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Four are killed, as Gaza protesters move tents closer to border

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For the fourth week, on a peaceful and unilateral battlefield, thousands of angry young men went close to the border fence separating Gaza and Israel to protest, facing dozens of Israeli soldiers who lay positioned behind sandy hills. But neither side could see the other clearly due to towers of thick black smoke from blazing tires billowing over the isolated Mediterranean enclave for six hours of protests.

This Friday which is part of a planned six-week-long demonstration called the Great Return March, demanding the right of return for refugees, eight tents in “Malaka” area were moved to within 300 meters of the fence, just in range of tear gas canisters and live bullets. Moving closer to the green fields behind the border s more sense to the rally, march’s organizers believe.

Local bulldozers also raised protective sandy hills around the new set camp.

Moving those yards closer left four Palestinians killed and 152 others injured by Israeli soldiers firing live ammunition from across the border, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reported.

April 20, 2018 Gaza protest. Photo by Mohammed Asad

Breaking the barriers of fear, the protesters hurled tear gas canisters back at the soldiers, buried them or even dumped them in buckets filled with water.

In the past three weeks, 37 Palestinians have been killed and hundreds wounded by troops firing from across the border fence.

April 20, 2018 Gaza protest. Photo by Mohammed Asad

Ra’fat Jendiyeh said he was the “only loser” of this week’s protest. Ra’fat, a 41-year-old farmer, owns 25-dunums (about six acres) near the fence, planted with okra, wheat and eggplant. He says his fields have been turned into a “daytime club and open-air restaurant.” His family had 35 dunums on the other side of the Israeli border too.

Ra’fat Jendiyeh at Gaza protests, April 20, 2018. Photo by Mohammed Asad.

“It is impossible to find someone walking between these fields before last March, except masked resistance fighters or farmers with faces well-known to the soldiers,” he told Mondoweiss.

April 20, 2018 Gaza protest. Photo by Mohammed Asad

“These masses are no longer afraid of anything,” he said. Thousands of casualties, dozens of dead and grisly scenes of wounds on television have not stopped them from joining the march. “So I cannot prevent dozens from running back and crushing the seedlings,” he said. “But it does not matter if they are relieved of their anger.”

April 20, 2018 Gaza protest. Photo by Mohammed Asad

In one protest camp, organizers placed four life-sized effigies of Israeli soldiers behind iron bars facing the fence. Hamas is believed to hold the remains of two soldiers from the 2014 war between Israel and Gaza.

April 20, 2018 Gaza protest. Images of Israeli soldiers. Photo by Mohammed Asad

Ismail Haniyeh, the chief of Hamas’s Political Bureau, said in a televised speech to mark Palestinian Prisoners’ Day on Tuesday, that his movement is ready for a prisoner swap with Israel through third-party mediation.

April 20, 2018 Gaza protest. Life size effigies of Israeli soldiers behind bars. Photo by Mohammed Asad

In today’s protests, a large number of women were also seen. Nour Habib, 17, and her mother, Nihad, 35, and her sisters were urging each other to move close to the border “to see the green fields behind the soldiers”.

Women are less likely to be shot at the weekly rally, it is widely understood.

April 20, 2018 Gaza protest. Nour Habib and her mother. Photo by Mohammed Asad

I asked Nihad Habib if her daughters and she are afraid to be in this precarious area. As she prepared Thai-style fried chicken for lunch, she replied, “I am originally from the Bayt Jirja village (15.5 km northeast of Gaza) and nothing frightens you as long as you… want to go back to your original land”.

Nour, who is preparing for high school exams next month, says she comes here weekly for a walk and to refresh her mind. “I do not think we’ll go this summer to the sewage polluted beach. Here I can breathe fresh oxygen.”

April 20, 2018 Gaza protest. Photo by Mohammed Asad

“We live in a male-dominated society,” she went on, and girls’ participation in the protests can make for a strange scene. But she said men were more accepting and encouraging the idea to be here, “especially since we came with my uncle, who did not like the idea at first, but he agreed and we got his car.”

Nour said she did not like the 300 meters “only” move of tents. “It should be moved at zero distance next Friday,” she said. Palestinians have no fear because they face a country that was built on their displacement. “They think the young will forget but we will not.”

April 20, 2018 Gaza protest. Nihad Habib fleeing tear gas. Photo by Mohammed Asad

Then Nour and her family fled due to a tear gas attack during the interview. So, being a female protester wasn’t a guarantee for protection after all.

The participation in the weekly rallies seems to have impressed even the children, some of whom feel lucky to have the demonstration to go to on Friday on their school weekend.

