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2 Palestinians from Gaza charged with flying incendiary kites to Israel

May 23, 2018 10:36 A.M. (Updated: May 24, 2018 12:26 P.M.)
Incendiary kites that were flown by some protesters in Gaza (File)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Two Palestinians from the Gaza Strip were indicted on Monday by an Israeli court on charges related to flying incendiary kites into Israeli territory during the weeks long “Great March of Return” protests in the besieged coastal enclave.

Israeli news website Ynet reported that Ahmed Amawi, 26, and Moataz Abu Eid, 20, were charged with “attempted incitement to murder, activity in a terror organization, arson as an act of terror, attempted arson as an act of terror, and armed infiltration, among others.”

The two were arrested in late April when they crossed into Israel, allegedly with the intention of setting fire to a grove and Israeli military vehicles, Ynet said. They were arrested by Israeli forces stationed along the border.

According to Ynet, Amawi and Abu Eid participated in five Friday “Great March of Return” during which they allegedly assembled some 30 kites that protesters fixes flammable materials to before sending them over the Israeli border fence around Gaza and into Israeli territory.

The indictment reportedly accused Amawi of flying two incendiary kites into Israeli territory in April, both of which allegedly crashed into a field and sparked a fire.

“Amawi did so knowing the kites could set fire to structures or vegetation and thus cause severe harm to people, and even death," Ynet quoted the indictment as saying.

The indictment went on to accuse Amawi and Abu Eid of acting out of "religious, nationalistic, political or ideological motive.”

The “Great March of Return” protests were massive popular demonstrations that began on March 30th. Over six weeks, tens of thousands of Palestinians in Gaza took to the Israeli-imposed border to demonstrate for their right of return to their homelands that they were expelled from in 1948, and against the decade-long Israeli siege on Gaza.

Israel has repeatedly perpetuated the narrative that the massive demonstrations -- which were organized by grassroots organizations and local activists as a nonviolent protest -- were organized by the Hamas movement, and that the protests were being used as to “camouflage terror.”

As of Sunday, the Gaza Ministry of Health reported that at least 112 Palestinians had been killed by Israeli forces, including 13 children and two journalists.

Israeli forces have long been criticized for their use of excessive force against Palestinians, and what rights groups have termed their policy of “extrajudicial execution” in instances where Palestinians who did not pose a direct threat to the lives of soldiers could have been detained or subdued in a non-lethal manner.

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