Tension along the Israel-Gaza border could ease if Israel were to allow in 5,000 Gazans from the besieged enclave on work permits, according to a Qatari diplomat mediating to resolve the dispute, Reuters reported.
The proposal was suggested by Qatari envoy Mohammed al-Emadi who floated the idea during an interview with Israeli public broadcaster Kane on Sunday.
“It could start for example with 5,000 people in Gaza who would work in Israel. That is good. That would stop the protests, the fires, the kites and the balloons,” Emadi said.
Palestinians in Gaza, which the United Nations said would be “unliveable by 2020” have been demonstrating against Israel’s decade-long blockade of the territory and in support of their right to return to lands they fled or were driven from during the war surrounding the creation of Israel in 1948.
Since the protests began on March 30, they have been violently quashed by the Israeli army. At least 145 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire.
The majority of those killed were non-violent protestors, as well as journalists, bystanders and a nurse, however a small number were seeking to breach or damage the border fence. No Israelis have been killed.
Israel says its use of live fire is necessary to defend its borders and stop infiltrations, despite the fact that protestors throwing stones or molotov cocktails pose little threat to the heavily-defended border.
Earlier, the UN General Assembly adopted by a strong majority an Arab-backed resolution condemning Israel for the killing of protesters.
The resolution condemned Israel’s use of “excessive, disproportionate and indiscriminate force” against Palestinian civilians and called for protection measures for the people of Gaza and the occupied West Bank.