Thousands Demand Right To Return On Gaza Border

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Palestinian youth tear at the razor wire marking the border with Israel

AT LEAST thirteen Palestinian protesters were shot and injured with Israeli live ammunition, on Wednesday, during mass protests commemorating the 71st anniversary of Nakba Day or ‘catastrophe’ near the return camps along the eastern borders of the besieged Gaza Strip.

Local sources confirmed that thousands of Palestinian protesters in Gaza, which has suffered from a 12-year-long Israeli siege, arrived to the eastern borders via buses to demand their right of return as refugees to their original homelands, now in present-day Israel.

Sources said that Israeli forces opened heavy fire and fired tear gas bombs towards the protests.

Medical sources confirmed that thirteen Palestinians were shot and injured with live ammunition, while dozens of others suffered from severe tear gas suffocation.

Sources added that Israeli forces and snipers were deployed across the borders.

May 15th 1948, known as the Nakba or ‘catastrophe’, re-focuses the world’s attention on the 750,000 Palestinians displaced during and after the establishment of the state of Israel, and the more than five million Palestinians who remain refugees as they wait to return to their lands in Israel.

It is noteworthy that Palestinians in Gaza have been participating for over a year in ‘The Great March of Return’ protests along Gaza’s borders, which began on March 30th 2018, during which Israeli forces killed at least 305 Palestinians, including 59 children, 10 women, and one elderly, and injured 17,335 others.

  • The Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza published statistics, on Wednesday, regarding attacks by Israeli forces against Palestinian protesters during The Great March of Return along the eastern borders of the besieged Gaza Strip, between March 30th 2018 and May 14th 2019.

The ministry said that 305 Palestinians, including 59 children, 10 women, and one elderly, were killed by Israeli forces, while 17,335 others suffered various injuries.

The ministry confirmed that among the injured were 3,565 children, 1,168 women, and 104 elderly.

The ministry said that 564 Palestinians were critically injured, while 7,345 were moderately injured and 9,426 suffered minor injuries with either live ammunition or rubber-coated steel bullets.

Of the 17,335 Palestinians injured, about 1,685 suffered injuries to the head and neck, in addition to 122 to the lower limbs and 14 in the upper limbs.

The ministry also confirmed that three Palestinian paramedics were killed and 680 medical crew members were injured.

‘The Great March of Return’ protests were launched on March 30th by thousands of Palestinian civilians in Gaza – which has suffered from a 12-year-long Israeli siege – who took to the borders to demand their right of return as refugees to their original homelands, now in present-day Israel.

• ‘Rejecting my visa application or delaying and not issuing visas for Palestinian officials, diplomats and human rights activists reflects the petty and vindictive policies of the current US administration,’ said Hanan Ashrawi, member of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO).

‘This administration does not seek partnerships or dialogue because it is incapable of accepting disagreements or criticism.’

Ashrawi tweeted two days ago that she was denied an entry visa to the US despite the fact that she got her Ph.D. from a US university, has grandchildren and family living there and has travelled there several times in the past where she spoke at conferences and attended many other activities.

‘It is official! My US visa application has been rejected. No reason given. Choose any of the following: I’m over 70 & a grandmother; I’ve been an activist for Palestine since the late 1960s; I’ve always been an ardent supporter of non-violent resistance,’ wrote Ashrawi in her tweet two days ago.

‘I’ve met (& even negotiated with) every Secretary of State since Shultz, & every President since George H. W. Bush (present administration excluded),’ she added. Nevertheless she was denied an entry visa.

‘Along with its allies in the fundamentalist Israeli right wing, the (US President Donald) Trump administration treats the Palestinian people with disdain and hostility and insists on exacting punishment on the Palestinian people, who refuse to trade their inalienable rights to freedom and independence for money and the promise of “better living conditions” under the cruel regime of occupation,’ said Ashrawi in a statement yesterday.

She added: ‘This ideological and practical alliance between the Trump administration and the right wing in Israel makes the administration complicit in the ongoing injustice against our people as well as the widespread crimes committed against the Palestinian people by the Israeli occupation.’

The PLO official stressed: ‘Such petty politics, objectionable arrogance, unilateralism, and disdain for international law reaffirm that that this administration is neither qualified nor capable of playing any constructive role in peacemaking in the region,’ she said.

‘The Trump administration wrongly believes that launching a political and financial assault on the Palestinian people will force the Palestinian people and leadership to surrender.

‘The Palestinian people will not abandon their just cause for freedom and independence, relinquish their legitimate and historic rights to Jerusalem, or abandon the Palestine refugees and their rights, as stipulated under international law,’ said Ashrawi, adding: ‘It suffers from the illusion that such irresponsible policies could ensure the success of its so-called plan in the coming weeks.’

The PLO official concluded: ‘The Palestinian people will not allow the Trump administration’s hostile policies and illegal actions to obscure or tarnish their longstanding and principled partnerships with human and civil rights advocates in the US, who challenge this administration’s objectionable policies and insist on defending the dignity of all people as a universal value.

‘The Palestinian people are not alone. We have principled and vocal friends across the United States and the world, who continue to persist in our joint struggle for justice, freedom, and universal human rights.’