“We want to go back to our lands,” she said.
At the Shifa hospital, relatives clustered around the beds of dozens of young men with leg wounds. In all, about 1,700 were hospitalized with various wounds, according to Palestinian officials. Mariam as-Sahar stood over her son, Adnan, 18, a high school student who had been shot in the knee by an Israeli sniper as he sat in a field a few hundred feet from the fence.
Concern etched Ms. Sahar’s face as her son winced in pain, but like many in the crowded wards, her tone was calm. “The Israelis also shell people in their houses,” she said. “So even if he had not gone to the march, he could have been targeted at home.”
The wounded man’s father said that their family had been displaced from the town of Ge’a, 10 miles north of the penitentiary-like building that marks the main portals between Gaza and Israel. He last visited the area in 1982, he said, at a time when Gazans could still travel into Israel without permission. “The Israelis are settlers who have raped our land,” he said. “How long will their rule last?”
Muhammad Haniya, a nephew of the Hamas leader, warned that the group could easily return to violence if the international sympathy of recent days did not lead to an easing of the 11-year-old Israeli blockade of the territory.
“We cannot be patient for much longer after all these deaths,” he said. “If the world does not intervene, I do not think that Hamas can remain silent, and our armed resistance will respond.”
For now, he said, the protests would continue every Friday.