Violence subsides on Israel-Gaza border a day after protest

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With the idea to protest Israel's more than decade-long blockade of Gaza and highlight Palestinian demands for a right of return to the lands that became Israel 70 years ago, The Palestinian organizers had called for peaceful protests, referred to as the Great March of Return or the March of the Million.

And tensions could be much, much higher by May 15, as it will also be one day after the USA says it will have officially moved its embassy to Jerusalem - a Trump administration plan which has enraged Palestinians and effectively ended US involvement in any peace process, though the State Department says the "deeply saddened" by violence on Friday.

More than 1,400 people were wounded, mostly by bullets but also rubber-coated rounds and tear-gas inhalation, the health ministry said.

Suhad Bishara, a lawyer with Adalah, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, told Newsweek that the bodies of two protesters killed in the clashes had been seized by the Israeli military and not returned to their families.

Fifteen of the wounded died, said the ministry spokesperson Dr Ashraf al-Qidra.

The protest organisers include Hamas, the armed Islamist movement that dominates Gaza and representatives of other Palestinian factions.

Meanwhile, an IDF spokesman warned on Saturday that Israel will continue to target terrorist groups inside Gaza if the violence along border with Israel drags on.

Previously in 2016, Sanders criticized Israel for using "disproportionate" violence during the 2014 Gaza war, which killed 2,130 Palestinian in the conflict and destroyed infrastructure and residential buildings in the city.

On Friday, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry condemned the Israeli use of violence against Palestinian unarmed protesters and urged the worldwide community for earnest and urgent efforts to find a comprehensive and just settlement for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

Violence subsides on Israel-Gaza border a day after protest
Violence subsides on Israel-Gaza border a day after protest

"Schools, universities, as well as all government institutions, across the country will be off on Saturday, as per President Mahmoud Abbas' decision to declare a day of national mourning for the souls of the martyrs", a statement issued on Friday said.

Gaza resident Ghanem Abdelal, 50, said he hopes the protest "will bring a breakthrough, an improvement, to our life in Gaza".

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for an independent inquiry into Friday's violence in Gaza that left at least 17 Palestinians dead and more than 1,400 injured.

"It is not a peaceful demonstration", an Israeli military official told journalists.

Manelis said those killed were individuals known to have ties to Hamas and other militant groups in Gaza, and were involved in direct attempts to harm soldiers or to damage the Israeli border fence, like opening fire toward troops and attempts to cut through the fence and light it on fire with burning tires or firebombs.

The Palestinians on Saturday accused the USA of blocking a UNSC statement on the situation in the Gaza Strip and said Washington's objection encourages Israel to continue its aggressive action against the Palestinian people.

The embassy move has deeply angered the Palestinians, who see Jerusalem's annexed eastern sector as the capital of their future state. The events of that time are called the "nakba", or "catastrophe", by Palestinians.

Tanks and snipers were deployed, and witnesses said a drone was used to drop tear gas in at least one location.