Six months on of the Great Return march, Palestinians still struggling against Israeli oppression

GAZA, PALESTINOW.COM — Friday 19 October marks the 30th consecutive weekly gathering of thousands of Palestinian women, men and children near the Gaza fence.

These past six months of peaceful gatherings posed no security threat to the Israeli soldiers protected by armoured jeeps and sand barriers beyond the barbed fence. These soldiers could have dispersed the demonstrations with tear gas; instead, they used live bullets, killing more than 200 peaceful demonstrators and injuring around 10,000.

Many were injured in their legs, resulting in scores of disability and amputation cases. The high number of victims posed an additional challenge for medical crews, already suffering from severe shortages of supplies as a result of the siege imposed by the Israeli occupation for more than a decade.

Spreading protests

Despite the bloody fallout, all indications point to the continued momentum of Gaza’s Great March of Return. Last Friday, thousands of demonstrators gathered in the five encampment areas. Israeli soldiers killed seven of them.

The demonstrations are no longer limited to Fridays, but have extended to include Mondays and Wednesdays, with activities spilling into the night as young demonstrators conduct nightly protest activities near the fence. Protests have spread beyond the encampments, with a demonstration area near the Beit Hanoun crossing now active.

Every new victim of occupation bullets deepens the wound. Each of the martyrs killed by Israeli soldiers has left a vacuum in the lives of their loved ones

Forms of protest have evolved to include launching boats into the sea north of Gaza, both as a means of defiance and to remind the world of the plight of Palestinians in the world’s largest open-air prison.

Thirty weeks into the Great March of Return, it is evident that a powerful motive lies behind Palestinians’ determination to push forward with protests, despite the heavy toll exacted by the occupation as punishment.

The continued momentum shows that the environment that instigated these protests six months ago has not changed, and that all promises made to improve the humanitarian situation in Gaza lack credibility for Palestinians living in the coastal enclave.

What do demonstrators want?

Palestinians in the Gaza Strip face two scenarios: to die slowly and quietly as a result of the siege, collapse of medical services, high unemployment, restrictions on movement, salary cuts and economic collapse; or to die loudly, with the world hearing their screams and demands for freedom, dignity and liberation.

The continued gathering of tens of thousands of Palestinians under these conditions should provoke international decision-makers to ask: what do they want? What pushed them into the arms of danger to continue these demonstrations?

The continued momentum shows that the environment that instigated these protests six months ago has not changed, and that all promises made to improve the humanitarian situation in Gaza lack credibility for Palestinians living in the coastal enclave.

Palestinians carry a wounded protester east of Gaza City on 5 October 2018 (AFP)

From the outset, Palestinians have stated their intentions: we are refugees who want to return home, and we are humans who deserve to live in dignity.

More than two-thirds of Gaza’s population is made up of refugees forcibly evicted from their homes by Zionist gangs during the 1948 Nakba (“catastrophe”). UN Security Council Resolution 194 stipulates that they should be able to return to their homes, and the ongoing demonstrations fall under the umbrella of this longstanding international resolution. Protesters’ lone demand is the implementation of international justice.

Endless grief

Since the Great March of Return turned into a major movement in Gaza, Palestinian factions have agreed on a tactical objective: to break the unjust siege. Israel, which enjoys international impunity, does not recognise the legitimate rights of Palestinians under international law, including their right to a dignified life.

It has failed to address the root of the problem, instead continuing its strategy of terror, killing and disproportionate use of force against peaceful demonstrators, whose only crime is their call to end their displacement and life under siege and tyranny.

Israel’s deadly response to the protests has exacerbated Palestinians’ suffering. Since the movement began on 30 March, Palestinian mothers have lived in endless grief. Every new victim of occupation bullets deepens the wound. Each of the martyrs killed by Israeli soldiers has left a vacuum in the lives of their loved ones.

The slain protesters loved life, and they showed this love by banging on the walls of their giant prison. They refused to live in humiliation and defeat. They chose to die with honour, screaming “no” in the face of occupation and dehumanisation.

(Source / 20.10.2018)

Ehud Barak: We killed 300 Palestinians in 3 minutes

GAZA, PALESTINOW.COM — Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak on Friday said that he had killed 300 Palestinians “in only three and a half minutes”.

“When I was defense minister, more than 300 Hamas members were killed in only three and a half minutes,” Barak said in statements to the Hebrew TV channel Seven.

Barak criticized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and said that he has repeatedly capitulated to Hamas because he does not have a strategy.

