As Israeli strikes subside, Palestinians in Gaza resume 'Great Return March'

As Israeli strikes subside, Palestinians in Gaza resume 'Great Return March'
Protesters are resuming the weekly marches towards the Israeli border zone, calling for their right to return and an end to the siege on the enclave.
2 min read
13 December, 2019
A protestor raises the Palestinian flag. Marches have been ongoing since March 2018. [Getty]
Dozens of Gazan families prepared to resume the so-called Great March of Return, after demonstrations were hindered in response to Israel's bloody campaign in the strip last month. 

Reeling from the upsurge of agression, in which precision airstrikes targeted homes of Hamas and Islamic Jihad militants, protestors in Gaza have been mobilising under the fresh slogan calling for Palestinian unity and the return of Jerusalem as their capital.

The official committee which organises the protest movement called for maximum participation to honour the "legacy of martyrs, vows of prisoners and wounds of the maimed", according to Palestinian news agency Wafa. 

Friday's march will take place in the afternoon, with protesters setting off from three protest camps, situated in Gaza city, Deir al-Balah and Rafah respectively. 

In-depth: Is a national election possible in Palestine in light of Fatah and Hamas rivalry?

Protesters have been advised to avoid two other camps, North Gaza and Khan Younis, in order to make way for a large demonstration marking the 32nd anniversary of the founding of Hamas, the militant group who control the strip. 

Great Return Marches had been curtailed in previous months, due to a flare up of violence between Israel and Hamas' rival militant group, Islamic Jihad (PIJ).

The spate of violence saw the assisination of a high profile commander in PIJ, Baha Abu al-Ata. 34 Palestinians, including women and children, were killed in airstrikes.

Demonstrators carry a photograph of fallen PIJ commander, Baha Abu al-Ata

Read more: Why is Israel waging war on Islamic Jihad

The Great March of Return began on March 30, 2018. According to the Jabalia-based Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, 213 have been killed while taking part in the protests.

The figure includes 46 women and children, nine disabled people, four paramedics and two journalists

The protesters demand the right to return to their ancestors' homes, from which they were forcefully expelled in 1948 to clear the way for Israel's creation.

According to scholarly estimates, Zionist millitias removed some 700,000 Palestinian villagers from their native lands.

The protesters are also demanding an end to the 12-year-long Israeli blockade, which has crippled life in the strip.

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