300 meters in Gaza: Snipers, burning tires and a fence

A protest in Khan Younis on Mar 30. The photographer, Yasser Murtaja, was killed by an Israeli sniper in the same location the following week. (photo: Yasser Murtaja, Ain Media)

A fence that divides Israel and Gaza has become the latest flashpoint in the decades-old conflict.

By David Halbfinger, Iyad Abuheweila and Jugal Patel | The New York Times | Apr 13, 2018

Most Gazans are Palestinian refugees or their descendants, and marching on the fence highlights their desire to reclaim the lands and homes from which they were displaced 70 years ago in the war surrounding Israel’s creation.

A fence that divides Israel and Gaza has become the latest flashpoint in the decades-old conflict, with Israeli soldiers unleashing lethal force against mostly unarmed Arab protesters who have been demonstrating every Friday for the past several weeks.

The image above shows how each side is arrayed in Khan Younis, one of five demonstration sites where 34 Palestinians have been killed since the protests began nearly three weeks ago.

The protests resumed on Friday, and the Palestinians plan to keep the weekly protests going with large turnouts until May 15, when many plan to try to cross the fence en masse. The Gazans are protesting Israel’s blockade, which has been choking off the impoverished coastal strip for more than 10 years. They also want to reassert the rights of refugees and their descendants to reclaim their ancestral lands in Israel, 70 years after hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were displaced.

In Israel’s view, there is nothing benign about the Palestinian claim of a right of return. It would amount to the destruction of Israel by demographic means. And they see the protests as providing cover for violent attacks.

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