April 20, 2018 Gaza protest. Photo by Mohammed Asad

I met Basma Abu Hashish (9 years old) who was with her family eating lemon flavored ice.

April 20, 2018 Gaza protest. Basma abu Hashish, 9, and her family. Photo by Mohammed Asad

“Nothing is scary here,” she said.

“We brought mineral water to rinse our eyes if we have been attacked by gas,” she said. “At least my father will tell us stories about what he did when he was our age and what my granddad was catching in the Jaffa’s sea.”

April 20, 2018 Gaza protest. Photo by Mohammed Asad

Ahmad Kabariti

Ahmad Kabariti is a freelance journalist based in Gaza.

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19 Responses

  1. guyn on April 21, 2018, 5:07 pm

    Beautiful stories, and these people are being shot…

    • Misterioso on April 23, 2018, 11:45 am

      Opinion “The Insanity at the Gaza Fence” By Roger Cohen,
      New York Times, April 20/18

      “When snipers shoot to kill civilians approaching a wall, there are disturbing echoes for anyone who has lived in Berlin. I lived in Berlin.

      “I have passed several times through the fence separating the first world of Israel from the rubble-strewn open-air prison of Gaza. It’s a violent transition in a place of unreason. As usual Israel overreaches, an eye for an eyelash, as the Oxford professor and former Israeli soldier Avi Shlaim once observed.

      “Israel has the right to defend its borders, but not to use lethal force against mainly unarmed protesters in the way that has already left 35 Palestinians dead and nearly 1,000 injured. Overreaction is inherent to the existential threat Israel claims, but that is ever less persuasive. Israeli military dominance over the Palestinians is overwhelming and Arab states have lost interest in the Palestinian cause.

      “Hamas, Israel claims, is using women and children as human shields for violent demonstrators who want to penetrate the fence and kill Israelis. The script is familiar: international investigations will follow, inconclusive outcomes, redoubled hatred.”

      “Six former directors of Mossad, the Israeli intelligence agency, sounded the alarm a few weeks ago. When those most responsible for Israeli security say Israel’s current course is self-defeating, it’s worth paying attention.

      “Here’s Tamir Pardo, Mossad chief from 2011 through 2015, speaking to the Israel daily Yedioth Ahronoth: ‘If the State of Israel doesn’t decide what it wants, in the end there will be a single state between the sea and the Jordan. That is the end of the Zionist vision.’ To which Danny Yatom, director from 1996 to 1998, responds: ‘That’s a country that will deteriorate into either an apartheid state or a non-Jewish state. If we continue to rule the territories, I see that as an existential danger. A state of that kind isn’t the state that I fought for. There are some people who will say that we’ve done everything and that there isn’t a partner, but that isn’t true. There is a partner. Like it or not, the Palestinians and the people who represent them are the partners we need to engage with.’”

  2. Maghlawatan on April 21, 2018, 5:14 pm

    Gaza reminds me of Frankie meets Pauline by Felix da housecat

    “Get the fuck off me!”.
    and Israelis “don’t know how to ask”.

  3. Maghlawatan on April 21, 2018, 5:14 pm

    Israel has 2 great weapons . Nukes and Congress.
    2 chocolate teapots at the moment.

  4. Citizen on April 21, 2018, 5:29 pm

    US TV News shows nothing of this. Nobody I know personally is aware of it.

    • JWalters on April 22, 2018, 12:05 am

      Too true and too sad.

      Another, broader analysis of the latest four Palestinians killed is in
      “‘Worthy’ and ‘Unworthy’ Victims”

    • CigarGod on April 22, 2018, 9:56 am

      I know plenty of people who believe they are “aware” of how the Palestinians are “asking for it.”
      These people tho…who range from NPR type liberals all the way to fundamentalist right wing bible thumpers are unaware of their joint solidarity on this issue.
      Israel wants to win, so they pay both sides.

    • Misterioso on April 23, 2018, 11:05 am

      “The Media’s Palestine Distortions” by GREG SHUPAK

      “On March 30th Palestinians began the Great Return March, a six week campaign during which protestors have marched toward the wall that separates Gaza from Israel. They are demanding that Palestinian refugees be allowed to return to the homes from which they were expelled during the creation of the Israeli state in 1947-48 and in subsequent years.

      “Since the demonstrations began Israel has killed 35 Palestinians, including three children. Among those killed, 28 died during demonstrations. An additional 2,548 Palestinians have been injured, 1,495 of whom were shot with live fire. Palestinian journalists, medical staff, and paramedics wearing distinct uniforms have been targeted. No Israeli soldiers or civilians have been killed or injured during the protests.

