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Wednesday 20 June 2018

Israelis and Palestinians gear up for fresh confrontation

Protesters are massing for another demonstration along the border.

Israeli firefighters tackle a blaze along the border (AP)
Israeli firefighters tackle a blaze along the border (AP)

By Associated Press Reporters

Israelis and Palestinians are gearing up for another mass demonstration along the fence with Gaza.

Palestinian protesters have burnt tyres near the border as Israeli soldiers took position.

Israeli firefighters are on stand-by to battle fires caused by kites rigged with burning rags launched by Palestinians which have damaged forests and crops in past protests.

More than 115 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire during near-weekly demonstrations that began on March 30.

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An farmer plows the field scorched by fire started by a kite with attached burning cloth launched by Palestinians from Gaza (AP)

Protests led by the Islamic militant group that rules Gaza are fuelled by frustration over a decade-old Israel-Egyptian blockade, imposed after Hamas seized control there.

Israel is bracing for a large turnout as the protest coincides with “Jerusalem Day”, which its arch-enemy Iran established to coincide with the last Friday of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan to express support for the Palestinians.

Meanwhile, in the Syrian capital Damascus, scores of Syrians and Palestinians commemorated Jerusalem Day by marching through the streets and chanting anti-Israel slogans.

The men and women marched from the Hamidyeh market in the old city of Damascus to the Umayyad Mosque and waved the Syrian and Palestinian flags.

Hamid Hassan, 73, a Palestinian, said that the Jerusalem Day “means a lot for us. Jerusalem is an Arab land and it’s the land of all religions”.

He added: “We will continue to offer martyrs until we liberate it. We will never kneel.”

Syrian citizen Samah Abdullah, 42, said the issue of Jerusalem is the cause of all Muslims, adding that commemorating the day is a “motivation for us and for all Palestinians to restore the occupied land”.

Press Association

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