Gazans’ 6th Great March of Return Friday
The good news was no Palestinians were killed. The bad news was Israeli live fire, along with use of rubber-coated steel bullets and toxic tear gas injured 1,143 Gazans – including 149 children and 78 women.
Ambulances, medical personnel and journalists were targeted. As on previous Fridays, medical field tents were struck with tear gas, disrupting efforts to treat the injured, harming medical personnel as well.
Most injuries were caused far from the border fence, ghettoizing and imprisoning Gazans oppressively.
A number of demonstrators breached the border fence, entered the Karem Abu Salem military base, burnt rooms and took computers along with documents, before soldiers drove them off – a largely symbolic action.
The EU maliciously denounced it, tweeting: “This is appalling & we condemn it unreservedly” – failing to “condemn…unreservedly” shocking levels of Israeli violence against peaceful Gazan demonstrators, heavily armed soldiers attacking defenseless civilians.
Medical personnel are hard-pressed to deal with overwhelming numbers of injuries, including life-threatening ones.
According to Medical Aid for Palestinians, “Gaza’s medical teams are doing all they can to treat those wounded in the most difficult context of a decade-long closure and blockade,” adding:
“Even before the current crisis began, hospitals were suffering chronic shortages of medicines, equipment, and even fuel to keep generators running and services open.”
Hamas political leader Ismail Haniyeh said protests will continue through Ramadan until mid-June.
He called for a May 14 Nakba day Million Person March of Return, urging Palestinians throughout the Occupied Territories to participate.
A Hamas leadership committee statement said the Nabka day march “will send a strong message to Donald Trump and others that the deal of the century will not pass, but will be trampled by the return of millions to the usurped homeland.”
Friday’s demonstration aimed to call attention to dire Strip humanitarian conditions, including nearly 45% of working age Gazans without jobs, most with them earning poverty or sub-poverty wages – 80% of Strip residents dependent on aid to survive.
According to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), for the sixth straight Friday, “and upon a decision by the Israeli highest military and political echelons, the Israeli forces used lethal force against the peaceful demonstrators, who posed no threat to the soldiers’ li(ves).”
“…Israeli snipers deliberately and selectively opened fire at the participants in the peaceful demonstrations which included thousands of civilians in 5 areas in the eastern Gaza Strip.”
PCHR fieldworkers were injured, some requiring hospitalization. They saw no Palestinians armed with weapons.
Like past Fridays, they displayed Palestinian flags, chanted slogans, sang national songs, flew kites and burned tires.
No children or others were used as human shields, as Israel and supportive media falsely claimed. Many entire families came out.
Not a single Israeli soldier or civilian was harmed, none in previous Friday demonstrations. Harmless stone-throwing alone occurred.
Israeli violence against peaceful demonstrators flagrantly violated Fourth Geneva, the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and other international laws – accountability never forthcoming.
Israel gets away with high crimes because the international community does nothing to stop them – complicit with the regime by its inaction.
My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”