      “Yet, media outlets are going to great lengths to obscure Israel’s responsibility: when Israel shot and killed a Palestinian journalist at a protest, the Associated Press described him as dying ‘after’ the demonstration, as though he had fatally slipped on a banana peel on his way home. In a lengthy, 30-word Tweet introducing a story on the subject, The New York Times failed to communicate that Israel was killing Palestinians, while at the same time suggesting that it was the Palestinians who were to blame for their own deaths.

      “An Associated Press headline said ‘Palestinian protesters burn tires, sending smoke billowing at Gaza-Israel border; Israeli troops fire back sporadically,’ which is curious since it’s hard to ‘fire back’ at people who are not firing.

      “Foreign Policy deemed it necessary to alert us to the dangers of ‘The Nonviolent Violence of Hamas’; as of two days before this article was published, it was Israel that had killed 30 Palestinians. Of this, the author alleged that ‘the killing of at least 22 Palestinian demonstrators by Israeli troops at the March of Return demonstration at the Gaza border with Israel was the first good news Hamas has had in more than a year.’ Eli Lake of Bloomberg has also been vigilant about what he describes as Hamas ‘mak[ing] nonviolence violent’ in an article titled, ‘Palestinian Casualties Are No Accident for Hamas.’ Portraying Palestinians (sans evidence) as merciless fanatics willing to have their own killed is a tired trope in reporting on Palestine-Israel, one that suggests Israel has no choice but to deal forcefully with Palestinians because they are wedded to irrational violence. I do my best to de-bunk in this myth and related ones in the second chapter of my book The Wrong Story: Palestine, Israel, and the Media.

      “A wide assortment of news sources have described Israel’s attacks as ‘clashes,’ a term that wrongly implies that Palestinians and Israelis are equally responsible for, and have suffered to a comparable extent, from the violence. Framing Palestine-Israel in terms of ‘both sides’ being at fault and ‘both sides’ harming each other to a comparable extent obfuscates the colonial nature of the Palestinian question, as I detail in the first chapter of The Wrong Story.

      “With reporting like this, it’s no wonder people have a hard time telling the difference between ‘real’ and ‘fake’ news.”

      • JWalters on April 23, 2018, 7:43 pm

        Thanks for the rundown on Israel’s “American” news reporting. The curious case of the dog that didn’t bark.

  5. Kay24 on April 21, 2018, 8:02 pm

    This is interesting. Apparently the zionazis have trained their agents to pose as Palestinians:

    Musta’ribeen, Israel’s agents who pose as Palestinians

    “The agents are given rigorous training, and in operations concerning the occupied territories, are taught to think and act like a Palestinian. Their main missions, according to Israeli affairs expert Antoine Shalhat, include gathering intelligence, arresting Palestinians, and – in their eyes – counterterrorist operations.

    “The first musta’ribeen unit was established in 1942 before the state of Israel came into being until 1950,” Shalhat said. “This unit was part of the Palmach, an elite division of the Haganah militia, which went on to later become the core of the Israeli army.”

    Not much is known about these agents because they operate in secret, he added. The Israeli army dissolves these units once their work is found out, and forms new ones to take their place.

    • Leahj on April 23, 2018, 6:20 am

      Kay24, Are you familiar with Operation Ulysses? The director of Mossad took Jewish Zionists who were recent immigrants from Arab countries, trained them for a year & a half in Islam, espionage & sabotage. Posing as devout Arab Muslims & Palestinian nationalists, they were planted in Palestinian refugee communities in the West Bank & Arab states. This occurred during the 1950s & 1960s. Some, under directions from their handlers, even married Palestinian women & had children by them — a good way to perfect your cover. The wives & kids had no idea at the time, of course, that their Palestinian husbands & fathers were actually Jewish Israeli spies.,7340,L-4422919,00.html

    • JWalters on April 23, 2018, 7:49 pm

      Thanks for this. Any violent action of unclear origin related to Israel must rationally be considered a possible false flag by the Israelis.

  6. JLewisDickerson on April 22, 2018, 12:03 am

    RE: “Four are killed, as Gaza protesters move tents closer to border”

    “Israel to investigate killing of 15-year-old in Gaza border, says Trump envoy Greenblatt
    • The statement follows harsh condemnation from UN coordinator in Mideast peace plan calling the shooting of teenager Mohammed Ayoub ‘outrageous’
    Amir Tibon | Apr. 21, 2018 | 2:46 AM | 2

    [EXCERPT] WASHINGTON – Jason Greenblatt, President Trump’s special envoy to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, said on Friday that Israel is investigating the death of a Palestinian teenager in Gaza, who was killed during the protests near the border fence between Israel and Gaza on Friday.

