Israeli flags burned in mass protest on Gaza-Israel border

Israeli flags burned in mass protest on Gaza-Israel border

Israeli flags burned in mass protest on Gaza-Israel border

The fatal shooting of protestors near the fence separating Israel and the Gaza Strip over the last few weeks has rightfully elicited harsh reactions from around the globe.

Another Palestinian was martyred on Friday raising the death toll to 35, during mass demonstrations against the decades-long Israeli occupation in Gaza Strip, an official said.

Gaza's Health Ministry says 363 Palestinians have been injured by Israeli fire or treated for tear gas inhalation in mass protests on the Gaza-Israel border. The military said that demonstrators hurled an explosive device and several fire bombs near the fence in what it said was an apparent attempt to damage it.

In all, 34 Palestinians have been killed in the past two weeks, 27 during protests.

Last Friday, about 20,000 Palestinians demonstrated along the Gaza border. On Thursday a group of former Israeli soldiers, members of the sniper teams, wrote in an open letter "we are filled with shame and sorrow..." Smaller numbers have approached the fence, throwing stones and rolling burning tyres toward soldiers taking up positions on the other side.

The Palestine Red Crescent Society, a humanitarian organisation, has said one of its medics was shot in the knee.

The Israeli government accuses Hamas, the Islamist terrorist movement rules Gaza, of having instigated the protests and of using them as cover to launch attacks.

On Friday (Saturday NZT), most of the demonstrators assembled at five tent camps located several hundred metres from the border fence.

Despite global condemnation, including warnings by the United Nations Human Rights Council against the use of lethal force against civilians, who do not pose an immediate threat to life or severe injury, Israeli authorities and politicians have praised the army's actions and vowed to continue repressing protesters to "protect" their border.

Mohammed al-Hajjar, a Palestinian photographer for the news website Middle East Eye, was lightly injured by a live round that grazed his right arm while he was covering protests east of Gaza city, according to his employer, the PJS, and news reports.

Numerous injuries were the result of live ammunition and tear gas fired by Israeli soldiers, the ministry said. At the entrance, organisers had laid a large Israeli flag on the ground for protesters to step on.

Palestinian websites said a photojournalist was slightly injured in his shoulder by Israeli military fire. "An order to open live fire at unarmed protesters is manifestly unlawful", it said.

The group has been criticised in Israel for publishing often anonymous testimony by current or former Israeli soldiers who have misgivings about their military service and treatment of Palestinians.

The planned six-week protest has revived a longstanding demand for the right of return of Palestinian refugees to towns and villages from which their families fled, or were driven out, when the state of Israel was created 70 years ago.

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