For the fourth week yesterday, on a peaceful and unilateral battlefield, thousands of angry young Palestinian men went close to the border fence separating Gaza and Israel to protest, facing dozens of Israeli soldiers who lay positioned behind sandy hills. Four Palestinians were killed by live ammunition, and another 152 injured.
Category Archives: Israel/Palestine
MSF [Medecins sans Frontieres] surgeons in Gaza report devastating gunshot wounds among hundreds of people injured during the protests over recent weeks. The huge majority of patients – mainly young men, but also some women and children – have unusually severe wounds to the lower extremities. MSF medical teams note the injuries include an extreme level of destruction to bones and soft tissue, and large exit wounds that can be the size of a fist.
Yousef al-Kurnz, a 20-year-old Gazan photojournalist, lost his left leg after being hit with an explosive bullet from an Israeli sniper while he was covering the Great Return March. “I don’t regret that I went to the demonstration,” al-Kurnz tells Karama Fadel from We Are Not Numbers. “I am so proud of my work, I will succeed and I will achieve my dream to be a famous photographer. I still have two hands to hold my camera with.”
Einat Weizman tells the story of her attempts to stage “Prisoners of the Occupation,” her documentary play about the lives of Palestinians prisoners that became the focal point of a cultural and political battleground in Israel.
BDS movement: “Their Independence is our Nakba. The ethnic cleansing of 750,000 to one million indigenous Palestinians 70 years ago and turning them into refugees to establish a Jewish-majority state in Palestine is no cause for celebration.”
A photo essay of homemade gas masks demonstrates the creativity and resilience of Palestinian protesters demanding their rights in Gaza.
As the Great March of Return enters its fourth week, Nabeel Diab of the National Commission to Break the Siege of Gaza tells Mondoweiss: “The Palestinian people are eager to achieve their freedom, their independence, and their right to return to the villages where they were forced out of 70 years ago.” Diab is a member of a grassroots organization of activists who helped plan the march. He says that Israeli government claims that the protests are Hamas-led “are lies, and are defamatory statements that have no basis in reality.” Diab tells Mondoweiss: “This march is the embodiment of popular action involving children, women, and involving all the Palestinians that refuse to accept the occupation of our land.”
The Israeli government has sought to ban the dissident soldiers group Breaking the Silence, but its director said yesterday in Washington that as many Israeli soldiers as ever are reaching out to it, including some serving on the Gaza border now. Avner Gvaryahu declined to say what those soldiers are saying.
Rabbi Ophir Wallas of the Bnei David Military Mechina was caught on video teaching young would-be soldiers that Israelis are, from the point of view of religious law, permitted to wipe out Palestinians, and that only fear of massive retaliation prevents that.
Young Jewish-Americans are making rounds inside Senate, demanding lawmakers condemn Israel’s use of force on Palestinians in Gaza.
Eitan Bronstein Aparicio and Eleonore Merza Bronstein wonder what was so threatening about Nasreen al-Najjar that as she approached the fence between Israel and the Gaza Strip, soldiers shot her. She was only carrying a flag.
Speaking of Palestinian genocide is acceptable in Israeli discourse. Israeli PM Netanyahu lately published support for Avihai Boaron, an extreme settler who has blamed moderate rabbis for shirking their duty to create death camps for “Amalekites” — enemies of the Jewish people.
Several Israeli ministers and Knesset members praised an Israeli sniper who cheered after shooting an unarmed Palestinian boy near Gaza’s borders. (See video below.) Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that the soldier “deserves an appreciation certificate” for doing his job properly. Education Minister Naftali Bennett said, “Anyone who was ever on the battlefield knows that to sit in Tel Aviv or studios and judge IDF soldiers according to their comments, when they are busy defending our borders, is not something serious.”
“I came today for the third time, to tell the Israeli soldiers that if my grandfather was unable to return to Al-Majdal, [where the Israeli city of Ashkelon now stands] then my father will do it, and if my father fails, I will return one day” — 7-year-old Deema Abu Sharekh on the day of burning the Israeli flag at the Gaza border.
Israeli leaders have been making downright genocidal claims against Palestinians, and the rhetoric finally seems to be backfiring. Israel’s line on “defending itself from terrorists” is being rejected by the world. And the process is accelerating Israel’s delegitimization as a supposed liberal democracy.
Benjamin Netanyahu sats the protester in Gaza are “terrorist” and the IDF does “holy work.”
Haidar Eid writes from Gaza: “We have reached the conclusion that our fight on the ground through a series of marches culminating on May 15, the 70th anniversary of the Nakba, can pose a serious challenge to Israel’s system of occupation, colonization and apartheid if it is accompanied by a global campaign of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions.”
A photo of 9-year-old Mohammed Ayyash wearing a mask with an onion stalk slipped inside to protect against Israeli teargas has become one of the iconic images of Gaza’s Great March of Return. Asmaa Tayeh talks with Mohammed and his family about the protests and the child’s hope for the future. “I want to have my own playground so I can play football and basketball the whole day,” Mohammed tells Tayeh. “And I want it to be named after my new nickname, Abu Basala (the kid with an onion).”
Over the last two weeks Palestinians in Gaza have assembled in mass along the border with Israel for the “Great March of Return,” protesting against their displacement and the siege over the Strip. Here are some of the amazing photographs from the last week of the protest, including a birthday celebration for teenager Hussein Madi who was killed last Friday on his 14th birthday. Yesterday his family lit candles in memorial near the location where he was fatally wounded.
The Great March of Return began on Land Day and ends on Nakba Day. In the process it is demonstrating that each period of Palestinian dispossession is connected — it is an ongoing saga where the Nakba never ended. The protest is also showing that when Palestinians seek to make the world remember them, they are killed with impunity. Still, Jonathan Ofir says the Israeli response has exposed Israel “as the monster that it was destined to be.”
Monday Marwan Odah Qdeih, 45, from Khuza‘a in the southern Gaza Strip, died after succumbing to injuries he sustained after Israeli soldiers shot him in Friday’s Great March of Return. Qdeih became the 30th person killed in the border protests, according to Gaza’s Ministry of Health.
A video clip in which an Israeli sniper filmed himself shooting an unarmed Palestinian across the Gaza fence and then celebrating drew international outrage last night. The two Palestinian targets in the video appear simply to be walking around near the fence.
Jehad Abusalim examines how Gaza came to be trapped “from the fence to the fence” by looking back at the Strip from the British Mandate period to present date: “The fence is the history that Palestinians in Gaza never want to forget, and no amount of aid can induce them to do so.”
The family of Ahed Tamimi, the 17-year-old Palestinian activist who was imprisoned in December for slapping and kicking an Israeli soldier, released footage of the teenager’s interrogation during a press conference in Ramallah on Monday. The footage shows Tamimi resisting all efforts by the Israeli interrogators to coerce her into confessing to a number of charges and giving information about her family. “All of these tactics were used to try to break the symbol, the embodiment that Ahed has created through resisting the occupation,” Ahed’s father Bassem Tamimi said.
Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman justified the killing 30-year-old Yaser Murtaja by Israeli snipers even though he wore a flak jacket clearly marked PRESS. Lieberman said: “I don’t know who is and who isn’t a photographer . . . We won’t take any chances.”