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Great March of Return

Israel is reluctant to invade Gaza with ground troops — and it’s not because Benjamin Netanyahu has developed a conscience

James North on

Given recent history, it is surprising Israel has not invaded Gaza again. Previous massive Israeli ground attacks, in 2008, 2012 and 2014, required fewer pretexts than we see today with the success of the Great March of Return. But Israel’s ground forces stay put. Two respected analysts of Israel’s military explain why: the Hamas resistance movement has prepared strong defenses inside Gaza that have raised the costs of an invasion above an acceptable level.

If there are no refugees, there will be no one to return: Understanding Trump’s war on UNRWA and Palestinian refugees

Marilyn Garson on

According to multiple reports, in early September the Trump administration will issue a report recognizing no more than half a million Palestinian refugees, will reject any right of return, and ominously will ask Israel to ‘reconsider’ UNRWA’s mandate to operate in the West Bank. Marilyn Garson writes, “Trump and those around him have spent the year trying to obviate – rather than solve – Palestinian claims. Now they wish to deny the refugee status of 90% of Palestinians. If Trump has his way, only a few elderly refugees will remain.  The Right of Return will be moot. It would not exist now, he says, if UNRWA didn’t keep it alive. He will make the right disappear by de-funding UNRWA and de-registering its five million phantom refugees.  The realization of Palestinian rights may be a marathon, but right now, it is also a sprint.  The race is on, to be made to vanish or to be seen and heard.”

Israeli activists demonstrate on the Eastern side of the Gaza fence in solidarity with the weekly Great March of Return

Return on

On Friday, 24th of August, Return demonstrated from the Eastern side of the Gaza fence in solidarity with the weekly Great March of Return in Gaza, which took place for the 22nd Friday in a row. Yossi, a Return activist, explains, “We arrived to demonstrate in solidarity with the Palestinian demonstration on the other side of the fence. We got stopped by the soldiers and we couldn’t get close, but we could get to this sort of hill here from which they can see us waving the Palestinian flag. All of us here, Jews and internationals are here to support the right of return.”

‘He was armed with bandages’: Israeli forces kill second Palestinian paramedic during Great March of Return

Ahmad Kabariti on

Abdullah al-Qatati, 22, was shot in the chest during a Great March of Return protest near Rafah in southern Gaza as he treated Ali al-Alloul, 55, who was also killed at the same time. The Gaza Health Ministry reported that more than 200 protesters were injured during the 20th weekly protest of the Great March of Return. Al-Qatati’s death takes place 10 weeks after Israeli forces killed 20-year-old paramedic Razan al-Najjar during a similar protest.

100 days since protests began, Gazans reflect on what the Great March of Return has accomplished so far

Ahmad Kabariti on

More than 100 days have passed since the Great March of Return began in Gaza. Despite the bloody events in those 15 weeks, where 138 unarmed Palestinians have been killed and more than 16,000 wounded by Israeli fire, the protests continue. Ahmad Kabariti talks to Palestinians in Gaza to find out what they believe the Great March of Return protests have accomplished so far.

Israeli activists honor Razan Al Najar in her ancestral village of Salama

Haim Schwarczenberg on

In response to a call for solidarity from Gazan women, a Jewish activist group dubbed “Return” gathered to hold a memorial for Razan Al Najar, at the location of her village of origin, Salama. “Razan did not see Salama, but she and all the refugees who are not present here physically are always present here with us, as a void an absence, something that is missing here until their inevitable return,” stated one of the activists.

‘Bella Ciao’: Gaza activists use famous anti-fascist song to celebrate Great March of Return

Haidar Eid on

As part of the Great March of Return activities in besieged Gaza, a group of human rights and right of return activists have released a video, titled “Bella Ciao,” using the famous anti-fascist Italian song set against images from the current March of Return in Gaza against Israel’s long reign of colonialism and apartheid. Ahmed Abu Rtema, one the organizers of the March, stated that “art has always played a major role in enhancing the spirit of resistance in countries suffering from apartheid and colonialism. Palestine is no exception.”

