As Israel intensifies violence and uncoordinated multiple daily attacks are carried out by Palestinians, youth in Gaza have begun marching to the borders to express solidarity and their frustration.
Yesterday, Israeli soldiers clad in full combat gear shot protestors and occasionally fired tear gas canisters into the crowd of an estimated 1,000 young men and boys, killing seven and injuring 145 along Gaza’s border area. Layers of barbed wire and open space separated the soldiers from the protestors who threw rocks they found on the ground and molotov cocktails. Additional military installations and dirt mounds protected Israeli snipers as they picked off one protestor after the next with Ruger .22 rifles, hitting them in the head, chest, abdomen and limbs. Soldiers also fired explosive dum-dum rounds according to medical sources in Gaza. At no point did the protestors present any threat to the heavily armed soldiers. At least one protestor managed to plant a flag on the barbed wire.
Today, Israeli forces shot dead two children aged 13 and 15 as protests continue. Attacks were again reported at the Nahal Oz crossing east of Gaza City, east of Khan Younis, in the northern area of Beit Hanoun and at the Erez border crossing. THe demonstrations today reportedly drew smaller numbers than yesterday and Hamas security forces prevented some protestors from reaching the border area.
Israeli defense minister Moshe Ya’alon blamed his military’s killing of protestors on Hamas, saying that they didn’t prevent protestors from reaching the so-called “buffer zone,” a loosely interpreted three hundred meter stretch of agricultural land in the Gaza Strip from the border. He then threatened to escalate violence, referring to the 2014 massive assault on the Gaza Strip which killed more than 2,200 Palestinians, mostly civilians.
While Israeli officials claim to not want an escalation – the military refrained from customary bombing of Hamas training sites after one rocket launched from Gaza landed inside Israel overnight – its forces continue to escalate violence by killing Palestinian children and unarmed civilians.