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The five injured Abu Jazar brothers of the Gaza protests

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In a dim room in a two-story building in al-Shaboora, Rafah, the poorest refugee camp in the southern Gaza strip, five brothers of the Abu Jazar family recall the details and pains of their multiple injuries by Israeli fire during 55 weeks of the Great March of Return protest.

Despite injuries, the brothers all planned to participate in yesterday’s 56th protest.

Ibrahim Abu Jazar. Photo by Mohammed Asad.

Ibrahim, 30, is determined to walk again. He has wounds in his right leg from live gunfire from Israeli snipers on March 30. The father of two children, he was injured while calling out loudly to protesters to move close to the fence that separates Gaza from Israel. He now considers himself “powerless” since he cannot operate his grocery and was unable to borrow a wheelchair from a double amputee neighbor, because that neighbor also plans to protest this Friday.

Faraj, 28 and the father of a daughter, sees himself as lucky, since he can easily move to the protest despite being injured three times: once when a tear gas canister hit his hand last May, again when a rubber-coated metal bullet struck his thigh last October, and more recently when a bullet struck his upper arm, which is now fitted with a metal frame called a fixator.

“Despite my young age, Israel’s 12-year blockade and nothing positive whatsoever going on are enough to push young people to protest. We have not seen a single delightful day in our lives,” Faraj told Mondoweiss.

Faraj (l) and Ashraf Abu Jazar. Photo by Mohammed Asad.

On February, a UN inquiry concluded that Israeli military had intentionally targeted Palestinians protesting in Gaza over the past year, creating a generation of disabled youth. According to the report, Israeli soldiers have targeted civilians, killing and maiming protesters, among them children, as well as journalists and medics.

Ra’eesa, 54, the sons’ stepmother, was preparing anise-flavored-cookies in the kitchen, and could not hide her grief. She said she hopes for her sons to have “more patience to overcome their pains.”

“The young need us to lift their spirits, by showing them tearless eyes,” she said. “But how could a mother hide her sadness, when one is wounded in the day and his brother is wounded before  sunset.”

That is what happened to Ashraf 17, and Kayed 19, on February 15th. Each suffered a moderate injury to the leg.

Mahmoud Abu Jazar holding out a fragment extracted from his head. He was injured March 30. Photo by Mohammed Asad.

Son Mahmoud, 41, a builder, left the collective interview and returned with a fragment extracted from the back of his head. “Every night I feel my head is boiling due another un-extracted fragment,” he said. He was wounded March 30.

He says: “Once your spirit is full of depression over the years and grown up with specific expressions like: shelling, martyr, blockade, mortar, closure of crossings, unavailable treatment, then one will be fraught with silence and rage and you will run down to the fence to restore some humanity that has been ripped off since you were born.”

Kayed Abu Jazar. Photo by Mohammed Asad.

The family has suffered in the past. Ra’eesa affirmed that another three sons, Ali, 24, Musa, 22 and Ahmad 36, were injured in a drone shelling in 2004, a tank shelling in 2014 war and during the First Intifada, in 1987.

Ra’eesa and Mohammed Abu Jazar surrounded by sons. Photo by Mohammed Asad.

The sons’ father, Mohammed, 59, says he is powerless to stop his sons’ desire to continue protesting.

“No power could stand again them,” he said. “Their impulse reminds me of the seven years of the 1987 uprising (Intifada), when we were charged with anger to hurl stones at Israeli soldiers… Those days we saw them (soldiers) as monsters break into our homes and lands, killing, arresting and beating us mercilessly until breaking our bones… So the same inner feeling comes up to them to be natural protesters against injustice.”

Palestinians in Gaza demonstrated yesterday for the 56th week running in Gaza as part of the Great March of Return, calling for an end to the crippling 12-year blockade on the small coastal enclave as well as the implementation of the right of return for Palestinian refugees whose families were displaced during the creation of the state of Israel in 1948.

More than 260 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces in the context of the march, and another 16,650 have been wounded, according to the Gaza ministry of health.

 

 

 

 

 

Ahmad Kabariti

Ahmad Kabariti is a freelance journalist based in Gaza.

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2 Responses

  1. Nathan on April 24, 2019, 6:50 pm

    It is reported here that the Palestinians are demonstrating in the “Great March of Return”, calling for the return of refugees and for ending the blockade. It was forgotten (again) to mention that the real issue here is ending the conflict. Could it be that the demonstrators envision an eventual return of refugees (and an end of the blockade) while at the same time they mean to continue being in conflict with Israel? If so, what could possibly be the further grievance that justifies the continuation of conflict after realizing the right of return (and why don’t we hear what that grievance is)? It seems to me that the slogan of the Gazans should be “we demand peace”, and in the framework of a peace settlement all grievances will be rectified.

    But there isn’t an end-of-conflict vision, because the end of conflict would mean accepting the existence of Israel (and it’s final). So, it’s grievances and self-pity, but there is no outline for ending the conflict. Sometimes, I actually feel sorry for the anti-Israel camp. The real agenda is the defeat of Israel, but that goal doesn’t seem too realistic. Therefore, you have to pretend that everyone is stupid, and that they won’t notice that demanding “x” and “y” from Israel is not meant to reach an understanding with her; rather, it’s just part of the struggle against her. The big world out there of non-anti-Israel people wants to reach a peace arrangement in the Middle East. This means that you raise your grievances, and you acknowledge that the rectification of such grievances means that the conflict has been resolved. Could someone please pass this little lesson in politics over to the demonstrators at the fence?

    • eljay on April 24, 2019, 8:06 pm

      || Nathan: … It seems to me that the slogan of the Gazans should be “we demand peace” … ||

      Zionist “peace” means that Israel:
      – gets to remain a religion-supremacist “Jewish State”;
      – gets to keep most of what it has stolen, occupied and colonized;
      – is absolved of its obligations under international law; and
      – is absolved of responsibility and accountability for past and on-going (war) crimes committed.

      It’s no wonder you (and jon s, among others) think the Gazans/Palestinians should “demand peace”.

      What all non-Jews in I-P rightly should demand is justice, accountability and equality. A perfectly moral demand that you Zionists wouldn’t hesitate to denounce because it would threaten:
      – your supremacist ideology, privilege and “Jewish State” construct; and
      – the liberty of every Zionist (war) criminal who would and should be doing time for his (war) crimes.

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