Israeli shelling on Gaza kills Palestinian farmer

On that day Palestinians within Israel, from the Galilee to the Negev, in the West Bank, Gaza and in refugee camps held strikes and street protests against the confiscation.

Citing security concerns, the Israeli military says it will enforce a "no go" zone on land adjacent to Israel's border fence.

According to the army, approximately 200 Palestinians took part in violent protests at four main locations along the security fence, lighting fires and throwing rocks at Israeli soldiers on the other side. This is a developing story.

"The goal of our forces, many of whom will be spending Seder night away from their families, is to protect Israel's peace and make sure that Israelis have a quiet Seder night without any unusual incidents occurring", said a statement from the IDF spokesperson's office.

Just hours ahead of the Palestinian "March of Return", the IDF has instructed its troops to shoot whoever tries to cross the Gaza Strip border fence.

In the Jerusalem governorate of the West Bank, the Bedouin town of Khan al-Ahmar is also facing demolition.

"Even if Israeli soldiers use excessive force to disperse the demonstration, we will not stop until we cross the borders and reach our occupied villages", he added. Buses took protesters to the border area, including five tent encampments set up from north to south, several hundred meters from the border fence.

Tension was high along the frontier because the protest coincided with the start of the Jewish Passover and the Christian celebrations of Good Friday, when Israel security forces are customarily on a state of high alert.

An Israeli army spokesman said: 'Two suspects approached the security fence along the southern Gaza Strip and began operating suspiciously.

All of this is happening in the shadow of the upcoming inauguration of the new USA embassy in Jerusalem, which is set to happen in May - a development that may well help fuel the protest.

Palestinians commemorate the date as the anniversary of their mass displacement and uprooting during the 1948 Mideast war over Israel's creation.

Water facilities were being installed and medical teams deployed to allow people to stay for long periods.

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said the demonstrations mark the beginning of the Palestinians' return to all of Palestine.

"70 years ago we left and today we have chose to return to our country", he told AFP.

On Wednesday, Israeli tanks fired at Hamas positions in Gaza after heavy gunfire from the enclave, roadside bombs targeting border patrols and an incursion by three armed Palestinians who were later captured. Two Palestinians from the southern area of Hebron were also arrested.

  • Rogelio Becker