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Israel reinforces Gaza border to another Friday of Palestinian protests

The UN calls on the army for prudence in the use of force against civilians and the USA calls on protesters not to approach the separation fence

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Israel reinforces Gaza border to another Friday of Palestinian protests

Israel has sent reinforcement battalions with experienced snipers to border of Gaza Strip before new Day of mass marches convened by Palestinian organizations this Friday. The army expects more than 50,000 protesters — one-third more than marches of March 30, which left 16 dead — to be grouped along 40 kilometres of separation fence.

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Military deployment is concentrated in five points where protest camps have been erected. Both sides have been fortified with embankments during past week in anticipation of a dreaded pitched battle. The troops have tear gas, rubber-coated bullets and real ammunition. They have orders to open fire against anyone approaching less than 300 meters of gate. In addition to stones, protesters have accumulated old tires and mirrors to create smoke curtains or dazzle elite shooters.

Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, and chief of Staff General Gadi Eisenkot, completed on Thursday military preparations for "violent riots" that Israel contemplates as a threat to its territorial sovereignty. Lieberman — Settler in a settlement in West Bank and framed in government's most nationalist wing — has ordered to maintain rules of confrontation approved a week ago in face of a fear of an armed attack on troops defending fence. "If re are provocations, we will react in a forceful way, like last week. Anyone who violates our sovereignty will be endangering his life, " minister warned, referring to 21 deaths recorded and 1,500 injured so far among demonstrators, of which 800 had bullet impacts.

The organizers of protest — seconded by major parties and by civil society in defense of right to return of Palestinian refugees — have announced that y will prevent uncontrolled youth groups from approaching border too much to Throwing stones or Molotov cocktails. They plan to maintain so-called marches of return until mid-May, coinciding with 70th anniversary of creation of state of Israel and that Palestinian people commemorate as Naqba or catastrophe by forcing exile to 700,000 civilians, whose descendants add up today More than six million, according to United Nations.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres has called on Israel to act in Gaza with "extreme prudence in use of force to avoid casualties" so that Palestinian civilians "can exercise ir right to peaceful demonstration." "I call on all parties on ground to act with maximum restraint," he urged in a statement. The US has also claimed by mouth of Middle East mediator Jason Greenblatt that protesters "do not approach border barrier under any circumstances," reports France Presse.

The Palestinian coastal enclave is suffering in recent days most tragic incidents since war with Israel in summer of 2014. Palestinian decision-makers insist on calling civil and peaceful marches protests that are occurring on territorial boundary with Israel. Hundreds of Gazatíes saw on Tuesday champions League Real Madrid-Juventus game on giant screen installed in one of protest camps located just 700 meters from border with Israel, according to a Reuters reporter noted. But defense Minister considers demonstrations to cover "a terrorist operation." Lieberman has also railed against members of Israeli pacifist group B´Tselem — whom he has labeled "Quintacolumnistas" — who have published ads in press to invite soldiers to disobey order to shoot unarmed Palestinians. "I'm sorry, my commander, but I don't shoot," is slogan spread by NGO

Hamas did not seem to have a desire for prominence in camps that visited country in first three days of this week in strip. Hundreds of unemployed young people have been engaged in transporting old tires while teachers and local leaders are lecturing on Palestinian cause. The Islamist movement has announced that it will pay $3, 000 to families of each of deceased in protests and $500 to most serious injured. The Office of Spokesman for armed forces has finally responded to question posed by this newspaper about type of ammunition used by snipers last Friday. Physicians and relatives of injured were assured that y had suffered impact of large-caliber or "explosive" bullets, in view of serious damage caused. "Israel's defense Forces only use weapons and ammunition that are covered by international law," official response said.

Amos Harel, Haaretz's defense correspondent, considers "very permissive orders given to snipers", following result of 800 injured by real ammunition. "The situation of dispersion on ground left (last Friday) a wide margin of discretion to relatively young soldiers," he argued on Thursday in an analysis published by Israeli newspaper. He also reveals, in his view, serious lack of "non-lethal means that are effective in dissolving marches from relative great distance."


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