Palestinians to stage mass protests for second week with tensions on edge

Palestinians to stage mass protests for second week with tensions on edge

Tens of thousands of Palestinians will begin the second week of a six-week long protest along the Gaza-Israel border today.

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Photo: Jack Guez/AFP/Getty

Tens of thousands of Palestinians will begin the second week of a six-week long protest along the Gaza-Israel border today. Eighteen people have been killed and over 1000 wounded since protests began last Friday.

Protesters are demanding that Israel allow those displaced by the state’s creation in 1948 to return to their once-home and condemning the Israeli-Egyptian blockade of the Gaza strip, which has caused living conditions there to deteriorate drastically since 2007. Israel, which will not allow those displaced to return for fear of losing its Jewish majority, claims the protests are a Hamas-led attempt to impair its sovereignty.

Tensions along the Israel-Gaza border fence have ramped up this year after a bomb exploded in February, injuring four Israeli soldiers. After Israel’s Defence Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, vowed an identical response of last week’s protests to today’s demonstrations, it is likely the death and injury toll will rise even further.

Amid little interest from the international community, the current humanitarian crisis in the Gaza strip could reach a violent crescendo. Indeed, with protests to culminate on May 15—the anniversary of the 1948 Arab-Israeli war—the border violence could steadily evolve into another intifada.

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