Gaza’s deadly border

Tens of thousands of Palestinian demonstrators gathered near the fence separating Gaza from Israel on Monday. More than 60 Palestinians were killed by Israeli security forces after the demonstrations turned violent.
Palestinian medics raise their hands up while walking towards the Israeli side of the border with Gaza while trying to evacuate injured protesters during a protest at the Gaza Strip's border with Israel, Tuesday, May 15, 2018. (Photo by Wissam Nassar)
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Video by Joyce Lee

For weeks, the fence separating Israel and the Gaza Strip has been the site of deadly mass protests, and at least 60 Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces this week. Palestinian demonstrators have mostly been unarmed, though some have launched stones and flaming kites, and they’ve set tires ablaze, creating thick plumes of smoke. On the other side of the fence, Israeli troops have fired tear gas and live ammunition, spurring the deadliest moment on the border since 2014. The demonstrations coincide with the relocation of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem and the anniversary of the “Nakba,” or Catastrophe, when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled or were expelled from their homes at the time of Israel’s creation.

Thousands of Palestinians began protesting May 14, the same day the Trump administration hailed the movement of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem.

Gaza is a small and densely populated strip of land, bordering Israel and Egypt, and largely sealed off from the outside world by a blockade. The siege was put in place after Hamas, designated by the U.S. as a terrorist organization, took control of Gaza in 2007. As a result of the blockade, the Gazan economy is crippled — with shortages of everything from jobs to electricity to medical supplies. Israel says the blockade is necessary to stem a Hamas military buildup; Gazans say their protests are aimed in part at ending the blockade.

Palestinian medics raise their hands up while walking towards the Israeli side of the border with Gaza while trying to evacuate injured protesters during a protest at the Gaza Strip's border with Israel, Tuesday, May 15, 2018. (Photo by Wissam Nassar)

LEBANON

Mediterranean

Sea

SYRIA

Golan

Heights

Sea of

Galilee

Haifa

ISRAEL

WEST

BANK

JORDAN

Tel Aviv

Ramallah

Jerusalem

Dead

Sea

GAZA

25 MILES

Over the course of the past few weeks, the protests have taken place at several locations, with most people gathering about 500 to 700 meters from the border, according to the World Health Organization. The border area also has five medical camps, the WHO said, equipped with doctors, beds, and ambulances on standby.

- An-Nahda area in the east of Rafah

- Al-Najar area east of Khuza'a in Khan Younis

- Al Bureij camp in the Middle Area

- Malaka area east of Gaza City

- Abu Safiya in Jabalia and at the checkpoint in Beit Hanoun, North Gaza

Protest locations

Mediterranean Sea

Gaza

City

EGYPT

GAZA

Khan

Younis

Rafah

Al Bureij

Malaka

Beit

Hanoun

Abu Safiya

ISRAEL

An-Nahda

Al-Najar

camp

3 MILES

Protest locations

Mediterranean Sea

Gaza

City

EGYPT

GAZA

Khan

Younis

Al Bureij

Rafah

Malaka

Abu Safiya

An-Nahda

Al-Najar

camp

ISRAEL

3 MILES

Med.

Sea

Abu Safiya

Gaza

City

Malaka

Protest

locations

Al Bureij

ISRAEL

GAZA

Khan

Younis

Al-Najar

camp

Rafah

An-Nahda

EGYPT

Tens of thousands of Gazans have taken part in the protests, gathering at spots like this one, the Al-Najar camp, where they picnic and listen to speeches. They are separated from the Israeli forces by a 300-meter wide buffer zone. On Tuesday, the scale of the protests was a fraction of what it was the day prior, as Palestinians called for a day of mourning to bury their dead.

Watchtowers and military

outposts are positioned on

the Israeli side of the fence.

ISRAEL

Burning tires

 

GAZA

A 300-meter-wide

buffer zone is in place

along the length of

the border. It’s off-limits.

Al-Najar camp

Protesters and families gather

in tents, to listen to speeches or picnic

Watchtowers and military

outposts are positioned on

the Israeli side of the fence.

ISRAEL

Watchtower

Sniper points

A 300-meter-wide

buffer zone is in place

along the length of

the border. It’s off-limits.

Burning tires

create a smoke

screen, shielding

protesters

Al-Najar camp

GAZA

Protesters and

families gather

in tents, to listen

to speeches or picnic

Watchtowers and military

outposts are positioned on

the Israeli side of the fence.

ISRAEL

Watchtower

Sniper points

A 300-meter-wide

buffer zone is in place

along the length of

the border. It’s off-limits.

Burning tires

create a smoke

screen, shielding

protesters

GAZA

Protesters and

families gather

in tents, to listen

to speeches or picnic

Al-Najar camp

Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Palestinians say Israeli forces have been using unnecessary force in firing at peaceful protesters, and a United Nations human rights official criticized the soldiers for “blatant and excessive use of force.” But Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said on Tuesday that Israel had reacted with restraint and dismissed the idea that the violence was prompted by the U.S. Embassy relocation from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Speaking at the U.N. Security Council, she described “Hamas terrorists backed by Iran” who have “incited attacks against Israeli security forces and infrastructure.”

“Who among us would accept this type of activity on your border?” Haley asked the Security Council. “No one would. No country in this chamber would act with more restraint than Israel has.”

Credits: Story by Chico Harlan. Video by Joyce Lee. Graphics by Tim Meko. Designed by Jason Bernert. Photo Editing by Chloe Coleman and Olivier Laurent.