What began as a mass march of thousands of Palestinian protesters in Gaza is becoming a violent struggle on the West Bank border. As we reported earlier, Palestinians protesting the official move of Israel's capital from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem clashed with Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) has turned fatal with the body count rising to eight.
In addition to the protesters dead, a Palestinian farmer was also killed by an Israeli shell just hours before the protest began. The farmer was identified as 27-year-old Omar Samour who was tending to his fields when the shells struck him. Another Palestinian was wounded by tank fire in the Southern Gaza strip.
Israeli army officials claimed they reacted to reports of "two suspects" who were "operating suspiciously." Thousands are claimed via Israel due to this sort of collateral damage. The protest itself featured thousands of marchers, the IDF, as a result, are out in force with over 100 special forces snipers lining the security fence on the border.
At least eight are now reported dead amongst the crowd of thousands which also includes women and children joining in the march of defiance against the proposed move of Israel's embassies and capital to Jerusalem May 14. In addition to the eight casualties, hundreds are injured.
IDF made claims of Palestinians rolling burning tires and throwing stones. In return they have had their snipers return fire, tossed tear gas and are aiming to shoot the "main instigators." The protest has the backing of militant extremist group, Hamas and is expected to last over six weeks which could spell trouble for the besieged Palestinians in attendance.
<blockquote>"The Great March of Return is a message to Trump," German news agency DPA reported Ismail Haniyeh, the chief of the Hamas political bureau, "There is no concession to Jerusalem, no alternative to Palestine, and no solution but to return. This is the Palestinian people taking the initiative and making the event for the sake of Palestine … for the sake of Jerusalem and the right of return."</blockquote>
"Right of return" is a familiar term to Jewish people who may claim citizenship in Israel due to the supposed "right of return" under Israeli law. The protest as sparked by recognization of Land Day which commemorates the killing of six unarmed Arab protesters in 1976 by Israel.
"The Great March of Return" may last up until May 15, the day after the capital moves which is also coincidentally the day Palestinians commemorate the Nakba, or "catastrophe" which resulted in over 700,000 Palestinians having to make an exodus from their homes in the war that would result in Israel being declared a state via the Balfour Declaration in 1948.
There are twice as many IDF at the border and snipers join special forces and paramilitary border patrol units and riot police to quell the protesters. As this is just the beginning of the "festivities" it is likely to get a lot uglier before it gets any better.