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Two protesters killed by Israeli forces during Gaza protests

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Israeli forces opened fire at different fronts on the Gaza boundary fence today, killing two young Palestinians during today’s clashes.

Ashraf al-Qidra, the spokesman of Gaza’s Ministry of Health said that Mohammed Qeita, a 26-year old protester, was shot in his abdomen by an Israeli live bullet. Qeita came with his cousin from Khan Younis to participate at the Friday’s protest at al-Bureij’s border fence, located near the overcrowded al-Bureij Palestinian refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip. Dozens of protesters carried his bleeding body before he died of his critical injury which he sustained during the protest.   

Less than two hours later, medics in Gaza confirmed that Mohammed Abu-Zayed, 19, was also killed, shot in his head and neck. According to witnesses’ testimonies, Israeli snipers picked off the two protesters without prior warning.

At least another two injuries were reported during the clashes which erupted between unarmed Palestinian protesters and Israeli Forces on east of al-Bureij.

Protesters confirmed that the Israeli military stationed on the border fired tear gas canisters at them, suffocating dozens who were transferred to the al-Aqsa Martyrs, a central hospital in the middle area of Gaza, to get the needed medical care.

More than five protesters were reported injured at the Nahal Oz crossing east of Gaza city. Many Gazan youth marched on the area this afternoon before Israeli soldiers attacked them with their heavy weapons.

The Ministry of Health said that most of the injured were hit in their lower limbs and were receiving treatment at al-Shefa Hospital in Gaza city.

Today’s deadly clashes brought the number of Palestinians killed since the start of the ongoing unrest in the occupied Palestinian territories at 161, 26 of which are from Gaza.

Israeli forces claimed that some protesters tried “to breach the buffer zone” east of al-Bureij, and the soldiers responded by opening fire. Protesters tried to throw stones and Molotov cocktails at the barbed wire which is a noticeable distance away from the Israeli soldiers.

“Israelis are not true in their claims, we as protesters know very well that we cannot cross the fence. And if we assume that protesters in al- Bureij tried to cross the fence, and the Israeli soldiers had to respond, why there are other causalities in the east of Gaza?” said Muneer Salem, a 18-year old protester in al- Bureij. He accuses Israeli forces of intentionally killing unarmed protesters.

“The shoot to kill policy is now implemented in Gaza” said Muneer.       

Some activists called on social media yesterday for a “Rage Friday” on the Gaza borders to express their strong support of the Palestinian intifada which continues in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. They believe that Gaza should be a spearhead at any Palestinian action.

“Without Gaza being fully involved on the intifada, it would never be called an intifada then” said Youins Abu Jarad, a media activist in Gaza.                                                                                

Fridays are known to be a central occasions for these protests.

Fayez Abu-Shamalh, a political analyst based in Gaza said that Israel is not interested in reopening the Gaza front, but it is sure to demonstrate its so-called “sovereignty” in the face of the Palestinians.

“The Israeli occupation attempts to violently deter any Palestinian actions that are meant to humiliate the IDF,” Abu-Shamalh told Mondoweiss.     

Isra Saleh El-Namy

Isra Saleh El-Namy is a journalist in Gaza.

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4 Responses

  1. JLewisDickerson on January 17, 2016, 7:23 am

    RE: “According to witnesses’ testimonies, Israeli snipers picked off the two protesters without prior warning.” ~ Isra Saleh El-Namy

    SEE: “The Dogs of War: The Next Intifada”, By Uri Avnery, Counterpunch, 9/03/11

    [EXCERPT] . . . The second (“al-Aqsa”) intifada started after the breakdown of the 2000 Camp David conference and Ariel Sharon’s deliberately provocative “visit” to the Temple Mount. The Palestinians held non-violent mass demonstrations. The army responded with selective killings. A sharpshooter accompanied by an officer would take position in the path of the protest, and the officer would point out selected targets – protesters who looked like “ringleaders”. They were killed.
    This was highly effective. Soon the non-violent demonstrations ceased and were replaced by very violent (“terrorist”) actions. With those the army was back on familiar ground. . .


  2. Boomer on January 17, 2016, 7:23 am

    Obama just says “Israel has the right to defend itself,” as he gives them more money and weapons, and vetoes any attempt by the world to help.

  3. JLewisDickerson on January 17, 2016, 9:08 am

    RE: “Fayez Abu-Shamalh, a political analyst based in Gaza said that Israel is not interested in reopening the Gaza front, but it is sure to demonstrate its so-called ‘sovereignty’ in the face of the Palestinians.”~ Isra Saleh El-Namy

    IN OTHER WORDS: For the time being, Israel isn’t interested in “mowing the grass” in Gaza, but they will periodically trim the weeds.
    Israel will most likely wait until more rebuilding has been done in the areas decimated by the IDF back in 2014 during Operation Protective Edge. That will provide Israel with an opportunity to teach the European donors a lesson (i.e., payback for their objecting to expansion of settlements in the West Bank) at the same time they administer yet another round of punishment to the Gazans.

    In the meantime, if Israel sees any indications of unity between Fatah and Hamas (as in the unity agreement they signed right before Israel attacked Gaza in the summer of 2014), Israel will go ahead and attack Gaza in order to preclude a functioning unity government and\or reunification of the West Bank and Gaza (which would make it more difficult for Israel to eventually achieve its goal of absorbing virtually all of the West Bank).

    Preventing the reunification of Gaza and the West Bank (not quality) is “Job 1” for Israel.

  4. Boomer on January 18, 2016, 1:14 pm

    an excerpt from a longer piece by Ben Norton at Salon:

    “For almost a decade, the Israeli government has imposed a blockade of Gaza. For years the U.N. has explicitly said that the Israeli siege is illegal. Yet the U.S. has continued to back it.

    “The Israeli human rights organization Gisha fought a long legal battle, forcing the Israeli ministry of defense to release documents showing how it controls Palestinian civilians’ access to food as an act of war against the democratically elected Hamas government — which Israel previously had tried to overthrow, with U.S. support.

    “In 2006, Dov Weisglass, an adviser to the Israeli prime minister, explaining the Israeli blockade of Gaza, said “The idea is to put the Palestinians on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger.”

    “1.8 million Palestinians live in Gaza, and Israel controls everything that enters the strip — one of the most densely populated areas on the planet. The close U.S. ally counts the number of calories needed by Gazans, and allows in only that much food.

    “Moreover, Robert Turner, director of operations in Gaza for the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian refugees, warned in 2012 that “The facts on the ground indicate that food imports consistently fell below the red lines” established by Israel.

    “Clearly, putting almost 2 million people on a collective “diet” is deemed permissible when a U.S. ally does it, otherwise why would Israel have gotten more than $100 billion in military aid from American taxpayers in the past five decades?

    “Meanwhile, the U.S. cannot stop tugging at the heartstrings of the international community when its enemy engages in very similar tactics in neighboring Syria.”

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