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Great March of Return organizers: Israeli claims that Hamas is behind protests are lies

Israel/Palestine

As the Great March of Return enters its fourth week in the besieged Gaza Strip, the activists behind the massive peaceful demonstrations have a message for the world:

“The Palestinian people, especially in Gaza, cannot bear the Israeli siege any longer,” says Nabeel Diab of the National Commission to Break the Siege of Gaza. “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 the idea was born after the massive Nakba Day demonstration in 2011 when thousands of Palestinian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Egypt and the Palestinian territory marched to the borders with Israel to demand their collective right of return to their homelands.

Diab says the message of the Great March of Return is the same as the message of the 2011 protests. “The march is a massive, popular event, supporting the idea that the Palestinian people maintain their right to return and to stay on their lands,” he tells Mondoweiss.

The Great March of Return protests have been portrayed by Israel’s government and military as Hamas-led, controlled, and inspired. Israeli media has largely maintained the government’s narrative that Hams is “inciting violence” in Gaza.

But, Diab insists that is not the case.

“The Israeli government’s allegations that Hamas organized these protests are lies, and are defamatory statements that have no basis in reality,” Diab says. “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.”

Critics have argued that Israel has used the Hamas narrative to justify their excessive use of force against protesters.

As of April 14, 36 Palestinians had been killed in Gaza by the Israeli army since the protests began.

“These protests have shown the world how the right-wing Israeli occupation government commits war crimes against us and our rights,” Diab tells Mondoweiss.

Palestinian women wave Palestinian flags during clashes with Israeli security forces near the border with Israel, east of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza strip, on April 15, 2018. (Photo: Ashram Amra/APA Images)

About Yumna Patel

Yumna Patel is a multimedia freelance journalist based in Bethlehem, Palestine. You can find her on twitter @yumna_patel.

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Akram Al-Wara
About Akram Al-Wa'ra

Akram Al-Wa'ra is a freelance Palestinian filmmaker based in Bethlehem, Palestine.

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About Nidal Wuheid

Nidal Wuheid is a Gaza-based videographer.

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12 Responses

  1. eljay
    eljay
    April 18, 2018, 12:53 pm

    … “The Israeli government’s allegations that Hamas organized these protests are lies, and are defamatory statements that have no basis in reality,” Diab says. “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.” …

    No doubt. But “Hamas” is much scarier than “children, women” and, so, provides more sympathy for Israeli victimhood and better cover for Israeli (war) crimes.

  2. Maghlawatan
    Maghlawatan
    April 18, 2018, 2:46 pm

    The Khamas is a bogeyman used to scare the bejaysus out of Yossi Israeli and his indoctrinated family. Teghogh. Teghogh.
    And Palestinians according to Israel have no agency.
    So it is obviously the Khamas. If you speak Hebrew. LOLZ

  3. Kaisa of Finland
    Kaisa of Finland
    April 18, 2018, 6:49 pm

    • Maghlawatan
      Maghlawatan
      April 18, 2018, 10:50 pm

      Great link Kaisa.
      Had to laugh when they said “Shalom” at the start. Shalom means peace and Israel is the antipeace.

  4. Mayhem
    Mayhem
    April 18, 2018, 11:55 pm

    Oh yeh.
    COGAT reveals Hamas threats against bus company owners
    Recordings show Hamas forced people and paid them to attend protests; threatened bus owners with arrest if they didn’t cooperate in bussing them.

    • eljay
      eljay
      April 19, 2018, 9:31 am

      || Mayhem: Oh yeh.
      COGAT reveals Hamas threats against bus company owners
      Recordings show Hamas forced people and paid them to attend protests; threatened bus owners with arrest if they didn’t cooperate in bussing them. ||

      This is funny. COGAT says Hamas threatens Palestinian bus companies. So what does Israel do? It threatens Palestinian bus companies:

      … The recording, sent to owners of bus companies, said in part, “Anyone approaching the border is risking their lives. As far as we’re concerned, if the bus company you own takes part in transporting protesters (to the fence), you and your family will bear personal responsibility.”
      . . .
      Giving an interview to Arab television channel al-Hura, COGAT Mordechai said … the army warned bus companies’ owners and that “personal steps will be taken against anyone using buses to attend violent protests and against the company they own.” …

    • CigarGod
      CigarGod
      April 19, 2018, 10:11 am

      Mayhem…
      You don’t even know which way is up, do you?

      You think a link to an audio file supports your point of Hamas force (no way to verify), but instead the link is mostly about threats against bus company owners and their families…by COGAT…if they take Palestinians to the border.

    • Misterioso
      Misterioso
      April 19, 2018, 11:01 am

      @Mayhem

      “Recordings show Hamas forced people and paid them to attend protests; threatened bus owners with arrest if they didn’t cooperate in bussing them.”

      Of course, Palestinians love living in the world’s largest outdoor prison under the boot of their brutal, illegal occupier. Yes, under international law, the Gaza Strip is still illegally occupied by the entity known as “Israel” in gross violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, i.e., “Collective Punishment.”

  5. shaun patrick
    shaun patrick
    April 19, 2018, 8:56 am

    Mayhem….Israel’s claims that Hamas is behind the marches is their way of avoiding reality, in fact who cares. What Israel wants the world to ignore is that they keep 2 million human beings in a concentration camp, people who live in misery without hope. Israel controls every aspect of Gaza’s life even to deciding who lives or dies or if Hamas can continue ruling. . It is of no importance if the “Tooth Fairy” organizes the demonstrations the fact is Israel is the “Camp Commandant” and the imprisoned Palestinians are their prisoners and they want their freedom.

  6. Albert Westpy
    Albert Westpy
    April 19, 2018, 9:03 pm

    What does it matter if Hamas or any other organization is behind the marches ? I am not a Palestinian or Muslim but would support any anti-colonial group who supported the liberation of the Palestinian people.

  7. Qualtrough
    Qualtrough
    April 24, 2018, 4:44 am

    Even if it is true, so what?

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