Friday, March 30, 2018

Approximately 30,000 Palestinians gather along Gaza’s border for a massive protest dubbed the “Great March of Return” commemorating Land Day and calling for refugees’ rights to return to their homes in Israel (see extensive coverage in JPS 47 [4]). They chant slogans, throw stones, and build protest tent camps in various locations. IDF troops violently disperse the demonstrations in multiple locations; 15 Palestinians are killed and hundreds are injured. Video recorded at the march shows a Palestinian being shot in the back while running away from the border. The protests are set to continue for 6 weeks. Hours before the protest, the IDF declares the border area a closed military zone, threatening violence should any person approach. Israeli tanks then shell and kill a Palestinian farmer working along the border. In the evening, 2 armed Palestinians open fire on an IDF post along Gaza’s northern border. Israeli soldiers return fire, and Israeli tanks and jets strike Hamas observations posts in the area as well; there is no major damage or injuries. In the West Bank, IDF troops violently disperse Palestinians, Israelis, and international activists at Friday protests against Israel’s settlements, occupation, and separation wall, as well as U.S. president Trump’s 12/6/17 recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, in Kafr Qaddum near Qalqilya, Beita near Nablus, al-Bireh, and 3 villages near Ramallah (Bil‘in, Ni‘lin, and Nabi Salih); at least 26 Palestinians are injured. Meanwhile, IDF troops arrest 2 Palestinians during late-night raids near Hebron. An Israeli settler driver allegedly rams and seriously injures a Palestinian near Hebron. (AJ, ALM, BBC, EI, HA, JP, MNA, NYT, PNN, WAFA, WP, YA 3/30; PCHR 4/5)

UN secretary-general António Guterres calls for an independent and transparent investigation into the killings in Gaza today and “appeals to those concerned to refrain from any act that could lead to further casualties and in particular any measures that could place civilians in harm’s way,” according to a spokesperson. The UNSC also convenes to discuss the killings, despite U.S. and Israeli requests to postpone the discussion to 3/31. (HA, REU 3/31)