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Palestinians prepare to burn Israeli flags on third weekend of protests – Arab-Israeli Conflict

A Palestinian protester burns a replica Israeli flag as another holds a Palestinian flag

A Palestinian protester burns a replica Israeli flag as another holds a Palestinian flag during clashes with the Israeli troops near the Jewish settlement of Bet El, near the West Bank city of Ramallah October 18, 2015..

The hashtags #RaisingFlag, referring to the Palestinian flag, and #BurningFlag, referring to the Israeli flag, have been prevalent in recent days among Palestinians on social media as they prepare for protests Friday near the Gaza border fence. Mass burning of Israeli flags is planned for Friday as the “Great March of Return” enters its third weekend.

One such demonstration was already observed by IDF soldiers who were closely following developments in the Gaza Strip on Thursday. Ahmed Abu Ratima, a spokesman for the “Great March of Return,” which began on March 30th and will reach its peak on May 15th, said the Palestinian public in the Gaza Strip is preparing for a third protest, titled, “Raising the Palestinian flag and burning the flag of the occupation.”

“During the processions, there will be a massive presence of local and international media that have placed the processions for the peace of the Gaza Strip at the top of their priorities,” Abu Ratima said, calling on the public, including through Hamas-affiliated media, to maintain non-violent marches and not to divert from the track they set out on. “The processions will continue until the goal is achieved— the right of return under UN Resolution 194 and the breaking of the Israeli siege on the Gaza Strip,” he told Hamas daily Al-Risala.

The organizers said that they see the protests enjoying large-scale success in the international arena and plan to peak on May 15th, but there has been no decision to end them on that date. “The processions have achieved many goals and have become a serious headache among the Israeli leadership,” Abu Ratima added. “The occupation leaders live in hysteria when their snipers’ crimes against Palestinian demonstrators were exposed, and when Palestinians were killed with live ammunition or [tear gas].”

Meanwhile, in the Gaza Strip, Palestinian Authority officials organized a demonstration over not receiving their salaries. As a result, the Bank of Palestine’s management in Gaza City was forced to announce the closure of its branches, fearing that the protest would turn violent.

IDF forces were preparing for the protests on Friday, reports said.

JPost.com staff contributed to this report.

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