Thursday, August 22, 2019

Global solidarity with Palestine on the “Great March of Return” anniversary


By J.J. Rhies - April 02, 2019
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Section: [Main News]
Tags: [Gaza]

Throughout the Anglophone world, thousands of people stood in solidarity with Palestine on March 30, which marked the first anniversary of the “Great March of Return” protests and the 43rd anniversary of Land Day. 

Rallies, teach-ins and demonstrations were held around the world from Toronto and Miami to London, Vienna and Sydney as 40,000 Gaza Strip residents protested along the Israel-Gaza separation fence. 

The international solidarity movement demanded once again that Israel end the 70-year occupation that has wreaked physical, social and economic havoc on generations of Palestinians. 

During the anniversary protests in Gaza, four were killed - including three 17-year-old boys - by Israel Defence Forces (IDF) and more than 300 were wounded, including five in critical condition, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health. 

The three slain teenagers were Adham Amara, killed at the protest, and Bilal Mahmoud Najjar and Tamer Aby el-Khair, who were both shot during the protest but died later in the hospital. 

Since the “Great March of Return” began a year ago, more than 200 Palestinians have been killed and over 6,000 injured. One Israeli soldier was killed and four were injured in the same period of time. 

The IDF has killed clearly marked journalists and medics - in addition to unarmed protesters, children and people with disabilities - during the protests. 

On June 1, 2018, Palestinian paramedic Razan al-Najjar became one of the first medics killed by IDF. She was rushing to help a wounded protester when she was shot, according to witnesses. 

Commemorating the Palestinian resistance 

Land Day, which began on March 30, 1976, is a day of remembrance for the IDF violence against Palestinians who were protesting Israel’s seizure of Galilee earlier that year. 

Six Palestinians were killed and 100 wounded by Israeli forces that day.   

Land Day also helped inspire the “Great March of Return,” which sprang up organically in response to dire conditions - which the United Nations said would be “unliveable” by 2020 - in the blockaded territory.

The “Great March of Return” is the latest Palestinian nonviolent resistance against the Israeli occupation. It advocates for the Palestinian “right of return” to the homes and land lost since Israel became a state in 1948.

The movement calls to attention the occupation generally, as well, which the UN and other intergovernmental organisations and NGOs have repeatedly condemned.

A recent UN independent commission of inquiry report found “reasonable grounds” to conclude that Israel was guilty of “war crimes” and “crimes against humanity” for IDF personnel’s use of lethal force against civilians at “Great March of Return” demonstrations in 2018.

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