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Palestinians plan tent-city protest along the Israeli border

Palestinians pitch a tent protest in Jerusalem [Getty]

Date of publication: 7 March, 2018

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The six-week-long tent city will demand for the right of return for Palestinian refugees,

Palestinians will set up a six-week-long tent city near the Israeli border starting 30 March to demand Palestinian refugees be allowed the right of return, Reuters reported.

The Israeli military considers the border to be a sensitive “no go” area, and the presence of Palestinian protesters there would present a dilemma for personnel.

Palestinians frequently stage protests along the Gaza border, with the Israeli military responding with tear gas, rubber bullets and often times live ammunition against those they claim throw rocks or petrol bombs.

The committee setting up the tent city said they would erect the site “at the nearest safe point from the border”.

The UN will reportedly be notified of its location.

The committee called on Palestinians to take part in this “national project that endorses peaceful resistance as a new way to win our rights, foremost the right of return” in a public statement.

The March 30 date was chosen to coincide with “Land Day”, which commemorates six Arab Israeli citizens killed by security forces during demonstrations against land seizures in 1976.

The planned tent city will end on Nakhba day, on May 15.

Various political factions, including Hamas, will support the protest. Though organisers have said they will have no formal presence at the weeks-long event.

In Khan Younis, a southern Gazan town, one Palestinian journalist has already erected two tents from the border area in light of the event planned for 30 March.

“I admired the idea,” Muthana an-Najar told Reuters. He said that Israeli soldiers “will be confused about how to handle” the protesters.

The right of return of up to five million Palestinians has stalled Arab-Israeli peace negotiations. Israel has a ‘Law of Return’ programme that gives any Jewish person to move to Israel and adopt citizenship. 

Israel argues that Palestinian refugees resettle in a future Palestinian state in either the West Bank or Gaza, fearing the state could lose its Jewish majority.

But most observers say continued settlement expansion has rendered a two-state solution dead.

Former US president Jimmy Carter has said the two-state solution has “zero chance” of being realised today, according to a 2015 interview with Prospect magazine.

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