The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reports on water & sanitation crisis in Gaza, increase in Israeli settler violence. “97 per cent of ground water extracted in Gaza is unfit for human consumption, generating the risk of a waterborne disease outbreak.”
Category Archives: Great March of Return
Palestinians are still demonstrating along the Gaza-Israel border on Fridays, but in fewer numbers and with less fury than seen in recent months as Egyptian mediators work to lessen confrontations along the fence. Ahmad Kabariti asks Palestinians in Gaza if they believe the protest should be suspended in exchange for an easing of the blockade.
Haidar Eid writes from Gaza: “As we, Palestinians of Gaza, embark on our long walk to freedom, we have come to the conclusion that we can no longer rely on governments; instead, we request that the citizens of the world oppose these ongoing deadly crimes. In fact, we expect people of conscience and civil society organizations to put pressure on their governments until Israel is forced to abide by international law and international humanitarian law. It did work last century; without the intervention of the international community which was effective against apartheid in South Africa, Israel will continue its war crimes and crimes against humanity.”
Yesterday Israeli forces shot Aed Abu Amro in the leg, the Palestinian protester from the Gaza Strip who reached internet infamy after photographer for Anadolu Agency Mustafa Hassouna captured a shirtless Abu Amro gripping a Palestinian flag firmly in one hand and a slingshot in the other during a protest at the fence that divides the Gaza Strip and Israel.
Writer Susan Abulhawa was detained for 36 hours at Ben Gurion airport before being deported and managed to sneak a pencil into the detention center and leave messages on the wall– Free Palestine — and read Colson Whitehead’s novel The Underground Railroad.
A group of 50 Anti-Zionist Israelis joined the Great March of Return from the Eastern side of the fence that besieges the Gaza Strip.
Shahd Abusalama writes, “Palestinians’ legitimate claims continue to be silenced at the expense of sustaining Israel’s longstanding myths of being the safe haven for world Jewry and a democracy with the world’s most moral army. As if we are not as worthy as the children of Holocaust survivors of freedom, security, justice and dignity.”
Haider Eid writes after returning from a protest at the Gaza fence as part of the Great March of Return: “The final judgment is approaching. Either exist, or be wiped out from history. Therefore, it is the moment of truth, either be steadfast during this certainly delusional settlement, the settlement of a state, a Bantustan, with partial authority over the Palestinian people, or the delusion of a settlement under Israeli citizenship, regardless of the right of return. We, marchers at the Eastern fence of the Gaza Ghetto beg to differ! We want the full menu of rights, or nothing!”
The Great Return March, which began on March 30th, was an attempt across a broad spectrum of Gazan society to mount a peaceful action that world could not help but recognize as such. After 6 months, the March has largely dropped from the headlines, even though the death toll continues to climb. But the March has nevertheless continued and some of the seeds it has planted are already bearing fruit.
Friday marked one of the deadliest days at the fence that divides the Gaza Strip from Israel since protests began in Gaza last March, as Israeli forced killed seven including two children.
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.
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.”
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.”
Aida Winfred explains the reason why Israel can not defend its border with Gaza — there is no border with Gaza. Gaza is not a state, it is a besieged enclave under Israeli control.
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.
“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,” 13-year-old Marah Al-Abadseh says during a children’s memorial to slain Gaza children at the Gaza border, July 27, 2019.
Israeli human rights NGO B’tselem have today released a report which unequivocally concludes that Palestinian paramedic Razan al-Najjar was deliberately targeted and killed by an Israeli sniper on June 1. B’Tselem says that Israeli propaganda is seeking to whitewash the killing so as to preserve Israel’s image.
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.
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.
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.”
Jonathan Cook says the flaming kites being flown by protesters in Gaza are driven by a mix of recognisably human emotions: a refusal to bow before crushing oppression and a compelling need to take back control of one’s life.
Palestinian organisations in Gaza are calling upon all people of conscience around the world, to make posters of the fallen heroes of the recent Great March of Return and plaster these all over your cities and towns, especially opposite Israeli and American embassies.
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.”
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.
Israeli journalist Dan Margalit warns of a scenario where Palestinian “terrorists and children and handicapped” break through the fence around Gaza & set up an outpost. So shooting Palestinian protestors in Gaza has “has saved many Palestinian lives”.