Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday called for children participating in protests near the Gaza Strip’s frontier with Israel to be kept away from the fence between the two territories.
In the last several weeks, especially on Fridays, protests have occurred on the Gaza border to support the return of Palestinians to their ancestral and former homes in Israel.
“Keep the children away,” Abbas said in a speech at a meeting of the Palestinian National Council, a top PLO body. “We do not want to become a people of disabilities. We will go out, protest and do everything, but it is not necessary to send [the children] to the [fence] to be shot and killed. I don’t want the upcoming generation to be a handicapped generation.”
Since the protests started, security forces have killed at least 45 Palestinians on the border and wounded thousands of others, according to the Hamas-run Health Ministry in Gaza. Many of the killed and wounded were shot near the security fence.
The IDF has described the protests as “a violent riot,” saying participants have thrown Molotov cocktails and rocks at soldiers, opened fire on them, set tires on fire to provide cover for attacks and attempted to pass into Israel’s borders.
Security officials have warned protesters that approaching the border fence puts their lives in jeopardy.
Local and international rights groups and Palestinian officials have accused Israel of targeting and using “excessive force” against “unarmed civilians.”
The protests are slated to continue in the coming weeks.
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