“What if 200,000 Palestinians headed peacefully to cross the border, while raising a poster that says they only want to go back to their land? What would happen?” It all started in 2011 with that Facebook post, the dream of a 33-year-old man in Gaza named Ahmed Abu Ratima. The Great March of Return will start on Land Day, March 30, and will continue for six weeks until May 15, which commemorates the Nakba, when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were forced from their homes to make way or the creation of Israel. Palestinian refugees living in Gaza will set up tents near the border and move gradually—and peacefully—closer.
“We regret to inform you that your application was not accepted.” This message has been received by almost every Palestinian from Gaza who has applied for what is called a “non-objection” letter from Jordan since last August. Such a letter is required before a Palestinian can cross into Jordan from the West Bank to fly out of Amman to other locations. With the Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt closed most of the time, the Jordan route is about the only way for Gazans to travel out for university abroad and other opportunities.