Palestinians in Gaza Strip prepare for mass protest starting on Friday

Source: Xinhua| 2018-03-28 22:22:37|Editor: pengying
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GAZA, March 28 (Xinhua) -- The Palestinians in the Gaza Strip started on Wednesday to prepare for the Great March of Return, which will kick off on Friday and last until May 15, Israel's Independence Day and the Palestinian's day of "the Nakba," or the catastrophe.

Activists erected tents along the border with Israel to prepare for the demonstration starting on Friday.

The Great March of Return, aimed at defying the Israeli blockade, is organized by a joint Palestinian committee, which comprises Palestinian political factions, right groups, youth and public sectors and organizations.

The organizers built up little hills of sands before the tents that will be erected in six major areas from southern to northern Gaza Strip, just 700 meters far from the fence of the borders with Israel, as a protection for the participants from any Israeli army gunfire, according to the organizers.

They said the main goal of the march is to remind the world of the Palestinian refugees' right to return back to their homes they were forced to leave in 1948, as well as defying a tight Israeli blockade that has been imposed on the coastal enclave since 2007, when Islamic Hamas movement had violently seized control of the territory.

Spokesman of the march, Ahmed Abu Rteima, told Xinhua Wednesday that "The march is a peaceful sit-in, where tents are to be erected along the border with Israel."

The demands of the demonstrators are legitimate and fair, which include returning to their homes in accordance with UN resolution 194, lifting the unjust Israeli siege and the rejection of American attempts to liquidate the Palestinian cause, he said.

He called on the UN to bear its responsibilities over obliging Israel to implement its Security Council resolutions, mainly the ones related to the right to return home, lifting the Israeli blockade and ending the suffering of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

"We want to return to our villages and cities so we will seek to embody our legitimate rights," said Abu Rteima, adding "if we cannot return we will stay on the eastern border in the event of a peaceful protest that will continue to send a message regarding the Israeli occupation's illegal presence on our land."

The Israeli army warned in a statement that "These demonstrations might be used as a cover to damage the security infrastructure or harm the Israeli citizens or soldiers."

An Israeli army spokesperson announced Wednesday that a 10-day closure will be imposed on the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, starting on Thursday.

All points of entry between the West Bank, Gaza, and Israel will be closed beginning on Thursday at 12:01 a.m. until next Saturday, April 7, at midnight, the military said.

The blockade was decided after "an evaluation of the security situation and the approval of the political echelon," a military spokesperson said without elaborating.

Violence between Israel and Gaza has been on the rise since U.S. President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel on December 6.

On Friday, mass demonstrations are expected to begin in Gaza. The protest is planned to culminate with a march to the fence separating between the besieged Palestinian enclave and Israel on May 15, Israel's Independence Day and the Palestinian's day of "the Nakba," or the catastrophe.