Great Return March: Palestinians ‘wounded by IDF fire’ on Gaza border

12:55 IDF Spokesperson's Office issues a statement on the situation on the Gaza Border
12:45 U.N. calls on Israel to rein in security forces at Gaza border
GENEVA - The United Nations human rights office urged Israel on Friday to ensure that its security forces do not use excessive force against Palestinian protesters at the Gaza-Israel border.

Firearms should only be used as a last resort, and unjustified recourse to their use may amount to willful killing of civilians, a breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention, U.N. human rights spokeswoman Elizabeth Throssell told a briefing.

A Palestinian died on Friday of wounds suffered a week ago during protests against Israel along the enclave's border, health ministry officials said. That raised to 20 the death toll in confrontations with Israeli soldiers that began on March 30.

12:25 REPORT: IDF uses giant fans to counter Palestinian tire-smoke
IDf forces began placing and using giant fans to counter the smoke generated by massive tire-burnings Palestinian protesters are engaged in, Palestinian media reports. 

The protesters are burning tires to obstruct the vision of IDF snipers after the March 30 protests ended with 20 Palestinians dead after the IDF used live ammunition. 

IDF stated that ten among those who were killed were members of the Hamas armed wing or other terrorist groups and warned Israel will not allow any damage done to the border fence. 

Held under the name 'Great March of return' this is the second week in which Palestinians residents of the Gaza strip are protesting.  
Tweet by Israeli reporter Nir Dvori with giant fan in the background
In a Tweet, Israeli reporter Nir Dvori displays a giant fan used by Israeli firefighters to dispense smoke from the IDF sniper's position.
12:05 Hamas Spokesperson: By keeping the peace, we strike at the occupation
Hamas Spokesperson Hazem Qassem stated on Friday that "By the people maintaining that [these] marches are peaceful [we] strike a blow against all the propaganda which is being spread by the occupation around [these] marches.''

Qassem said these things as thousands of Palestinians gather at the border fence with Israel and Israeli IDF forces are stationed facing them to prevent any infiltration of the fence. 

''The threats [used] by the occupation will not change the manner of our gaining our rights against the plan to remove the Palestinian issue, and to maintain the blockade [on Gaza].'' He said. 

The IDF stated that among the 20 protesters killed during the March 30 protests ten were members of Hamas or other terrorist groups.  
JPost reporter Seth Frantzman updates from the Gaza border
Palestinian protesters near the Gaza-Israel Border Fence
Seth Frantzman/The Jerusalem Post
11:45 Report: Three Palestinians injured by sniper fire
The Indonesia Hospital reported that three Palestinian protesters were admitted seeking medical help on Friday. 
Thousands of Palestinians are currently gathering near the border fence for a second round of 'Great March of Return' following the March 30 protests in which 20 Palestinians were killed. 
Israel stated it will protect the border fence against infiltrators.

The Indonesia Hospital, which opened in 2016, is financed by an Indonesian NGO.  
11:27 Palestinian Red Crescent sets up five medical stations along the border
The Palestinian Red Crescent set up five medical stations along the border fence with Israel on Friday. 

Protesters began massive burning of tires in an attempt to obstruct the vision of IDF snipers stationed across the border facing the protests. 

20 Palestinians were killed in the March 30 protests, the IDF stated that at least ten of those killed were members of the Hamas armed wing or other terrorist groups. 

Adam Ragson
JPost reporter Seth Frantzman on the border with Gaza
11:00 Palestinians begin 'Tires Protest', marking start of second week of protests on Gaza's border
Thousands of Palestinians gathered along the Gaza border on Friday for the second week of protests that they have called the “Great Return March.” Amid warnings from Israel and the US to stay at least 500 meters from the border, Palestinians brought thousands of tires to burn to shield their movements from the IDF.

By ten in the morning fires were already lit at two places in the northern Gaz Strip near the town of Beit Hanoun. Hundreds of Palestinians could be seen on a road leading to the border, and food trucks and camping equipment festooned the road. Most of the Palestinians appeared to be onlookers. At a berm constructed by the IDF along the border the army watched the burning tires and Palestinians. 

Palestinian media reported that dozens of ambulances had deployed a “field hospital” near Bureij refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip. In Khan Yunis hundreds of men with tires were filmed. Shehab media’s twitter account claimed a Palestinian was wounded in Jabalia in the northern part of the Gaza Strip. 

Jason Greenblatt, US President Donald Trump’s Special Representative for International Negotiations focusing on Israel and the Palestinians, urged Palestinian protesters to remain peaceful. The EU’s office in Israel also called for “utmost restraint” on both sides and encouraged Israel to “respect right to peaceful protest.” The UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has also urged “all parties to refrain from any act that could lead to further violence or place civilians, especially children, in harms way.

Seth J. Frantzman

10:45 Gaza Ministry of Health announces death of protester
A 30 year old protester died as a result of injuries suffered during the March 30 protest, the Gaza Ministery of Health reported on Friday. 

20 Palestinains have died so far as a result of these protests held at the border fence during which IDF snipers used live ammunition to protect the fence from inflitration. 

The IDF stated that at least 10 among those killed were members of the Hamas armed wing or other terrorist groups.   
Israel braces for second mass protests in Gaza
Israeli forces are on high alert on the border with Gaza in preparation for a second round of mass protests on Friday.

The rally, being held under the banner of the "March of Return" has seen hundreds of Palestinians set up protest zones across the Gaza Strip, along the border fence with Israel. The demonstrators are pressing for a right of return for refugees and their descendants to what is now Israel.

Last weekend the protests turned deadly as Israeli troops, ordered to prevent people crossing or damaging the fence, shot and killed at least 17 people and injured scores more. Israel claims a majority of the dead were members of terrorist organizations.

Many of the demonstrators who turned out for the start of the protest campaign returned to their homes and jobs over the week. But organizers expect large crowds again on Friday, the Muslim sabbath.


Experienced protesters are said to be planning to burn thousands of tires to create a wall of black smoke preventing Israeli forces from seeing and reacting to developments on the fence. Others have been equipped with mirrors to blind Israeli snipers deployed along the fence.

Hamas announced on Thursday it would pay $3,000 to the family of anyone killed in the protests, $500 to Palestinians critically wounded and $200 to those who sustain more minor injuries.

Israeli leaders have said payments by Palestinian authorities to the families of militants killed or imprisoned by Israel encourages attacks on Israelis. Palestinians revere brethren killed in the conflict with Israel as martyrs.

The protest action is set to wind up on May 15, when Palestinians mark the "Nakba," or "Catastrophe," when hundreds of thousands fled or were driven out of their homes during violence that culminated in war in May 1948 between the newly created state of Israel and its Arab neighbors.

Israel has long ruled out any right of return, fearing it would lose its Jewish majority.