media | By Jackie Banks

Stand for Gaza: Pro-Palestine & Pro-Israel Protesters Face off in London

Stand for Gaza: Pro-Palestine & Pro-Israel Protesters Face off in London

Israeli soldiers fired tear gas volleys from the other side of the border fence.

A senior IDF security official warned that next week's Gaza protests, set to coincide with Nakba Day ('The Catastrophe in Arabic) and the United States embassy move, are expected to be the most violent of the string of protests to date, Haaretz reported on Friday.

Ziad Elaloul, Spokesperson for the Popular Conference for Palestinians Abroad said Trump's decision to move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem on the 14th of May is meant to challenge the worldwide community which already rejected the decision.

Sinwar said the mass protest would be "decisive", and declared that he and other top Hamas officials were "ready to die" in a campaign to end the blockade. "We are used to confronting the (Israeli) occupation with our bare chests", he said, a Palestinian flag draped around his head.

One man walked onto the stage with an effigy of US President Donald Trump dangling from a noose.

The mass protests are being encouraged by the terror group Hamas, which rules Gaza, and whose leaders say their goal is the erase the border and "liberate Palestine".

There are growing concerns that if Israel and Hamas dig in, a widespread border breach in coming days could lead to large numbers of casualties.

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The incursion took place during the "Great March of Return" protest which Palestinians have organised every Friday for six-weeks on Gaza's border with Israel. Many have been shot and killed by Israeli snipers. Israel says this is vital to prevent Hamas - which has fought three rounds of conflict against Israel since seizing Gaza, firing thousands of rockets into Israel and digging dozens of attack tunnels under the border - from importing weaponry. Rights group say the use of potentially lethal force against unarmed protesters is unlawful.

Clashes were also reported in the West Bank.

The ceremony is scheduled as part of the 70th anniversary of Israel's declaration of independence, on the eve of what Palestinians commemorate as the Nakba Day, or "Day of the Catastrophe", in memory of the forcible transfer of two thirds of the Palestinian people and ethnic cleansing of at least 418 villages as a result of the 1948 war. Cooking gas and fuel, which are delivered to Gaza through Kerem Shalom on a daily basis, are the first and most essential items likely to be affected.

Palestinians in Gaza have been staging weekly protests at the border fence against a decade-old blockade of the territory. Some flew kites with burning rags attached.

The Israeli military said protesters also threw pipe bombs and grenades toward Israeli soldiers and damaged the fence. The army later said the strike targeted a tunnel. Helping reinforce the Israeli blockade, Egypt has kept the Rafah crossing point, Gaza's main gate to the outside world, closed most of the time since the Hamas takeover. The upcoming opening was framed as a humanitarian gesture ahead of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, which begins next week.

More than two million people are packed into the narrow coastal enclave of Gaza, where poverty and unemployment rates are high.

It was the seventh weekly protest, and a preview of what is expected to be a much larger border rally on Monday and Tuesday.

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