GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — According to health officials, Israeli gunfire wounded 24 Palestinians on Saturday, including a 13-year-old child who was hit in the head. During the fighting near Gaza’s border with Israel, one Israeli policeman was seriously injured by Palestinian gunfire.
Hundreds of Palestinians took part in a rally Saturday planned by Gaza’s Hamas leadership to call attention to the territory’s suffocating Israeli siege. After hundreds of protesters approached the reinforced border fence and threw rocks and explosives at Israeli soldiers from behind a black smokescreen created by burning tires, the rally became violent.
Hundreds of protestors approached a section of the barrier in northern Gaza and attempted to climb over while hurling explosives at Israeli forces, according to the Israeli military. According to the report, the military used tear gas and live bullets to disperse the protestors.
After being shot, a member of the paramilitary border police was taken to the hospital in critical condition, according to the report. A Palestinian demonstrator ran up to the concrete barrier and fired a handgun into a hole used by an Israeli sniper, according to an amateur video.
The violent clashes were reminiscent of Gaza’s Hamas rulers’ weekly border protests in 2018 and 2019 to call attention to Israel’s suffocating siege of the tiny coastal enclave.
Since the Islamic terrorist organization seized control of Gaza in 2007, a year after winning a Palestinian election, Israel and Hamas have fought four wars and numerous skirmishes. After 11 days of combat, the most recent conflict concluded in an inconclusive cease-fire in May.
A senior Hamas leader, Khalil al-Haya, told protestors that the conflict with Israel “was still open.”
In recent weeks, tensions have risen, with Hamas calling on Israel to lift the siege, which severely limits the movement of people and commodities in and out of Gaza. Since 2007, Israel has enforced the embargo with Egyptian assistance, claiming that it is necessary to prevent Hamas from equipping themselves.
After hundreds of Palestinians demonstrated at the Gaza-Israeli border, the Israeli army reacted with live rounds, according to a statement.
Over 350 Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire during border protests in 2018 and 2019. After mediators including Egypt, Qatar, and the United Nations-brokered an unofficial deal, Israel eased some of its economic restrictions on Gaza and allowed Qatar to deliver tens of millions of dollars in monthly payments to needy Gaza families as well as Hamas salaries, the protests came to a halt.
Since the May conflict, Israel’s new administration, led by Naftali Bennet, has banned Qatari funding, demanding a system to ensure that the money does not go to Hamas. It has also halted the entry of critical reconstruction supplies, insisting that Hamas return the bodies of two soldiers killed in a 2014 conflict and two Israeli civilians thought to be alive first.
Hamas, out of patience, called for a protest on Saturday to express its displeasure with Israel over delaying Qatari funding infusions.
However, Israel said on Thursday that it has reached an agreement with the Gulf Arab country to begin aid payments to thousands of Gaza Strip households, a move aimed at reducing tensions with the Palestinian enclave in the aftermath of the conflict. The cash will be paid directly to Gaza households by the UN under the new agreement, with Israel having control over the list of recipients. Payments are likely to start within the next few weeks.
Before a fresh agreement on the restoration of Qatari funding was achieved, Hamas called for a demonstration at the Gaza-Israel border. The demonstration was apparently supposed to commemorate the anniversary of an arson assault on Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque in 1969 by an Australian visitor who was later determined to be mentally ill, according to the statement.
According to the Gaza health ministry, at least 254 individuals were killed in the Gaza-Israel conflict in May, including 67 children and 39 women. The killing of 80 militants has been confirmed by Hamas. In Israel, twelve people were murdered, including two children, as well as one soldier.