Israeli forces fired tear gas to disperse a march in the “buffer zone” east of Gaza City, by the Nahal Oz checkpoint, on Friday afternoon.
The demonstration, which began at Shujaya square in the city after Friday prayers, was organized by the Intifada Youth Coalition to protest today’s anniversary of the Balfour Declaration.
In the 2 November 1917 letter, Arthur James Balfour, foreign secretary of the United Kingdom, then occupying Palestine, told Walter Rothschild, a leader in the British Zionist movement, that the British government “view[ed] with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object.”
“We went to the buffer zone to tell the occupation that this date is unforgettable after 96 years,” said Majed Abusalama, a Coalition spokesman.
“Every generation that comes will remember it again, and remember every Israeli crime against unarmed Palestinians. Yes, it is our land, the buffer zone is for Palestinians, and we should farm it.”
Demonstrators overcome by the effects of tear gas were treated by Palestinian Red Crescent Society ambulances waiting outside the “buffer zone.”
“The Israeli response to our unarmed protest appeared from the start, when we were about 800 meters away from the fence,” Abusalama said. “They shot tear gas directly at us.”
Protesters kept trying to reach the checkpoint, which Israel closed at the beginning of 2010, retreating only after several hours of tear-gas fire.
The event followed a 27 September march organized by the Coalition to commemorate the thirteenth anniversary of the second Intifada and protest Israeli incursions into the al-Aqsa mosque in occupied east Jerusalem.