Friday’s Gaza protests to be nonviolent amid emerging truce, organizers say
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Friday’s Gaza protests to be nonviolent amid emerging truce, organizers say

Source tells Israeli broadcaster demonstrators have been instructed not to launch incendiary balloons; nighttime ‘confusion units’ called off

Palestinian protesters run for cover from tear gas canisters fired by Israeli forces during clashes amid a mass demonstration marking the first anniversary of the March of Return protests, near the border with Israel east of Gaza City on March 30, 2019. (Mahmud Hams/AFP)
Palestinian protesters run for cover from tear gas canisters fired by Israeli forces during clashes amid a mass demonstration marking the first anniversary of the March of Return protests, near the border with Israel east of Gaza City on March 30, 2019. (Mahmud Hams/AFP)

Palestinian organizers of the ongoing protests along the Gaza border have said the armed factions in the enclave have called for Friday’s demonstrations to be nonviolent, as part of an emerging ceasefire deal with Israel, according to a Thursday report.

A top March of Return organizer told the Kan public broadcaster that protesters have been instructed not to launch incendiary balloons toward Israel during the rallies, and that the nighttime “confusion units” have been called off.

He said the Egyptian-mediated talks between Israel and Gaza’s Hamas rulers are progressing, and that a ceasefire agreement is being negotiated between the sides.

According to the organizer, who was not identified, Gaza factions have committed to a nonviolent protest, and Israel has agreed not to use live fire to disperse the border demonstrations.

The statements come a day after a Palestinian media report said the Hamas and Islamic Jihad terror groups in the Gaza Strip have instructed their members to stop launching flaming and explosive-laden balloons into Israel and to halt nighttime protests in the border region between the Jewish state and the coastal enclave.

On Wednesday, the army said it shot and injured three knife-wielding Palestinians trying to infiltrate into Israel from Gaza.

Egypt, the United Nations and Qatar have recently worked to broker ceasefire understandings between Israel and Hamas, which, if finalized, would likely see an end to violence emanating from the Strip in exchange for the Jewish state easing some of its restrictions on the movement of people and goods into and out of the coastal enclave.

Israeli officials have long held that the Jewish state’s limitations on movement aim to prevent Hamas and other terror groups from transferring weapons into Gaza.

There appeared to be a breakthrough in the ceasefire efforts last weekend, when Palestinians in Gaza maintained relative calm along the border during large protests on Saturday.

Israel, in turn, reopened its two crossings with Gaza on Sunday, having closed them last week after a rocket attack struck a home in central Israel and injured seven people, and significantly expanded the permitted fishing area on Monday around the coastal enclave.

Over 40,000 Palestinians took part in the rallies at the Gaza border last Saturday, with some rioters throwing grenades and explosives toward the security fence as well as lobbing rocks at troops and burning tires.

Israel has accused Hamas of orchestrating the demonstrations, which began in March 2018. The enclave’s Hamas-run health ministry said three 17-year-old Palestinians were killed during the protests, while at least 300 were injured. Another Palestinian was shot and killed in the early morning before the main demonstration began, reportedly as he approached the border fence during overnight protests.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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