Israeli troops have shot and wounded more than a dozen Palestinians during anti-occupation protests near the fence between the besieged Gaza Strip and the occupied territories.
Thousands of demonstrators turned out for the protests on Friday but largely kept their distance from the fortified frontier.
The protesters threw rocks and firebombs from behind clouds of black smoke of burning tires at Israeli troops, who responded with tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets.
The spokesman for the Ministry of Health in the enclave, Ashraf al-Qudra, said 14 people were injured after suffering gunshot wounds and excessive tear gas inhalation.
Volunteer paramedic Dalia Abu Raidah was treated for a wound after a tear gas canister hit him in the foot. Photojournalist Atta Hadayed was also struck with a rubber bullet east of Khuza’a town in the southern Gaza Strip.Palestinians have held weekly rallies on the Gaza border to protest the siege on the enclave and demand the right for refugees to return to their homes they fled during the 1948 creation of Israel.
More than 270 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces ever since anti-occupation protest rallies began in Gaza on March 30, 2018. Over 16,000 Palestinians have also sustained injuries.
The Gaza clashes reached their peak on May 14 last year, on the eve of the 70th anniversary of Nakba Day (Day of Catastrophe), which coincided this year with the US embassy relocation from Tel Aviv to occupied East Jerusalem al-Quds.
On June 13, 2018, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution, sponsored by Turkey and Algeria, which condemned Israel for Palestinian civilian deaths in the Gaza Strip.
The resolution, which had been put forward on behalf of Arab and Muslim countries, garnered a strong majority of 120 votes in the 193-member assembly, with 8 votes against and 45 abstentions.
The resolution called on UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to make proposals within 60 days “on ways and means for ensuring the safety, protection, and well-being of the Palestinian civilian population under Israeli occupation,” including “recommendations regarding an international protection mechanism.”
It also called for “immediate steps towards ending the closure and the restrictions imposed by Israel on movement and access into and out of the Gaza Strip.”