In commentary on Barak’s statements, Hamas official Sami Abu Zuhri said that the Israeli leader’s confessions about killing 300 Palestinians in about three minutes confirm that Israel is a terrorist entity led by a group of murderers.

Abu Zuhri wrote on Twitter that the international community must react immediately to these dangerous confessions.

(Source / 20.10.2018)

Jewish settlers attack Nablus school, injure Palestinian

NABLUS, PALESTINOW.COM — A Palestinian youth sustained injuries on Thursday as Israeli settlers and soldiers broke into Urif town, south of Nablus, in the northern occupied West Bank.

Speaking with Palestinian reporter, head of Urif village council Mazen Shahada said over 70 extremist Israelis residing in Yitzhar illegal settlement and escorted by policemen stormed Palestinian lands in al-Marah, south of Urif, and attacked Palestinian homes and the local high school, leading to clashes.

Israeli soldiers attacked the locals with spates of bullet fire and teargas canisters.

A young man was shot and injured in the thigh. He was taken to a hospital in Nablus.

(Source / 19.10.2018)

IOF demolished Palestinian house in Hebron, left them homeless

HEBRON, PALESTINOW.COM — The Israeli occupation forces on Wednesday demolished a Palestinian tent in Musafer Yatta, in the southern West Bank.

A Palestinian news correspondent said Israeli border cops raided Sosiya village, in Yatta, before they knocked down a tent owned by the Palestinian instructor Khader Nawaj’a and seized his furniture.

Nawaj’a said: “I set up the tent to take shelter in with my family in winter after the occupation forces demolished our homes and structures. Now we have been left without a roof over our head after the occupation forces demolished our tent and stole our blankets, foodstuff, gas cylinder, and cattle feed”, he stated.

“The Israeli occupation authorities do not allow us to construct homes to take cover in”, he added. “They just seek to force us out of our lands.”

(Source / 18.10.2018)

Dozens of Palestinians injured shot by Israeli navy

GAZA, PALESTINOW.COM — Israeli navy and soldiers attacked, Monday, dozens of Palestinian protesters, demanding an end to the deadly siege on the Gaza Strip, and injured at least 60 Palestinians with live fire, in addition to causing dozens to suffer the effects of teargas inhalation.

The procession was organized by the Higher National Committee for the Great Return March, in the Gaza Strip, and was attended by hundreds of Palestinians along the eastern parts of the coastal region.

Media sources said the protesters gathered the shore, while many boarded boats that sailed in Gaza territorial waters, before the soldiers and the navy opened fire at them.

The sources added that 19 Palestinians were shot with live Israeli army fire, and dozens suffered the effects of teargas inhalation.

Most of the injuries tool place near Zikim military base, especially when some protesters managed to briefly cross through the northern Gaza, and the soldiers fired a barrage of live rounds at them.

Some protesters also managed to cut sections of the barb-wire fence in northern Gaza, and raised Palestinian flags.

Many protesters also burnt dozens of tires to limit the vision of the Israeli army sharpshooters, in the sea, and across the perimeter fence.

The Higher National Committee said the participation in today’s processions was the largest since the naval protests started, and added that the Palestinians are determined to continue the struggle for their legitimate rights, despite the escalating military violations, the fatal use of force, and the repeated threats by Israeli political leaders to wage a comprehensive war on the besieged coastal region.

It also called on the international community, and the United Nations, to uphold their responsibilities, and act on ending the deadly Israeli siege on two million Palestinians, living in poverty and “in the largest open-air prison on earth.”

(Source / 16.10.2018)

Zionist aircraft bombed resistance position in Gaza

GAZA, PALESTINOW.COM — An Israeli aircraft bombed on Monday afternoon a resistance position east of Khan Younis, in the southern Gaza Strip.

There were no immediate reports of Palestinian injuries in the airstrike.

“The strike was carried out after two Palestinians approached the security fence in the southern Strip and placed an explosive device near the fence,” the Israeli army said.

“The device exploded inside Gaza and damaged the fence. No troops were injured,” the army added.

(Source / 16.10.2018)

Israel has killed 198 Gazans in the Great Return March

GAZA, PALESTINOW.COM — The Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza said that a total of 198 Palestinians, including 37 minors, had been martyred by Israeli forces, and 22,000 others injured since the start of mass demonstrations in March against Israeli occupation.

Protesters demand the “right of return” to their homes and villages in historical Palestine, from which they were driven in 1948 to make way for the new state of Israel.

They also demand an end to Israel’s 11-year blockade of the Gaza Strip, which has gutted the coastal enclave’s economy and deprived its roughly two million inhabitants of many basic commodities.

