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Palestinians prepare for Great March of Return anniversary protest

PREPARATIONS are underway for a “massive demonstration” to mark the first anniversary of the Great March of Return on March 30, Hamas announced today.

The organisation’s leader Ismail Haniyeh warned that the Israeli occupation has no choice but to accept the demands of the Palestinian people, “top of which is ending the siege.”

The demonstration coincides with Land Day, which commemorates the date in 1976 when Israel announced the seizure of thousands of dunams (a Middle Eastern measurement unit equivalent to around 1,000 square metres) of Palestinian land for “state purposes” and is recognised as a pivotal event in the struggle over land and in the relationship of Arab citizens to the Israeli state.

On March 30 last year, Palestinians launched the Great March of Return demanding an end to the 12-year siege of Gaza and the right of return to homes stolen during the 1948 creation of the State of Israel.

More than 250 have been killed and an estimated 23,000 injured during the protests as Israeli snipers opened fire on unarmed civilians at the illegally constructed Gaza border fence.

Earlier this week, the UN commission of inquiry found Israel could be guilty of potential war crimes and crimes against humanity for deliberately targeting unarmed medics, journalists and children during its killing spree.

Mr Haniyeh warned that the Israeli occupiers “will not succeed to stop the revolution of the Palestinian youths who insist on defending Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Palestinian lands.”

The mosque has been subjected to almost daily raids aided by a heavy Israeli security presence. Palestinians have tried to defend the site, holy to both Muslims and Jews, but earlier this week more than 60 settlers stormed the grounds.

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