Near Gaza City, a voice on a loudspeaker urged the crowd forward: “Get closer! Get closer!”
The charge was often led by women dressed in black, waving Palestinian flags and urging others to follow.
“We don’t want just one or two people to get closer,” said an elderly woman clutching a shoulder bag and a flag. “We want a big group.”
The atmosphere grew more charged after midday prayers, when more than 1,000 men gathered under a large blue awning. Officials from Hamas and other militant factions addressed the worshipers, urging them into the fray and claiming — falsely, to all appearances — that the fence had been breached and that Palestinians were flooding into Israel.
Several speakers reserved their harshest words for the United States and its decision to move the embassy to Jerusalem. “America is the greatest Satan,” said a cleric, holding his index finger in the air as hundreds of people did the same. “Now we are heading to Jerusalem with millions of martyrs. We may die but Palestine will live.” The crowd repeated the chant.
As the cleric spoke, more smoke rose in the sky behind him, and worshipers peeled away and began to walk toward the fence.
At 5:30 p.m., shortly after an Israeli airstrike in Gaza, organizers who had been urging people toward the fence all day suddenly began shooing them away, and the day’s action quickly subsided.
Hamas officials promised that the protests would continue. Khalil al-Hayya, deputy chief of Hamas in Gaza, said at a news conference that the purpose of Monday’s demonstrations was to “powerfully confront the embassy deal” and to “draw the map of return in blood.”
“The American administration bears responsibility for all consequences following the implementation of this unjust decision,” Mr. Hayyah said. “This crime will not pass.”
Hamas officials also hinted at the possibility of a military strike at Israel by the group’s military wing, the Qassam brigades.
Behind the embassy shift, a close alliance.
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