Palestinian journalist and MEMO correspondent in Gaza, Motasem Dalloul, has been hospitalised after being shot by Israeli sniper fire today while covering The Great March of Return near Gaza’s eastern border.
In 2010, Motasem’s dairy farm was bombed by Israeli air forces. After it was rebuilt a few months later, the Israeli force once again destroyed the dairy farm as well as part of his home, including his children’s room. Thankfully, the children were not in the house during the attack.
4 years later, during the 2014 Israeli onslaught on Gaza, Motasem’s farm, home and his brother’s home was bombed a total of 7 times, making both homes uninhabitable and causing trauma to the children of both families.
The CPJ reports that at least four other journalists were injured while covering the protests today:
- Mohammad al-Thalatini, a photographer for the German news agency DPA (Deutsche Presse-Agentur), was hit by a tear gas canister in his right leg while covering the protests east of the southern Gazan city of Khan Younis, according to news reports on social media and the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate. Al-Thalathini was taken for treatment to a nearby medical tent.
- Freelance photographer Mahmoud Bassam was hit by a tear gas canister in his left leg while covering protests east of Khan Younis, according to pictures and news reports posted on social media and local journalist Saud Abu Ramadan. Basaam received treatment on site.
- Freelance photographer Yasser Qudeih was hit by a tear gas canister in his right leg while covering protests east of Khan Younis, according to videos and newsreports posted on social media and local journalist Ramadan. He was taken by ambulance to a nearby medical tent for treatment.
- Freelance photographer Deyaa Abu Aoun was hit by shrapnel in his left knee and left arm while covering protests in the northern Gaza strip, according to his own Facebook posts and those of news outlets.
Last month, Palestinian journalists Yasser Murtaja and Ahmed Abu-Hussein were shot dead by Israeli snipers while covering the events near the Gaza-Israel border despite wearing protective vests clearly marked “PRESS”. Several other journalists have also been wounded since the protests began.
Over 6,800 Gazans have been wounded during the demonstrations and at least 49 people have been killed by Israeli forces since 30 March, when the six-week demonstration and sit-in calling for the implementation of the Right of Return began.
Demonstrators are demanding that Palestinian refugees be granted their right to return to their towns and villages in historical Palestine, from which they were driven out in 1948 to make way for the state of Israel.
Palestinians dubbed today the “Friday of Preparation and Foreboding” ahead of the US moving its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem on Monday.
Tuesday will also see demonstrations as the Great March of Return culminates on the 70th anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba (Catastrophe), in which more than 750,000 Palestinians were forcibly displaced by Israeli forces in 1948 Arab-Israeli war.