Tension remains high in Gaza, Arab League meeting today

PNA, Hamas ask for intervention after 'Israeli crimes'

03 April, 11:33

    (by Aldo Baquis) (ANSAmed) - TEL AVIV, APRIL 3 - After an emergency session summoned by the Palestinian side, the Arab League's Council on Tuesday is meeting to examine repercussions of clashes on Friday in which at least 16 demonstrators were killed and 1,500 others were injured. The violent clashes occurred on the eastern border of the Gaza Strip, when protesters clashed with soldiers who had been deployed to ensure that thousands of Palestinians did not cross into Israel.

    Palestinians insist that the demonstration was peaceful and that the Israeli army's behavior was unjustified. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressed the same opinion, describing Israeli Premier Benyamin Netanyahu as a 'terrorist'.

    Netanyahu responded saying that Israel did not accept lessons from a country that has ''indiscriminately bombarded civilian populations for years''. The Palestinian ambassador to Cairo, Diab al-Louh, accused Israel of carrying out a ''massacre'', dispersing with gunfire those who were taking part in the so-called ''March of Return''. The health ministry in Gaza said that 15 were killed on Friday and a 16th casualty died later in hospital. Forty-six others are in serious condition in hospital.

    Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh - one of the organizers of the ''March of Return'' - asked the secretary general of the Arab League, Ahmed Abu-el Gheir, for Israeli leaders to be taken to the International criminal court on 'war crime' charges and for the incident to be examined by the UN General Assembly.

    Tension remains high on the ground. Sporadic incidents were reported yesterday on the border between Israel and Gaza and seven Palestinians were wounded. Sources in Gaza have said that another demonstration is scheduled to take place next Friday with thousands of demonstrators once again expected at the border.

    Demonstrators are gathering old tires that they plan to set on fire, reportedly against Israeli snipers who allegedly struck at least 10 Palestinian militants on Friday. The snipers next Friday will allegedly have to deal with dense columns of smoke and thousands of mirrors carried by demonstrators.

    Meanwhile tension is also high among Palestinians after a failed attack on February 13 against PNA Premier Rami Hamdallah.

    The PNA believes that Hamas is responsible, at least indirectly.

    As a consequence yesterday Hamdallah announced that he will not be returning to the Strip unless Hamas does not hand over entirely to the PNA all responsibility in security, public order protection as well as on administrative and financial issues - an event deemed unlikely after the incidents over the past few days. (ANSAmed).

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