Four days had passed since Sabri Abu Khader, 24, was killed by Israeli fire near the Gaza border, and yesterday his four brothers insisted on fulfilling his mission, by protesting in the 13th consecutive Friday since the Great March of Return began.
Sabri was allegedly attempting to sabotage an Israeli surveillance camera in the area near the barrier north of Gaza Strip. The camera exploded and a number of the protesters were injured. The Palestinian ministry of health said Sabri was shot; Israelis said he was killed when “security infrastructure exploded.”
The four brothers– Ramzi 17, Yosuf, 18, Ahmed 16, and Haidar 21– said that they came today to complete their murdered brother’s mission by fixing a Palestinian flag of on the fence and trying to destroy a camera so as to “extinguish their anger,” as Haidar said.
The brothers who took part in the 85th day since the beginning of the Great March of Return did not seem afraid of keep going forward to the fence; even if they “all are killed.” Their dead brother was married just five months ago.
“Sounds of these shots or the rain of tear gas bombs motivate us to go on,” Haidar told Mondoweiss. “We promised our dad to retaliate for Sabri, so the Israelis will not put an X mark on our family by easy killing.”
He said they were determined to break a camera, “as long as it makes them so mad.”
Ahmad added: “If we failed, then we will try to cross the fence wearing only tank tops, that is enough to provoke their anger peacefully.”
According to the Gaza’s Ministry of health, 133 protesters have been killed and more than 13,000 injured by Israeli fire since the rallies began on 30 March.
Of those injured, at least 4,000 have been wounded by live fire and another 500 by rubber-coated steel bullets, while more than 6,000 suffered from excessive tear gas inhalation, the ministry reported.
Large quantities of live bullets and tear gas were seen being fired against the protesters who were demonstrating at ‘Malaka’ area east of Gaza city. Demonstrators threw stones from behind burning tires toward Israeli sharpshooters in their fortified nests and others flew flaming kites and balloons with the names and faces of protesters killed during the nearly three months of rallies.
Amid the crowds, Salha Yassin, 53, arrived with three of her daughters-in-law and grandsons on an auto-rickshaw to take part in the march. She said that participation here despite being exposed to gas bombs or stray bullets is better than sitting at home and “chatting nonsense with neighbors”.
Salha’s daughter-in-law, Nesma, 21, mother of two children, told Mondoweiss, “Here we can develop a sense of patriotism among women, when it is believed that the house is the woman’s best place.” She said she felt shame if a Friday had passed without her taking part. For it is at the Gaza border that “NO!” can be said loudly to Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Nesma completed two years of nursing studies and aspires to get a BA certificate in Cairo, and she said that after Israel’s killing of the 21-year-old volunteer paramedic Razan al-Najjar on June 1, she was so angry, “I am ready to volunteer by offering first aid to the wounded.”
As for the four Abu Khader brothers, it was unclear yesterday if they were able to achieve their goal– jammed among some 3,000 demonstrators who were close to the fence. But dozens of Palestinian flags were seen pinned on the fence, some torn by barbed wire and Israeli fire.
The protesters demand the “right of return” to their homes in historical Palestine, from which their families were driven in 1948 to make way for the new state of Israel. They also demand an end to Israel’s decade-long blockade, which has gutted the enclave’s economy and deprived its two million inhabitants of many basic needs.
Meantime, Trump’s senior Middle East envoys met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to discuss Israeli-Palestinian peace prospects, after holding separate talks with Arab leaders.
Washington has said it has a peace plan in the works that could be released soon. Israeli-Palestinian negotiations stalled in 2014 over disputes that have deepened with bloodshed in Gaza and the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.