‘We will not wait 70 years more’: scenes from Gaza’s March of Return

Great March of Return

A young Palestinian looks at a poster listing the villages that demonstrators at the Great March of Return plan to return to once the Palestinian right of return is honored

Amid thousands of semi-cultivated wheat and barley fields in the area of Abu Safia, east of Jabalia in North Gaza, around 30 beige canvas tents have been set up within 700 meters of the adjacent Israeli border fence, ahead of a six-week protest camp under the gaze of wary Israeli soldiers.

Those crops could hardly be seen due to tens of thousands of participants joining the encampment, an unprecedented number according to the organizers of the Great March of Return.

The first rally was kicked off on Friday, March 30th when Palestinians worldwide mark Land Day, commemorating the killing of six unarmed Palestinians protesters in Israel in 1976.

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On the first day of the exceptional event, which was called by the Palestinian factions for the past several weeks, the Gaza Health Ministry reported that 15 Palestinians were killed by Israeli troops along the eastern border of the besieged strip.

Masses of angry young people tried to ignore the event organizer committee’s recommended safe distance from the border, but the tear gas bombs fired by the Israeli soldiers on the other side of the border forced them to back off.

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Meanwhile, a wedding ceremony between groom Alaa Shahin and bride Maryam Hamdouna was able to capture the campers’ attention for a while with an unusual scene, a wedding in the middle of the growing tension at the border.

Alaa, 23, who was carried over his relative’ shoulders amid traditional wedding songs, said that this rally is the best place to start his new life.

“Few hundred meters away from those soldiers eyes, I would emphasize my right and the whole Palestinian peoples’ right to return home after 70 years of displacement, we will not wait another 70!” Alaa told Mondoweiss.

“Today, I will be at the nearest point of my home town Ni’ilya,” he said, adding, “with my wedding suit and tie I dance and sang with the melodies of the Return.”

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Maryam’s family is originally from Majdal village — now Ashkelon in southern Israel — which was only 3 kilometers from Alaa’s village of Ni’ilya. Maryam, 21, explained, “It is said that there was a route linking Ni’ilya with Majdal, making its way between orchards. I told Alaa, one day, we will travel that route with our children at the time of the return of the country”.

Five main camp sites have been set up spreading the length of the coastal enclave from near the Erez border crossing in the north to Rafah in the south, which is adjacent to Egypt. Camping and protests are expected to continue until May 15, the anniversary of the Nakba and around the time the Trump administration is set to move its controversial embassy to Jerusalem.

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Before leaving the couple’s celebration, I met Suad Abdrabbou, who just arrived with her grandsons.

Suad, 67, who numbered her tent “1967”, said that she felt heartbreak once she saw the border for the first time.

“I recall the 1967 war, once Israel occupied the lands where I used to harvest the sweet cactus and figs, but all that became nightmares”.

The grandmother, whose origin is also from Ni’ilya, has not believed in peace with the Israelis for a day. “We have experienced them over seventy years, so I should not wait to be 140 years to return”.

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Some families moved many of their household items to the tents, meaning that they will spend a long time in the encampment. Military and political leaders in Israel seem concerned.

Israel’s Chief of Staff, General Gadi Eisenkot, has warned of escalating tensions along Israel’s borders and said reinforcements, including more than 100 special forces snipers, had been deployed to the Gaza frontier and the army was prepared for all scenarios.

“We won’t allow mass infiltration into Israel” or damage to the border barrier, he told the Yediot Aharonot newspaper.

According to the United Nations, some 1.3 million of Gaza’s 1.9 million residents are refugees or their descendants. The event organizers said that tens of thousands of meals would be delivered for more than 100,000 expected participants, while dozens of wooden toilets were set up and large generators whirred to life.

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In the back row of demonstrators, 84-year-old Ahmed Abu Meteq recalled when the fathers and grandfathers of the youth protesting entered Gaza through those same borders.

“All I need is to return to Hiribya – located 14 kilometers northeast of Gaza – I would die over there. We don’t want to cross to others’ countries, we just would apply the UN resolution to go back home to our original villages,” Ahmed told Mondoweiss.

“I was 14 when my father said that we have 30 dunums in Hiribya, where we were planting watermelon which he said ‘was as big as your head, son’”.

Palestinians have long demanded that as many as five million of their compatriots be granted the right to return to their homes and lands. Israel rules this out, fearing an influx of Palestinians would eliminate its Jewish majority. Israel argues the refugees should be resettled in a future state that the Palestinians seek in West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

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(Source / 01.04.2018)

Israel arrests Palestinian for crossing Gaza border

Israeli army says the Palestinian was unarmed

Palestinians took part in a march towards the Israeli border in the build up to the Great March of Return on 29 March 2018

Israeli forces arrested a Palestinian while trying to sneak into Israel from the Gaza Strip, according to the military.

