At least eight Palestinians have been killed and hundreds wounded by Israeli forces in Gaza, Palestinian medics have said, as protesters kicked off a planned six-week demonstration demanding the right of return for refugees. Israel’s military said 17,000 Palestinians were “rioting” in six locations in the Gaza strip on Friday, rolling burning tires at the security fence and its troops, which it said responded “with riot dispersal means and firing towards main instigators”.
Israeli forces enforce a no-go zone for Palestinians on land in Gaza close to the fence and regularly fire on young Palestinian men who hurl stones and firebombs. But organisers said the “Great March of Return” demonstration intended to be peaceful, and would comprise of families of men, women, and children camping. Cultural events, including traditional dabke dancing, are planned. While protest camps within Gaza were set up a few hundred metres back from the heavily fortified barrier, large crowds marched on Friday towards the fence and started throwing rocks. Ten men with bullet wounds were seen being carried away on stretchers. All had been shot in the legs.
Palestine: 17% increase in Israel’s squatter settlements under Trump
Construction of settlements in the occupied West Bank surged 17 per cent during the first year of US President Donald trump’s presidency, Israeli monitoring group Peace Now has said. According to data released by the group, Israel began construction of 2,783 settlement homes in 2017, 17 per cent more than the annual average since Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took office in 2009.
The vast majority of the new “homes” – 78 per cent – were in settlements which would likely have to be evacuated if a Palestinian state was established, Peace Now added. Additionally, eight per cent were in illegal outposts which are not authorised by the state. Trump has taken a softer line on Israeli construction in the occupied West Bank than his predecessors.
“The steady pace of construction and building deep in the West Bank attest to Prime Minister Netanyahu’s steadfast abetting of the settlement enterprise,” the report said. “It is also apparent that the new US presidency in 2017 had no marginal deterrent effect on these Israeli unilateral moves.”https://www.juancole.com/2018/03/palestine-increase-settlements.html