Israel reopens Gaza crossings after week of hostilities

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Palestinians marked the 43rd anniversary of Land's Day on March 30 with mass marches and massive public events.

The Great March of Return protests, which have been going on weekly since they began a year ago, call for the right of return of Palestinian refugees and their descendants to the territory of today's Israel, and for an end to the 12-year-long blockade imposed by Israel. The leaders also condemned US President Donald Trump's move to recognise Israel's sovereignty over the occupied Golan Heights.

The reopening of the Kerem Shalom and Erez crossings Sunday morning suggests Israeli and Hamas officials are committed to the calm, and means goods will flow once more to Gaza from Israel.

In keeping with this official Israeli mindset that Palestinians only respond to force, some Israeli ministers chose Saturday to incite further violence and escalation.

We spoke to protesters, medical personnel and member of the Great return march committee of women regarding the movement for the right to return of Palestinians and the response by Israeli occupation forces.

Confrontations have mounted ahead of the anniversary.

Egyptian negotiators have been in Gaza this week trying to broker a deal that would offer to Palestinians better electricity, expanded fishing zones, fuel for power stations and foreign financial aid.

The blockade is cited by humanitarian agencies as a key reason for impoverishment in the narrow coastal enclave into which 2 million Palestinians are packed.

In another sign of the confrontation easing - as Egyptian mediators pushed on for a full ceasefire - Palestinians said Israel would on Monday nearly double the breadth of Mediterrean waters where they are permitted to fish.

Israel and Hamas have fought three wars, most recently in 2014.

Security has been a prominent issue in the build-up to Israeli elections due on April 9.

But in public remarks on Thursday, he said Israel would would only undertake a broad military campaign in Gaza after exhausting all other options. Protester Amer Balousha, a 27-year-old unemployed law school graduate, said he and others were mistreated in Hamas detention but will not be deterred. My father is unemployed so I will be unable to go to university. One can only imagine what the "most moral army in the Middle East" would have done had the protests been less restrained! Israel has sealed off the narrow Gaza Strip due to security concerns, which affects almost every aspect of life here, from food to electricity to the ability to freely come and go. "The circumstances are still being checked", a spokesperson for the region said, as cited by The Times of Israel. "But as we have seen with Israel's military build-up along the Gaza border, this could be a risky strategy".

In February a United Nations probe said Israeli soldiers had intentionally fired on civilians in what could constitute war crimes. Soldiers stopped the boys, gave them water, and then returned them to Gaza through an official border crossing.

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