Israel Braces for Renewed Protests Along Gaza Border

Army deploying troops along fence after protest organizers call on Gazans to rally on anniversary of the 1967 Six-Day War

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A Palestinian protester pulls a tire as smoke billows from burning tires during a demonstration along the border with the Gaza Strip east of Gaza city on June 1, 2018.
A Palestinian protester pulls a tire as smoke billows from burning tires during a demonstration along the border with the Gaza Strip on June 1, 2018. Credit: MAHMUD HAMS/AFP

The Israeli army is preparing for protests Tuesday along the border with the Gaza Strip to mark the anniversary of the 1967 Six-Day War. Organizers of the Palestinian March of Return called on Gazans to take part in Tuesday’s demonstrations as well as a much larger protest on Friday.

The latter will constitute the main event to commemorate what Palestinians call Naksa Day.

According to Military Intelligence assessments, Hamas will focus its efforts on generating a massive turnout for Friday’s protest.

The title of Friday’s event is “The March of the Million for Jerusalem.” The organizers said they do not plan to end the demonstrations at the border and will continue with the popular line of nonviolent protests.

>> Still hoping to leverage Gaza protests, Hamas lacks enthusiasm for war with Israel | Analysis

Thousands of protesters are expected to gather along the border, inside the Gaza Strip, Tuesday afternoon.

The army is deploying large troop numbers along the border fence, including snipers on the front line. The army said it plans to continue its policy of shooting at anyone trying to reach the fence itself. Since March 30, when the weekly Friday protests began, about 130 Palestinians have been killed.

Palestinians have conducted a number of attacks during the two months of protests, including firing at soldiers and throwing makeshift bombs. The army said it is prepared to address additional incidents of these kinds on Tuesday and Friday.

The army and firefighting crews are also readying to deal with the continued attacks with incendiary kites and balloons that have set fire to large swathes of fields and forests in the region near the border with Gaza.

On Monday, Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot commented on the situation in the Gaza Strip at a ceremony to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the first swearing-in of Israel Defense Forces officers. “IDF soldiers and commanders are acting with determination against the challenges of the present period — acting to eradicate the attempts to fire at the southern region and the terrorist attacks under the cover of violent riots, and are stopping efforts to damage defense infrastructure and to threaten the sovereignty of Israel.”

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