In a statement on Sunday, the army said the detained Palestinian was unarmed and was taken into custody for investigation, according to Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper.

Israeli forces have rounded up nine Palestinians for allegedly sneaking into Israel from Gaza over the past week.

Tension has risen up across the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip since Friday when at least 15 Gazans were killed and hundreds injured by Israeli gunfire during rallies demanding the return of refugees.

READ: Why did Palestinians take part in the Great March of Return? 

(Source / 01.04.2018)

Gaza under attack, in pics

Today KhamakarPress received this news and pictures of The Great March of Return

A civilian was shot to the east of Zaytoun neighborhood in eastern Gaza.
The forces of the occupation raided the area of ​​Aljawaya east of the city of Yatta and prevent citizens from digging a well for the family of Shuahin and complete the building of the camel family Nawaja and try to confiscate Tartur (Baqer)
A calm and young men who are in the return tent east of Khan Younis, in addition to the spread of snipers of the occupation army on the border strip and the positioning of a tank at least within the border strip.
Photo by our correspondent: Professor Abu Issa
The Minister of the Israeli occupation, Avigdor Lieberman, doubts the possibility of Palestinians moving towards the border again after Friday, threatening to use force more.
Press Release 
A press release issued by the Information Office of the Resistance Committees: Resistance Committees The American position in the Security Council is an active participation in the Zionist massacre against civilians participating in the march of return and affirms the American hostility to our people. The Palestinian Resistance Committees in Palestine said that the American position in the Security Council and its frustration with any decision condemning the Zionist occupation for its terrible crime against the unarmed civilian population participating in the return marches constitutes an active American participation in the Zionist massacre. The resistance committees stressed that the American administration is not ashamed to support Zionist terrorism and provide the Zionist entity with the tools and means of killing and terrorism and provide it with cover to become above international law and thereby striking the wall of the international will that stipulates the return of the Palestinian people to their homes and land. The resistance committees added that the US administration insists on the hostility of our Palestinian people and is working to target our national cause and our entrenched and steadfast rights. This denies the claim of honest mediation or the presentation of political initiatives which are essentially liquidation projects for the Palestinian cause. The resistance committees have shown that the Palestinian people are committed to their rights and homeland and will provide all that they have to achieve freedom and independence and defeat the occupation no matter how great the sacrifice. Resistance Committees in Palestine Sunday, 1-4-2018, corresponding to 15 Rajab 1439 Hijri.
News of the martyrdom of a young man shot by the occupation east of Khan Younis south of the sector
The occupation forces Al-Aqsa Mosque guards Fadi Alian with a decision to prevent him from entering Al-Aqsa Mosque and prevent him from entering his job in the mosque.
Saqib Erekat *: The US administration decided to burn all bridges with international law by its continued bias to the occupation state, and failed to issue any statement by the Security Council to condemn the murder of sixteen Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.
Israeli occupation forces fire tear gas at demonstrators east of Jabaliya in the northern Gaza Strip

Israel’s Netanyahu thanks troops for killing Palestinians

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses the annual health conference in Tel Aviv on March 27, 2018. (Photo by AFP)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses the annual health conference in Tel Aviv on March 27, 2018

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has praised Israeli troops for killing at least 17 Palestinians during Friday’s Land Day rallies, amid widespread global condemnation of the Tel Aviv regime’s aggression against the Palestinian people. 

Netanyahu praised the troops via his official twitter account late on Saturday for their actions which he claimed were aimed at guarding Israel.

The message was posted after Israeli soldiers wounded about 70 Palestinians during protests earlier in the day along the Gaza border with the occupied Palestinian territories.

On Friday, at least 17 Palestinians lost their lives and more than 1,400 others sustained injuries when Israeli military forces opened fire on thousands of protesters who had flocked to a sit-in near the Gaza border.

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Turkey condemns Israel’s ‘inhuman attack’

On Saturday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan “strongly condemned Israel for its inhumane attack” against the Palestinian people.

“Have you heard any noteworthy objections to the massacre by Israel that happened yesterday in Gaza from those who criticize the Afrin operation?,” he added.

Turkey began the so-called Operation Olive Branch in Afrin on January 20 to clear the northern Syrian border of the People’s Protection Units (YPG), a US-backed Kurdish militant group which Ankara associates with the homegrown Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) fighting for autonomy on Turkish soil.

“This is the biggest proof of insincerity of those who fixate on us but say nothing about Israel using heavy weapons to attack people who are protesting on their own lands,” he added.

(Source / 01.04.2018)