Hundreds join final Gaza-Israel border protests for three months

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A disabled Palestinian uses a sling to hurl stones at Israeli troops during a protest demanding the right to return to their homeland at the Israel-Gaza border, in Gaza August 17, 2018. (Reuters)
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TOPSHOT - Palestinians check an impact crater at the site of an Israeli air strike in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip December 26, 2019. / AFP / SAID KHATIB
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Updated 27 December 2019

Hundreds join final Gaza-Israel border protests for three months

  • At least 348 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza by Israeli fire since the marches began
  • Demonstrators have hurled rocks, Molotov cocktails and explosives at the Israel soldiers along the border

GAZA: Hundreds of Palestinians took part in protests along the Gaza-Israel border Friday, the last of the Hamas-backed demonstrations until March.
Amid heavy rain and wind, the rallies had the lowest turnout in months, with tensions far lower than in previous weeks and no live fire by the Israeli army, an AFP correspondent said.
The often violent weekly protests began in March 2018, calling for an end to Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip and for Palestinians to be allowed to return to their ancestral homes inside the Jewish state.
Israel contends that any return of Palestinian refugees or their descendents would mean an end to its status as a Jewish state and accuses Gaza’s Islamist rulers Hamas of orchestrating the protests as a cover for attacks.
At least 348 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza by Israeli fire since the marches began, the majority during the demonstrations, according to an AFP toll.
A further 7,800 people have been wounded by gunfire, according to the World Health Organization.
Demonstrators have hurled rocks, Molotov cocktails and explosives at the Israel soldiers along the border.
Organizers announced Thursday the protests would halt until March 2020 amid dwindling turnout.
Hamas has over the last year shaped a precarious informal truce with Israel, which has slightly eased its blockade of the enclave in exchange for calm along the border, despite intermittent flare-ups.
As part of the agreements, Israel has allowed Qatar to bring millions of dollars worth of fuel and cash into Gaza every month, easing a humanitarian crisis.
Israel and Hamas have fought three wars since 2008.


France calls on Lebanon to form government ‘without delay’

Updated 23 September 2020

France calls on Lebanon to form government ‘without delay’

  • France is pressing Lebanese politicians to form a new government
  • Political class blamed for massive explosion that devastated Beirut last month

PARIS: France's foreign ministry on Tuesday warned Lebanon's political forces that the country risked collapse if they did not form a government without delay.
"At this decisive moment in Lebanese history, Lebanese political forces are faced with a choice between recovery and collapse of the country. It is a heavy responsibility towards the Lebanese," foreign ministry spokeswoman Agnes von der Mühll told reporters in a daily briefing.
France is pressing Lebanese politicians to form a new government in a "reasonable timeframe" to lift the nation out of a deep crisis but has not fixed a new deadline after the last one in mid-September was missed, two French diplomatic sources said.
Lebanon's Christian president, Michel Aoun, told fractious political leaders on Monday the country was heading "to hell" if a new cabinet was not formed swiftly to dig the nation out of its worst crisis since the 1975-1990 civil war.
"France regrets that Lebanese officials have not yet managed to keep the commitments made on Sept. 1," Von der Mühll said. "We call on them to reach an agreement without delay on the formation by (Prime Minister) Moustapha Adib of a government of mission, which will then have to implement the necessary reforms."