Hamas has distributed payments to Palestinians injured and to the families of those killed in protests in the border region between the Gaza Strip and Israel, Hamas spokesman Hazim Qassim said on Thursday.
Palestinians critically and moderately injured received $500 and $200, respectively, while families of those killed were given $3,000, Qassim said, according to a report on the Islamist movement’s official website.
Since the start of the six-weeklong, Hamas-backed protests on the border last Friday, which has been dubbed the “The Great March of Return,” the IDF has killed 31 protesters, including several persons whom Israeli authorities have identified as terrorists.
The IDF has described the demonstrations as “violent riots,” asserting that many protesters have thrown Molotov cocktails and rocks at soldiers, opened fire on them, set tires on fire and attempted to cross into Israel. Videos shared on Facebook and Twitter appear to show some protesters participating in violent actions.
However, several human rights organizations have said that the IDF has targeted “unarmed civilians.” Adalah, an Israeli rights organization, said in a statement last Friday that Israel opened fire on “unarmed civilians” and violated international legal obligations to distinguish between civilians and combatants. Videos shared on Twitter and Facebook appear to show soldiers shooting Palestinians who do not seem to present any imminent threat to their lives.
Qassim said the payments were made as a part of Hamas’s “social and national responsibility to strengthen the steadfastness of our people in its struggle for return, freedom and breaking the siege.”
However, the Hamas spokesman’s comments did not clarify whether the group plans to continue making such payments.
Nine Palestinians were killed on Friday during a protest on the border and hundreds were injured.