Tens of thousands of Palestinians in Gaza participated in protests across the besieged coastal enclave on Saturday, March 30th, to mark the one year anniversary of the Great March of Return.
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At least four Palestinians were killed and over 300 were injured on Saturday during massive demonstrations marking the one year anniversary of the Great March of Return in Gaza.
Human waves flooded the Israel-Gaza fence beginning Saturday morning marking the first anniversary of the Great March of Return protests, facing off against Israeli forces behind the fortified barbed-wire fence. The demonstrators gathered despite rain, and even as Egypt is seeking to mediate a deal to end the blockade of Gaza.
Haidar Eid writes about the Great March of Return: “The reason as to why Israel is very concerned about the Great March of Return — which began on March 30, 2018 and has not yet ended – is that it has shuffled the cards and brought crucial questions to the fore regarding the essence of the Palestinian cause as well as the status of the Gaza Strip. Despite the bleak reality of life in Gaza a new consciousness is emerging.”
Hamza Abu Al-Tarabeesh reflects on covering the first year of the Great March of Return protests. He writes, “After covering nearly 50 Fridays over the past year, I can’t be more grateful that I’m still alive and did not suffer serious injury.”
Benjamin Netanyahu is demanding that Hamas halt the weekly Great March of Return demonstrations and assure this weekend’s expected massive protest be nonviolent. Gazan youth with We Are Not Numbers share their thoughts about this Israeli ultimatum.
How do Gazans respond to missile attacks? “I was peacefully mixing my Nutella brownie batter when Israel decided to bomb the shit outta Gaza, I didn’t flinch,” Omar Ghraib wrote. “I was watching a Korean TV series and didn’t check Facebook for hours,” writes Besan Aljadili. We Are Not Numbers surveyed responses.
Hundreds of Palestinians organized small protests on Tuesday across the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip in solidarity with prisoners held inside of Israel, following tensions at Ktzi’ot Prison in the southern Negev Desert where two guards were stabbed earlier this week.
Ahmad Kabariti reports from Gaza that long spontaneous queues of people spent the night waiting outside of Gaza’s biggest bakery to buy bread, a scene that usually occurs during war. Muzaffar Batniji, 27, shoemaker, said that his family urged him to buy 200 loaves of pita bread, “just in case of this escalation might continue for a week or more.”
Israel topped the Gaza fence with 10 added feet of barbed wire in anticipation of the million demonstrators called to mark the one year anniversary of the Great March of Return next week. Despite the added fence, soldiers killed two Palestinian men at demonstrations yesterday, bringing the number of dead to 257.
It all started because of a bird. Ahmed Abu Artema, the unlikely leader of the largest popular Palestinian movement in decades, strode beside the separation fence that divides his home in the Gaza Strip from Israel on a January evening last year. At twilight he saw birds fly overhead, soaring past the fence “and no one stopped them.” Abu Artema talks with Allison Deger about life in Gaza and the enduring power of the Great March of Return: “Our demands were simple and honorable, we want to return, we want a dignified life”
After rockets fired from Gaza landed near Tel Aviv Friday morning, Israel launched 100 raids on the enclave. And the organizers of the Great March of Return suspended the demonstrations in their 51st week out of concern for safety of protesters.
Forty-seven years after 14 Irish protesters were killed on Bloody Sunday 1972, a British soldier faces charges in two deaths. The dead were unarmed protesters who were a threat to riot in British eyes. Very much like the thousands of unarmed Palestinians shot at the Gaza fence in the last year, shootings the UN and B’Tselem says are war crimes.
The Gaza protests will mark their one-year anniversary in 2 weeks, with real political potential for the Palestinian struggle. Gaza has always been a crucible for political movements in part because its population has such a high percentage of refugees of the Nakba in 1948. Helena Cobban traces the history.
Ahmad Kabariti reports from the 50th week of the Great March of Return, which took place on International Women’s Day.
The United Nations Human Rights Council just issued a damning report that said Israel may have committed crimes against humanity during the Great March of Return in Gaza last year. Although U.N. investigators charged Israel with far worse crimes than anything that the government of Venezuela has been accused of, the New York Times coverage of the South American nation has been considerably more extensive.
Jen Marlowe shares a day in the life from Gaza: “The Great Return March earlier that day had been a blur of action. Ribbons of tear gas and repeated bursts of live fire, sometimes followed by shouts of “Someone’s wounded!” Was the last of these incidents that I witnessed the moment that Yousef had been shot in the chest and killed?”
Gaza’s hospitals have been thrown into crisis once again, as they face another massive fuel crisis. Gaza’s health ministry says they need 300,000 liters of fuel as soon as possible to avoid the shutdown of several hospitals. Among those who are the most vulnerable are children on dialysis, who are facing a struggle to survive.
A Palestinian teen, Hassan Nabil Ahmed Nofal, 17, died on Tuesday in Gaza, four days after he was struck in the head by a teargas canister fired by Israeli soldiers during the Friday protests for the Great March of Return.
Food assistance in Gaza is suspended, hundreds of Palestinians face eviction in Jerusalem, and international monitors in Hebron are terminated.
The Edward Said Library is in desperate need of donations in order to be able to continue offering book clubs, English language conversation classes, and opportunities for schoolchildren in the Gaza Strip. Nada Elia writes, “Please donate what you can. It can buy a box of crayons, coloring books, books on decolonial struggle, it can help pay the rent. It can lessen the suffocation of Gaza, until the siege is lifted.”
The Gaza Strip is famous for its strawberries, which used to be exported all around Israel, Palestine, and the world. But as a result of Israel’s blockade on Gaza, which is entering its 12th year this year, strawberry farming is dying out.
Last week, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs released statistics ahead of the new year that showed a 69 percent increase in settler attacks on Palestinians in 2018 compared to 2017. OCHA recorded 265 incidents in which Israeli residents of the West Bank allegedly targeted Palestinians or their property. In total, 115 Palestinians were injured in those attacks and 7,900 trees and 540 vehicles were destroyed.
Walaa Al Ghussein writes about why she is crowd sourcing to raise funds for her tuition, “You’d think someone who grew surrounded by war could survive anything, but the pressure of being a foreign student from Gaza in a place like the United States should not be underestimated.”
“What new year are you talking about bro?” said Samar Al-Atrash, 33, a mother of seven children living in a Gaza refugee camp on December 31, 2018. “You need a wizard’s wand to change this misery.” Much of Gaza is impoverished, but conditions are even worse in the camp.