More than 100 days have passed since the Great March of Return began in Gaza. Despite the bloody events of those 15 weeks, where 138 unarmed Palestinians have been killed and more than 16,000 wounded by Israeli fire, the protests continue.
A few hours after the latest demonstrations along the border, I asked Palestinians in Gaza what the Great March of Return protests have accomplished so far.
Ali Budair, 33, building painter
“Daily protest along the border is an act of disturbance for those Israeli soldiers. They should not sit quietly, as long as they are occupying forces protecting their towns built over the bones and blood of my fathers and grandparents. They have to taste the daily fires of balloons and burning kites. As long as they fight us, this means that they have stolen a right since the Balfour Declaration 100 years ago, so we are ready to endure 100 more years of successive marches to restore our land again.”
Omar Abu Elouf, 27, graduate student
“As long as the rallies are addressed in the international newspapers’ headlines, the more sympathizers of our just cause will raise their voices around the world. I admit that the protest left hundreds of amputees, but the road to independence and liberation must be strewn with blood and causalities. However, I personally oppose this way of rush to death, but it will accomplish something positive at the end.”
Hadeel Mahmoudi, 26, medical records clerk
“Tell me a one single defeatist Arab force that has slapped Israel’s face, but those protesting men in their twenties did so successfully by sending flaming inflated condoms causing hundreds of fires and millions of shekels in damage. I think a fourth war should be break out again to put the record straight, since Israel only understands the language of force when its officials beg mediators to solve the Gaza crisis. Israel must put an end to the colonialism era.”
Suzan Dughmush, 20, management student
“The whole world should know that Israel has turned Gaza from a big open jail into an airtight cell. We in Gaza are not looking for some food or drink, we want peace by ending the last occupation on the planet. So, this protest sheds light that there are people living life like in a sheep barn and the time has come to release their humanitarian spirits. When will the injustice end? Gaza is full of life lovers and young innovators. But to start up their projects, they need to be free.”
Samiha Atallah, 23, piano player
“My teacher used to say: continue fighting to retake your last penny. So turning back to our homeland is a great cause and deserves a fight, even peacefully, like these protests. But since the super powers are Israel’s allies that means we are fighting them indirectly. I know it will take decades of struggle, but the only weapon we have is patience. This is a great accomplishment in itself”.
Eman Yonis, 23, civil engineering student
“I feel rage about mothers who lost their beloved sons, but this march should continue. Israel has destroyed the youth, forcing them to travel abroad as job seekers while others hope to get eight hours of electricity instead of only 3 or 4. So this situation must be changed, instead of engaging them with basic needs like survivors of a volcano eruption.”
Osama Eshtaiwi, 26, sweets vendor
“Nothing will be accomplished! We have achieved less than zero by these protests. Look at the hundreds of amputees and mothers grieving over their buried sons. Then you will understand that the leadership has to change the strategy. I don’t know how; but I think we have been KO’d and there are no more final rounds.”
Rami Abu Al-Qumbuz, 28, unemployed
“I think if the world succeeded to solve Gaza’s crises by lifting the siege, then the Middle East conflict will end forever. But the U.S. plays the evil actor in this international mad theatre. One might think no one will pay attention to the Gaza protest, however it proves that power can destroy our demand to live free. So, no problem if more than 10,000 get killed by Israel, then the Israeli will run away to where they came from.”