PHOTOS: Why are Palestinians burning Israeli flags in Gaza?


Palestinians burn a makeshift Israeli flag during the Great March of Return on 13 April (MEE/Mohammed al-Hajjar)

In the first Friday of protests two weeks ago, Gazan refugees marched for the right of return to their homes in what is now Israel. On the second Friday they burnt tyres to obscure the view of Israeli snipers who had killed and wounded hundreds of protestors the previous week. 

This Friday, despite the deaths of more than 30, they returned to burn the flag of Israel, to show their rage at the state they hold responsible for the siege, dispossession and violence suffered by Palestinian refugees since 1948.

Hundreds were wounded by Israeli forces over the course of the day, according to the Gaza Ministry of Health, near the borderline between Gaza and Israel on Friday as thousands gathered for the “Great March of Return” on behalf of the besieged enclave’s 1.3 million refugees.

The wounded included a number of paramedics and journalists.

Photographer Mohammed al-Hajjar, who was covering the demonstrations for Middle East Eye, was himself lightly wounded in the arm by a bullet.

“I am here today to raise high the Palestinian flag, and burn the Israeli flag. I refuse to make peace with the Israelis who kill us and besiege us, and the whole world should know this,” a protester, Ahmed Abu Batnein, told MEE.

“We want to affirm our denial of their existence on our lands by burning their flag, and call for our right of return,” Said Nedal Al-majthoub, another demonstrator, told MEE. “They kill our children, women, and elderly, as we have witnessed in the past days.”

Middle East Eye’s al-Hajjar and Mohammed Asad were both on the ground Friday bearing witness to the day’s events.



An elderly Palestinian man walks over a large Israeli flag at one of the protest camps along Gaza’s borderline with Israel (MEE/Mohammed al-Hajjar)


Demonstrators run away as Israeli forces fire tear gas into Gaza on 13 April (MEE/ Mohammed al-Hajjar)


Palestinians rush a wounded demonstrator to a medic (MEE/Mohammed al-Hajjar)


Demonstrators cheer as they tear away barbed wire installed by Israeli forces along the fence separating Gaza from Israel (MEE/Mohammed al-Hajjar)


Demonstrators perform Friday prayers at a protest tent (MEE/Mohammed Asad)


Palestinian protesters gather in a trench (MEE/Mohammed Asad)


Demonstrators young and old flash the victory sign (MEE/Mohammed al-Hajjar)



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