(Source / 12.10.2018)

Gaza incendiary balloons spark environmental disaster in ‘Israel’

AL-QUDS, PALESTINOW.COM — According to data received from KKL (Jewish National Fund Keren Kayemet Leisrael), thousands of dunams of farmland and woodland were set on fire by incendiary kites and balloons launched from the besieged Gaza Strip into Israel over the past six months, prompting an environmental disaster in the area.

KKL documented that 1,053 fires were sparked in Israeli communities surrounding Gaza and that about 11,920 dunams (2,945 acres) of farmland and woodland were set on fire, prompting an “environmental disaster” in the area.
The majority of the conflagrations broke out in the Beeri forest, with 452 fires sparking there, while 353 fires broke out in the Kissufim forest.Meanwhile, 75 fires were documented in the Shokeda forest, 31 fires sparked in the Hannun forest, and 29 fires scorched the HaBesor Stream forest.
The data was provided by KKL’s forest rangers in the Negev area, who have been on call during the past six months, arriving to the scene once receiving a report about a fire breaking out, in order to gain control of the flames to later extinguish it.
KKL added that dozens of trees were significantly harmed and their rehabilitation is expected to take years.
Additionally, hundreds of wild animals were killed in the fires due to the continuous launch of incendiary kites and balloons into southern Israel.
An Israeli firefighter said “The nature in the Gaza border communities has been severely damaged. In my opinion, when rain comes, we’ll be able to know what can be renewed. Everything is scorched now.”
In September, Israeli farmers from Israeli communities surrounding the besieged Gaza Strip announced that they will be filing a lawsuit against the Hamas movement leaders before the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague.
The lawsuit will be filed for violating international laws, including the launch of incendiary kites and balloons resulting in burning hundreds of dunams of open fields.Palestinians in Gaza view the incendiary kites as a form of protest against Israel’s nearly 12-year blockade of Gaza and for Palestinian refugees right of return to their homes and lands which are now known as Israel.
(Source / 11.10.2018)

Israel has killed 13 Palestinian students in the Great Return March

GAZA, PALESTINOW.COM — Thirteen students at United Nations schools have been killed by Israeli occupation forces in the Gaza Strip since March, according to the UN agency for Palestinian refugees.

The UNRWA statement, released yesterday, reveals that the fatal shooting by Israeli snipers of a Palestinian child on 28 September brought to 13 the total number of UNRWA students who have been killed since 30 March 2018 in the context of the “Great March of Return” protests.

“Many other children enrolled in UNRWA schools have been wounded in the demonstrations,” the statement added.

The statement further noted that between 31 March and 30 September, UNRWA’s 22 health centres across the occupied Gaza Strip “have provided 4,104 consultations for injuries sustained in the protests, more than 770 of which related to children”.

Some 86 per cent of these have been gunshot injuries, “often resulting in serious bodily harm”.

“Wounds can be dressed.  But for casualties of such violence and all involved in their care, the effects are lasting; rehabilitation is often long, costly and uncertain,” UNRWA added.

“UNRWA deplores the loss of life and the devastating impact that the deaths and injuries have on individuals and families.  Every effort must be made to protect more effectively those who are exposed to this tragic situation,” the statement continued.

The UN agency further stressed that “in recent months, the deepening humanitarian crisis has further ravaged the Gaza Strip and stretched an already fragile health system to breaking point.”

(Source / 09.10.2018)

500 Palestinians arrested by Israel over Facebook posts

GAZA, PALESTINOW.COM — Israel arrested 500 Palestinians, including women, children and MPs, over their social media posts, the Palestine Center for Prisoners Studies reported.

The center’s spokesman Riyadh Al-Ashqar said that the Israeli authorities began arresting Palestinians for their social media posts since the start of the Jerusalem Intifada claiming such uploads incite terror against Israel.

Israel is using its recently formed “Cyber Unit” to monitor Palestinian social media posts, he said.

This unit, Al-Ashqar said, classifies any Facebook post that glorifies Palestinian martyrs, discloses Israeli crimes, and supports resistance as “incitement of terror”.

Hundreds of Palestinians have been sentenced over the past three years to different jail terms on the ground of incitement on social media, he charged.

Some others were placed under house arrest and denied from using social media platforms, he continued.

Al-Ashqar strongly condemned such arrests that “clearly violate the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the European Convention of Human Rights.”

He concluded by calling on the international community to protect the Palestinian people’s right of freedom of expression.

(Source / 09.10.2018)