A Palestinian sports official says more than 30 sportsmen have sustained injuries and gunshot wounds during clashes between Palestinian demonstrators and Israeli military forces near the border between the besieged Gaza Strip and occupied territories.
“Many of the athletes have suffered serious head injuries,” Ahmed Muheisen, the Deputy Minister of the Gaza Ministry of Youth and Sports, said at a press conference in Gaza City on Sunday.
He added that some athletes had their limbs amputated as a result of their grave injuries, citing the case of Alaa al-Dali, who was preparing to represent Palestine in the Asia Road Racing Championship.
“We appeal to the international community and human rights organizations to assume their responsibilities and protect Palestinian youth, children and women,” Muheisen noted
The senior Palestinian official also demanded an international investigation “into crimes of the Israeli occupying regime against peaceful protesters.”
Protests along the Gaza border since March 30 have led to clashes with Israeli forces in which at least 38 Palestinians have lost their lives and hundreds of others sustained injuries.
The Palestinian rally, known as the “Great March of Return”, will last until May 15, which coincides with the 70th anniversary of Nakba Day (Day of Catastrophe) on which Israel was created.
Every year on May 15, Palestinians all over the world hold demonstrations to commemorate Nakba Day, which marks the anniversary of the forcible eviction of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their homeland by Israelis in 1948.
More than 760,000 Palestinians – now estimated to number nearly five million with their descendants – were driven out of their homes on May 14, 1948.
Since 1948, the Israeli regime has denied Palestinian refugees the right to return, despite UN resolutions and international law that uphold people’s right to return to their homelands.
This year’s Land Day demonstrations appear especially combustible as Palestinian anger is already high over Trump’s decision in December 2017 to recognize Jerusalem al-Quds as Israel’s “capital.”
Israel occupied the West Bank, East Jerusalem al-Quds and parts of Syria’s Golan Heights during the Six-Day War in 1967. It later annexed East Jerusalem al-Quds in a move not recognized by the international community.
Israel is required to withdraw from all the territories seized in the war under UN Security Council Resolution 242, adopted months after the Six-Day War, in November 1967, but the Tel Aviv regime has defied that piece of international law ever since.