Palestinians in the Gaza Strip are planning a six-week-long tent city protest near the Israeli border starting on March 30 to demand Palestinian claiming to be refugees be allowed to return to what is now Israel, organizers said on Wednesday.
Such a demonstration, envisaging families camped out in the sensitive border area, could present a dilemma for the Israeli military that enforces a “no go” zone for Palestinians on land adjacent to Israel’s frontier security fence.
Israeli soldiers are confronted by frequent violent Palestinian protests along the Gaza border and have used tear gas, rubber bullets and live ammunition against demonstrators whom they hurled rocks or firebombs at them.
Ahmed Abu Ayesh, a spokesman for a coordinating committee, said plans were for hundreds or thousands of people, including entire families, to live in tents erected “at the nearest, safe point from the border.”. The United Nations, Abu Ayesh said, would be notified.
Organizers said the protest is supported by several Palestinian factions, including Hamas which is dedicated to Israel’s destruction. The factions, the organizers added, would have no formal presence at the venue, where portable toilets and food would be supplied.
Attempts by Israeli governments to negotiate a compromise on the issue of the so-called “right of return” have foundered on Palestinian insistence that the offer be extended to hundreds of thousands of people.