Hundreds of Palestinians protest amid heightened tensions over embassy opening

There are heightened tensions in Israel this weekend, just days before the opening of the new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem. Israeli forces on Saturday blew up what they said was a Hamas terror tunnel at the Gaza border. Palestinian protesters have been fighting with Israeli troops at the border since March.

The site of the new U.S. embassy is being readied, and signs are up across Jerusalem thanking President Trump for moving the embassy, thus recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

On Saturday, hundreds of Palestinians, who have been protesting the embassy move, marched through the streets of Gaza, carrying the body of a protester shot by Israeli troops Friday.

He was among an estimated 15,000 demonstrators, some burning tires and hurling rocks at Israeli forces. Palestinians have also started attaching fire-bombs to kites and flying them into Israel. 

Along the Gaza border on Friday, CBS News found Israelis flying kites in a counter-demonstration.

“They kill their own. I mean – they kill their own,” said Leah Goldin, whose son Hadar was killed four years in a war with Hamas. His body was never returned. She’s angry and thinks Hamas is using Palestinians’ suffering for publicity.

“This is awful – to use children’s games – kites – and to turn them into bombs,” Goldin said. “To burn what? The fields?”

As a result of one of those fire-kites, a crop that has been destroyed, which was a field of wheat and while the damage is relatively limited, ultimately it is symbolic. After all, this is a fight over land – and who it belongs to.

Racing across the fields, we found firefighters on specially-fitted motorcycles. Captain Liron Soll explained they go where fire engines cannot. 

“All big fires start from small one – if you are in the right place in the right time – you can close it with a glass of water. So, we are the glass of water,” Soll said. 

Israelis told CBS News the burned fields on this side of the conflict cannot compare with the level of suffering or images coming from Gaza. Anger is boiling, Hamas is calling on its supporters to storm the security fence — and Israel’s military is strengthening its defenses.

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