    “A full investigation by Israel of Mohammed Ayoub’s death is underway so that we will be able to understand what happened,” Greenblatt stated. He added that “as we mourn the tragic loss of a young life, we must all resolve to avoid causing more suffering by responses to his death.”

    On Thursday, Greenblatt wrote that “Palestinians in Gaza have the right to protest their dire humanitarian circumstances,” but at the same time, added that “organizers and leaders should focus on that message, not stoke the potential for more violence with firebombs and flaming kites.” He also stated that Palestinian protesters in the coastal enclave”must keep a safe distance from the border.” . . .

    SOURCE –

    • genesto on April 23, 2018, 12:58 pm

      ‘Israel will investigate’ reminds me of the scene towards the end of ‘Casablanca’ when the Claude Rains character famously tells his men to ’round up the usual suspects’, while standing next to the murderer, Humphrey Bogart, he’s protecting. There’s just about the same amount of sincerity in each circumstance.

  7. RafinSFastur on April 22, 2018, 2:17 am

    What is happening in Gaza should be reported as follow: The palestinian captives are rioting and are trying to escape the Gaza concentration ghetto. They are being savagely repealed with extreme brutality by the Israeli “Security Squadron” (SS), camp guards. Israel’s, guide and leader (das Führer), Prime Minister Netanyahu has congratulated his elite troops for their meritorious protection of Greater Israel (ארץ ישראל השלמה).

  8. Marnie on April 22, 2018, 8:32 am

    Love, love, love the IOF effigies behind bars.

  9. Maghlawatan on April 22, 2018, 2:32 pm

    I found the lyrics of Candy J sweet pussy Pauline
    Which remind me of Gaza and have been tweaked slightly

    I recently had a incident. This IDF mothafucka,
    climbed up on top of me, and my people
    the littlest dick you ever seen 
    In your mothafucking life, 
    He had the unmitigated gall, 
    girls, to look into my pretty Palestinian eyes and say.. 
    Am I hurting you?… 

    Hurting me?? 
    Mothafucka you are TICKLING me! 
    Get the FUCK up off me, and my people
    Leave the reparations, 
    And the dresser and hit the door!! 
    Aint you tired of these little-dick ass IDF mothafuckas 
    Coming up to you trying to waste your time? 
    Knowing that your land is looking good… 
    Nice little bit of Eretz Israel back there!! 
    But you see, let me tell you something girls… 
    A lot of these mothafuckas 
    See us walking by.. 
    They wanna put they face in our land and go BWWWRRRWWRWRWWRW… 
    But They never pay for nothing

  10. lonely rico on April 24, 2018, 10:42 am

    Copy of April 24 letter to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau –

    Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
    I read in the paper that you have been very busy over the last few weeks. Two days in Lima, Peru for the 8th Summit of the Americas, followed by a quick stop-over in Ottawa to pressure for the (Texas oil company) Kinder-Morgan pipeline and then on to France to schmooze with president Emmanuel Macron. Then over the English channel to … well, I guess one doesn’t schmooze with Queen Elizabeth II, but I’m sure you had a delightful cup of tea and a chat with her highness and then on to Theresa May and commonwealth business with Prince Charles (I guess), and, well very busy days.
    I write to bring you up to date with the situation in Gaza, which unfortunately this last week has been very similar to the previous weeks. Israeli snipers (courageously) continued to murder unarmed Palestinians, four Palestinians killed and 152 others injured.
    In the past three weeks, 37 Palestinians have been killed and thousands wounded by (courageous) IDF snipers, firing from across the border fence. Many of the wounded will live the rest of their lives in pain, seriously handicapped, crippled for life.
    The last time I wrote, I mentioned two Palestinians (Yosef Al-Kronz and Mohammed Al-‘Ajouri) who were requesting permission to be transferred to the West Bank, where they could receive medical care not available in the overwhelmed hospitals in the Gaza Strip. Israel refused the request . As a result Yosef Al-Kronz had both legs amputated, while Mohammed Al-‘Ajouri had one leg amputated and risks losing the other.

    Canada must make the following two demands of Israel –

    1. The (courageous) snipers (and other military units) of the IDF posted on the border fence of Gaza must immediately stop attacking unarmed Gazans inside the strip.
    2. Israel must immediately and unconditionally lift the illegal blockade of the Gaza strip.

    Failure on the part of Israel to respond positively to these two demands must result in a re-evaluation of Canada’s relationships with Israel, including; diplomatic, political, commercial, financial, military, artistic and academic cooperation.
    The time is long past when Israel’s brutal and illegal dispossession/oppression of the Palestinians is ignored and excused.

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