The National Committee for the March of Return and Breaking the Siege called on Saturday for “a major gathering” in the border region between Israel and the Gaza Strip and at “friction points” between Israeli security forces and Palestinians in the West Bank on Monday, the same day the US is slated to relocate its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
“The National Committee for the March of Return and Breaking the Siege calls on our people to undertake a major gathering in the eastern parts of the Gaza Strip and at friction points with the occupation in the occupied West Bank, starting at 10 in the morning on Monday,” the committee said in a statement that Islamic Jihad leader Khaled al-Batsh read aloud at a press conference in Gaza.
The committee, which includes members of Hamas, Islamic Jihad, other factions and independent personalities, has played a large role in organizing protests in the border region between Israel and Gaza.
Since March 30, protests have taken place, especially on Fridays, in the border region between Israel and the coastal enclave.
The IDF has described the protests as “violent riots,” asserting that protesters have thrown Molotov cocktails and rocks at its soldiers, opened fire on them, set tires on fire and attempted to pass through Israel’s borders.
Since the beginning of the protests, Israeli security forces have killed more than 40 Palestinians in the region, many of who were identified by the IDF as being members of armed groups.
Hamas chief in Gaza Yahya Sinwar told a group of Palestinian youth last Wednesday that May 14 and 15 will be “two crucial days in Palestinian history.”
Following the embassy move on May 14, Palestinians will mark what they call the “Nakba,” meaning “catastrophe,” referring to the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in the conflict surrounding the creation of Israel in 1948.
In a meeting with foreign journalists last Thursday, Sinwar hinted that thousands of Palestinians could run through the border fence that separates Israel and Gaza, according to The Independent and several other news outlets.
“What’s the problem if hundreds of thousands storm this fence, which is not a border of a state? What’s the problem with that?” Sinwar asked.
Israeli security officials have said Palestinians in Gaza who approach the border fence are putting their lives in jeopardy.
Isam Bakr, a prominent activist in Ramallah, said in a phone call that protests and marches will also take place all around the West Bank and in Jerusalem on Monday and Tuesday.
According to Bakr, there will be two main marches on Monday in the West Bank towards the northern and southern entrances to Jerusalem and a protest in Jerusalem.
A PA security official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told The Jerusalem Post last Tuesday that the PA security forces want to preserve calm in the West Bank.
“We want to maintain calm and stability and we plan to do that in the upcoming weeks. We do not have an interest in returning to the destruction of the Second Intifada,” the official said. However, the official contended that if PA President Mahmoud Abbas decides to back “major protests,” there would be “little the security forces could do to prevent clashes” between Palestinians and Israeli security forces.
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