Thousands of Palestinians demonstrated on Friday, April 21, at the foot of the separation barrier between the Gaza Strip and Israeli territory. Fourth Friday of mobilization as part of the Great March of Return, a movement launched on March 30 to demand the right of return of Palestinian refugees and the end of the blockade imposed on Gaza.
The Israeli army’s response left four dead and 500 wounded, according to Palestinian medical sources. Since the beginning of the movement, 38 people have been killed by Israeli fire, according to Guilhem Delteil, RFI correspondent in Jerusalem.
The scenes have become a Friday ritual since March 30th. Every week, thousands of Palestinians gather at the foot of the separation barrier between Israel and the Gaza Strip. And some of them enter the buffer zone, barred from access by the Israeli army, to get closer to the fences. In the front line, tires are set on fire to disrupt the vision of Israeli soldiers, stones are thrown towards the forces on the other side. And now, some kites with attached burning fabrics are thrown to the Israeli side of the fence.
These rallies did not cause any casualties in the ranks of the Israeli army. But the authorities describe them as “riots” and consider any attempt to undermine the separation barrier as “an act of terrorism”. To disperse the protesters, the army uses tear gas, rubber bullets, but also live ammunition.
On Friday morning, the Israeli air force dropped leaflets calling on the Palestinians not to approach the fence. The Israeli Defense Minister said on Friday that it had helped bring down the number of Palestinian protesters.