The Great March of Return is a protest lead by as many as 30,000 Palestinians near the Gaza border. The Israeli military had doubled its troops for this protest and even fears that this protest will lead to a “mass breach” of the border. The Palestinians were protesting against Israel’s blockade of the territory of Gaza’s border with Israel. They wanted to return back to their homes, which are located in Israel.
However, things took a turn for the worse as some Palestinians began hurling stones among other things (such as Molotov cocktails and advancing burning tires) towards the troops. Molotov cocktails are bottles filled with flammable liquid such as petrol and covered with a piece of cloth on top that is then set on fire and thrown. The Israeli soldier’s response was with tear gas and gunfire. So far, 16 Palestinians have died and many more hundreds injured throughout the protests.
An 18-year old protester named Mohammad Obaid stated, “We can bring back our lands with the power of guns and weapons, not with a march, a stone or a knife.” This incident, which happened Friday, is one of the worst ever in the past several years. The call to protest had been over a sensitive topic that has been covered a lot recently in the media. It was over the land itself, as the Palestinians want to return to a land which became to be called Israel 70 years ago.
The protest comes at a time at which the civilians involved were particularly fueled — the Jewish people began to prepare for Passover, while the Palestinians marked the anniversary of the events which occurred on March 30, 1976. On that day, six Palestinians were killed on what is now commemorated as “Land Day.” The Palestinian organizers for the event wanted the protest to last as a six-week campaign, culminating in the eventual mass march towards Israel. However, what this mark of rebellion has proved to be devastating as the Israeli military is being put on edge by the mark of events.
Tensions have also grown between the two sides as recently Palestinian militants have placed explosives along the border, with some cutting through the fence that separates the two (which has in turn worried many of the local communities in the area).
Hopefully, as time goes on, these incidents can sizzle down instead of turning out to be greater problems. My hope is that both the Palestinians and Israelis will be able to work a solution out effectively while still being able to respect each other.
Photo: Jack Guez/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images