Palestinians in Gaza are preparing for mass demonstrations on Saturday to commemorate “Land Day” as well as the one year anniversary of the “Great March of Return” protests.
In Israel, citizens living near the border with the Gaza Strip are bracing for a weekend eruption, after several nights spent in bomb shelters the past week.
Friday evening, the Gazan health ministry said that eight Palestinians were wounded, with at least one from live fire by Israel Defense Forces (IDF).
The demonstrations are scheduled to begin on Saturday at 1:00pm local time, after the Hamas Islamist movement – which governs the blockaded enclave and has declared Israel its enemy – announced a general strike throughout Gaza in order to allow all residents to take part in protests.
Ahead of the protests, an Israeli commander warned Gazans to stay at least 300 meters away from the fence and threatened a “severe reaction” should they attempt to fire rockets, damage the security fence, or engage in other violent activity.
“For a full year, every Friday, Hamas wasted huge sums of money on organizing marches, that did not advance your cause and gave you nothing but death and injury, that resulted from the violent nature of, and the terror acts associated with the protests,” the colonel’s statement pleaded.
“They are a far cry from being characterized as ‘peaceful’.’ Your blood is worth more than all these marches,” he concluded.