Marah Al-Abadseh was one of 20 child scouts in Khan Yunis city in the southern part of the Gaza Strip, carrying 12 fake coffins to commemorate children killed by the Israeli troops during the 18 weeks of Gaza protests and throughout the years of wars and uprisings.
The terrified 13–year old Marah was shedding tears after carrying a small wooden coffin with a picture of Wesal Sheikh Khalil, a girl who was shot dead by Israeli snipers in May while participating in the weekly protest.
But Marah’s mother was trying to calm her down: “This show will end on that platform, not to the border fence, darling,” said the mother.
“I do not know Wesal or the rest of these children [in the pictures],” Marah said. “Maybe they were in my school or used to play in our neighborhood until recently.”
“Today I carry a not real coffin for one who was killed by the Israelis. Maybe these scouts will carry my real coffin or I will carry a real coffin one day,” she told Mondoweiss.
“Were these children threatening the army? Do they not have children and know what a child means?” Marah wondered.
Since 30 March, hundreds of thousands of Gazans have marched each week on the heavily fortified border. The protest campaign calls for an end to the 12-year Israeli blockade on Gaza and for Palestinian refugees’ right of return to the territories that their families fled during the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948.
Children participating in the scout show continued to carry the fake coffins to the platform, while a scholar asked the participants to perform funeral prayer.
Photos of US President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with the word “killer” was also held up during the rally.
The Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza has confirmed that Israeli soldiers killed, Friday, two Palestinians and injured 246 others, among them eleven who suffered serious wounds, 10 women, 4 medics, one journalist and 19 children. One of those killed was a child: an Israeli army sharpshooter shot Majdi Ramzi Kamal Satri, 12, with a live round in the head, east of Rafah city, in the southern part of the enclave, during the Great Return March procession, the Ministry said.
Their deaths brings the total number of Palestinians killed by Israel in Gaza since March 30 to 154, including 20 children and two women, according to Ministry data.
“This show is a message to the Arabs and the world that in every Palestinian house there is a wounded or a martyr child” said Scout Commander Emad Al-Abd, 49.
“Those kids came here to send their message to the international community to demand a decent life”. Al-Abd told Mondoweiss.
Israel has killed more than 3,000 children since 28 September 2000 when the Second Intifada began until the end of April 2017, according to The Palestinian Ministry of Information.
“A whole generation of children in Gaza is balancing on a knife edge where one more shock could have devastating life-long consequences,” Marcia Brophy, a senior health adviser at Save the Children, said in a statement in June.
Feelings of depression, hyperactivity, a preference for being alone, and aggression were reported by 95 percent of children in Gaza, research released by Save the Children has shown, Brophy added.
Israel has launched three major military operations on the besieged territory since 2008. The most recent, and deadly, operation took place in 2014 and killed over 2,200 Palestinians, including 500 children.
With up to 45 percent of Gaza’s population under the age of 14, children are disproportionately impacted by war and the blockade. For many, it is all they have known in their short lives.
Last April, Israeli government justifies killing child protesters in Gaza saying that “They’re not in school”.