Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip have planned a six-week protest near the border with Israel, in solidarity with Palestinian refugees.
Israel, for its part, has also made preparations for the protest, by issuing an order to deploy, near the area of the protest, around 100 snipers — with permission to open fire.
The protest, entitled "Return March" or "March of Return," will begin on March 30, when six Arab citizens of Israel were killed at the hands of Israeli forces in 1976. It was the day when Arabs, Israelis and Palestinians marched in protest after the Israeli government announced expropriation of Arab-owned land for military and settlement purposes.
It is due to end on May 15, another historically significant day for the Palestinians, who refer it to as the “Nakba” or “catastrophe." The day marks the expulsion and displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians during the creation of Israel in 1948.
The planned march aims to commemorate the killing of the six Arab citizens of Israel as well as the expulsion of millions of Palestinian refugees, who are scattered across the world and cannot return to their original land, which now is Israel.
Hasan Al-Kurd, who is one of the 20 organizers of the protest, told +972 magazine that Palestinians will make sure violence doesn't escalate on their part. Thousands are expected to participate, including families.
Meanwhile, Israeli military’s chief of staff, Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eizenkot, told the Israeli Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper, Israeli soldiers have been ordered to open fire in case "lives are in jeopardy."
Now, the order could be very problematic, considering the Israeli military's definition of "life in jeopardy" is quite problematic. Israel Defense Forces soldiers have fatally shot Palestinian minors throwing stones, an unarmed Palestinian double amputee in a wheelchair participating in a protest and even an incapacitated unarmed Palestinian lying wounded on the ground.
TheDF has also instructed its troops to shoot at anyone who tries to breach the border fence between Israel and Gaza.
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Banner/Thumbnail: REUTERS/Amir Cohen