Organizer of the Great March of Return says protests in Gaza ‘must go on’

Ahmed Abu Artema on

Great March of Return organizer Ahmad Abu Rtemah says the protests need to go on, but calls for a shift from confrontations with soldiers at the fence to educational and cultural projects: “The Great March of Return must go on. There is simply no alternative to peaceful popular resistance. But we also need to take a step back and think about how we can reduce its cost in lives and injuries to our people, so that we may be able to nurture and grow this new form of resistance.”

‘Let them eat candy’ – Israel’s ideological war against incendiary kites from Gaza

Jonathan Ofir on

Israel is involved in an ideological war against incendiary kites and balloons from Gaza. Israelis at Kibbutz Nir Am launched ‘candy balloons’ in order to counter this supposed ‘hate’ with supposed ‘love’. The gesture is a form of hasbara, aimed at denying the cause of the fire kites: Palestinian expulsion and the recent massacres by Israel in the Gaza strip.

‘I’m targeted by the Israeli army,’ Razan al-Najjar said before she was killed

Mersiha Gadzo and Anas Jnena on

“We are stones standing in front of bullets”. That’s how 21-year-old Razan al-Najjar explained the situation to Mersiha Gadzo and Anas Jnena in April regarding the unarmed Palestinian demonstrators on the ground facing Israeli snipers from across the fence. Al-Najjar also told them that an Israeli soldier had threatened to kill her if she continued aiding protesters. “Soldiers tried to kill me so many times,” Razan explained. “I received some information that I’m targeted by the Israeli army and that I have to stay away from the field because of my activities [tending to the injured] but I ignore all of that.”

The unwarranted presumption of Israeli soldier innocence in the killing of Palestinian medic Razan al-Najjar

Jonathan Ofir on

Asaf Ronel of Haaretz said it is “unlikely” that Palestinian medic Razan al-Najjar was deliberately killed last Friday, although he confirms that deliberate targeting of medics with live ammunition occur. Having targeted her is a war-crime in itself, kill or no kill. On top of that, the possibility of a deliberate killing – murder – is completely relevant.

Heralded by Palestinians as ‘angel’ and ‘merciful martyr,’ Razan Al-Najjar is an afterthought in western press

James North on

Let’s say Hamas fired a rocket that killed a young Israeli nurse while she was tending to the wounded from earlier rockets. Is there any doubt that the mainstream media would cover her death extensively, with photos, and interviews with friends and family? But when Israeli snipers murdered a 21-year-old Palestinian nurse named Razan Al-Najjar, the mainstream media was nearly silent.

Photo Essay: Gaza buries medic Razan Ashraf Al-Najjar, 21, killed by Israeli sniper

Mohammed Zaanoun on

Today, Palestinians mourned the funeral of 21-year-old Rawan al-Najjar, carrying her body with on top her medic vest soaked in blood, in the city of Khan Yunis, Gaza Strip. Al-Najjar was a medic who was shot the day before by an Israeli sniper as she was attempted to reach the injured during the protest at the Gaza fence, near Khuza’a.

‘A scream to the whole world’: Gaza boats carrying students, medical patients, and wounded protesters attempt to break the blockade

Ahmad Kabariti on

For a first time since 1967, two wooden boats set off from Gaza heading to Cyprus on Tuesday, charting their course in protest of Israel’s decade long siege. The vessels carried students attempting to attend university, patients seeking medical treatment abroad, and protesters from the Great March of Return who were wounded with live-fire. Five hours after leaving the dock, the Israeli Navy intercepted the boats arresting 17 passengers while they were 9 nautical miles off the shores of Gaza. “This bid is a scream to the whole world that the Gaza seaport should again carry passengers and goods to Haifa and Jaffa, it is a scream again that the Gaza’s people will not afford the life under blockade,” said Adham Abu Selmeyeh, a spokesman for the International Committee to Break the Siege on Gaza.

‘Our stones are stronger than their weapons’: thousands in Gaza demonstrate for the ninth straight Friday

Ahmad Kabariti on

Sabah al-Salibi collected dozens of small stones with her daughters, Susan, 22, and Rawand, 24. She said she wanted to pass them to the demonstrators whose eyes were blurry from teargas “to save them time by finding suitable stones” to throw at Israeli snipers hidden behind earthen berms at the Gaza – Israel fence. “Although these stones are small and few, but are stronger than their bullets and gas canisters,” al-Salibi said.