Palestinians in the Gaza Strip are planning a 46-day tent city protest near the Israeli border in the coming weeks to raise their continuing demand that Palestinian refugees be allowed to return to the occupied territory.
Hundreds of thousands of families plan to set up tents near the border starting March 30, said Ahmed Abu Ayesh, a spokesman for a coordinating committee.
March 30 marks the annual "Land Day", which commemorates the six Arab citizens of Israel who were killed by Israeli forces during demonstrations in 1976 over land theft. It will end on May 15, the Day of the Nakba, or “catastrophe” in Arabic, when Palestinians mark the displacement and expulsion of thousands in their community with the creation of Israel in 1948.
“(This) national project ... endorses peaceful resistance as a new way to win our rights, foremost the right of return," says a statement issued by the organizing committee.
Palestinians have long been the targets of tear gas, rubber bullets and live ammunition along the Gaza border.
The announcement for the protest has come on the same day that the Israeli parliament passed a law to allow the minister of interior to revoke the residency rights of any Palestinian in Jerusalem, if they engage in a "breach of loyalty" to Israel.
Hanan Ashrawi, a senior member of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), called the law "an extremely racist piece of legislation.”
"By unethically stripping the residency of Palestinians from Jerusalem and depriving the rights of those Palestinians to remain in their own city, the Israeli government is acting in defiance of international law and is violating international human rights and humanitarian laws," he said.
Other groups have also chimed in to say that the law is illegal under international law.