An extra 1,000 “reinforcement” soldiers—made up of infantry and a tank brigade—were sent to Israel’s Gaza division on Monday of this week.
It came ahead of a major demonstration by Palestinians set to take place this Saturday.
The protest will mark the anniversary of a year of resistance by Palestinians at the border between Gaza and Israel.
Tens of thousands of Palestinians have marched every week as part of a movement known as the Great March of Return.
Their main demand is for the right of Palestinian refugees—expelled from their homes when Israel was established in 1948—to return home.
They also want an end to the Israeli siege of Gaza which is responsible for severe shortages and electricity blackouts.
Israel has tried to crush the protests with extreme violence. Soldiers murdered 16 Palestinians during a demonstration on 30 March last year—an event that the protest this Saturday will mark.
Israeli snipers—then also sent as “reinforcements”—were responsible for killing many of the unarmed protesters. Footage showed one man being shot in the back as he ran away from the border fence.
Another was shot in the head as he smoked a cigarette.
More than 240 Palestinians have been killed since the protests began last year, and over 27,000 injured.
As the threat of violence approached, the World Health Organisation has delivered essential medicines and medical supplies to Gaza.
It said its delivery last Sunday will prepare medics to treat up 120,000 mildly injured, or 20,000 seriously injured, patients hurt during demonstrations.
The violence and siege conditions have led to a flare up of fighting between Israel and Palestinian resistance groups in Gaza.
Israel said the reinforcements it sent on Monday were in response to a rocket fired from the strip on Sunday evening.
It has pounded the Gaza Strip with airstrikes in recent weeks. Some 100 Israeli airstrikes hit Gaza on Friday 15 March. Another airstrike hit central Gaza last Sunday.
Israel was founded in 1948 through a campaign of ethnic cleansing against Palestinians to ensure it had a Jewish ethnic majority.
It uses racist laws and repressive measures to keep Palestinians out and ensure it maintains that ethnic majority today.
Protest for Palestine
Saturday 30 March. Demonstrations across Britain including in London, Manchester, Newcastle, Brighton, Birmingham and Cardiff
Right targets students’ solidarity
Student activists have organised meetings and events on campuses across Britain as part of the annual Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW).
The events highlight Israel’s oppression and systematic racism towards Palestinians.
This is often likened to the former apartheid government of South Africa that discriminated against black people.
The campaign also focuses on how students can organise as part of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel.
In recent years, students have faced attempts to shut down solidarity with Palestine by pro-Israel campaigners.
They use the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism, which rules out calling Israel a racist or apartheid state.
The definition has also been used against left wing Labour Party members.
Labour MP Fabian Hamilton last week encouraged those who seek to shut down pro?Palestinian campaigning.
He branded IAW “a campaign of hatred which undermines the legitimacy of the state of Israel.”
And he called on anyone in breach of the IHRA definition to be “dealt with swiftly by the relevant authorities”.
Former Labour MP Joan Ryan also branded criticism of Israel antisemitic last week.
Ryan spoke to the conference of the pro?Israel US campaign group American Israel Public Affairs Committee.
She said Labour had become “riddled with antisemitism” because it was “taken over by the far left” and “now seeks to demonise and delegitimise Israel”.
Trump boosts Netanyahu
US president Donald Trump has said that he will recognise the occupied Golan Heights as part of Israel.
In a tweet last Thursday, Trump said it was “Time for the United States to fully recognise Israel’s Sovereignty over the Golan Heights”.
He was expected to formally declare this to Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu this week.
Israel snatched the Golan Heights from Syria, which it invaded during the Six Day War in 1967.
That same war began its occupation of the Palestinian West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem.
Trump’s announcement is a sign that the US is preparing to allow Israel to claim parts of the West Bank as part of a supposed “peace deal”.