peaceful protest or attack led by Hamas?



On Monday 60 Palestinians were killed along the Israel-Gaza border, and critics said soldiers from the Jewish state fired indiscriminately on thousands of protesters.

Israel accused the Islamist rulers of Gaza of using the protests to carry out attacks. [19659003] What happened?

Beginning on March 30, Palestinians protested along the Gaza-Israel border for the right to return to the homes of their families in 1948, during the war that surrounded the creation of Israel.

Since then 116 The Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces when the protests turned into violent clashes, with thousands injured, according to the Hamas health ministry in Gaza.

An Israeli soldier was injured.

The protests culminated on Monday when tens of thousands gathered along the border, coinciding with the controversial transfer of the United States embassy to Jerusalem.

Israel has maintained a paralyzing siege on Gaza since 2007, saying it is necessary to isolate Hamas. [19659009] Critics say it fuels despair and radicalism.

Hamas was behind the protests?

Hamas, considered a terrorist organization by Israel, the United States and others, has ruled Gaza for more than a decade since taking it in a 2007 near the civil war.

When the protests began on March 30, the organizers emphasized that they were independent.

From the beginning, however, Hamas embraced the protests and seems to have exerted an increasing influence as the weeks went by.

In the days before Monday, Hamas leaders encouraged the protesters to try to open a breach despite the risk of being shot.

The day the free buses transported people to the border, while the mosques encouraged people to attend. 19659016] There were hours of violent protests, with dozens of deaths.

As dusk approached and fears grew of more bloodshed at night, the protests were suddenly over. The speakers called the people and the thousands quickly dissipated.

"Hamas leads the march by 90 percent," said Reham Owda, a political analyst in Gaza. "It is the current force that controls the Gaza Strip, this march was not possible without its coordination."

Were the protests peaceful?

For weeks, thousands gathered in stores several hundred meters from the border, holding social events and waving flags.

But the protests were not purely peaceful, as Hamas and other Hundreds threw stones and even Molotov cocktails.

However, these front lines represented a limited threat to the Israelis: in most places, the distances were too great to reach the soldiers on the other side of the border, much less to threaten the Israeli communities close

Comets sent across the border that carried burning cans were more than a practical threat, setting fire to multiple fields in recent weeks.

During the seven weeks of protests, the overwhelming Most protesters were unarmed, AFP correspondents said at the scene.

There were a handful of cases of weapons in use, the Israeli army said. No rockets were fired.

On Monday, a smaller number pushed forward, seeking to break through the two layers of fences and enter Israel.

Some of these carried fencing equipment.

The Israeli army claimed that there were multiple attempts to break the fence by armed groups, and explosives were placed along the border.

There was a video on Thursday of protesters with knives trying to cut the fence.

Was the Israeli fire disproportionate?

The Israeli army has faced calls from the United Nations, the European Union and others for an independent investigation.

The UN human rights chief described the fire as "totally disproportionate".

Zeid Ra & # 39; ad Al Hussein warned that "murders resulting from the illegal use of force by an occupying power may also constitute deliberate killings, a serious violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention." [19659031] Such infractions are commonly called war crimes.

Among those shot with live ammunition wer e 250 children, according to Save the Children.

Israel has rejected calls for investigations, saying its action was necessary to stop border infiltrations.

Amit Gilutz, spokesman for the Israeli rights group B & # 39; Tselem, said that "people have a right to protest without being shot"

"There should have been no death at all."

On the contrary, Gerard Chaliand, a specialist in asymmetric war, said that Israel had "no other option". [19659040] "They could not allow people to cross the border."

Who are the dead?

Of the 62 killed Monday and Tuesday, a senior Hamas official said 50 were members, citing "official numbers."

Other officials clarified that this was the number for which they paid for the funerals and pointed out that this did not mean that they were members of the armed wing or carried weapons.

"If those protesters are affiliated with Hamas it does not make them a legitimate target," Gilutz said.

Among those killed in the first weeks was Yasser Murtaja, one of the two journalists killed while wearing a pressure vest.

Israel claimed that it was a Hamas operative, a claim undermined by proof that he and the organization he founded had been investigated by the United States.

Since the end of March, 116 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces when the protests turned into violent clashes, with thousands of wounded, according to the health ministry led by Hamas in Gaza


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