Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh warned Friday the Gaza-based terror group would not be able to contain the mass Palestinian protests on the day the US moves its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
“We cannot stop the tens of thousands of residents who will go north, south and east to protest against the siege imposed upon the Gaza Strip,” he said according to reports in Hebrew-language media.
Israel holds Hamas responsible for all violence emanating from the Strip and says it has the power to stop protests or rocket fire from other groups.
Last month, US President Donald Trump announced the new US embassy in Jerusalem would open on May 14 to coincide with the 70th anniversary of Israel’s independence. The announcement was met with widespread anger among the Palestinians, prompting calls for enormous protest events, the largest of them planned for the Gaza Strip.
The expected protests will also coincide with Nakba Day, a national day of Palestinian mourning marking the “catastrophe” of Israel’s founding, commemorated every year on May 15.
Earlier this week, Palestinians in the Gaza Strip called for a sit-in protest along the border in the weeks leading up to Nakba Day.
Organizers on Wednesday said a tent city was being erected near border to protest Israel’s refusal to grant Palestinian refugees and their descendants a full “right of return” — permission to live in Israel.
The group wants hundreds of thousands of Gazans, including families, to come join the tent city “at the nearest, safe point from the border” with Israel, the Reuters news agency reported.
That border is the site of frequent violent flare-ups between Palestinian protesters and Israeli troops.
On Friday, four Palestinian protesters were injured in clashes with Israeli soldiers near Khan Younis. The Hamas-run health ministry said the injured protesters were taken to a local hospital and one was in a serious condition and the other three were in moderate condition.
In separate clashes Friday, a Palestinian from the West Bank city of Hebron was reportedly killed in clashes with Israeli soldiers. The IDF said soldiers opened fire on the 24-year old in after he threw a firebomb towards them.