On Friday afternoon, Gazan protestors gathered for the Great Return March for the 24th Friday in a row, calling for the right to return to their land and for an end to the decade-long siege. At the same time, Return activists approached the fence from the other side.
This week, Palestinian activists invited Return activists to have tea with them and protest in solidarity with the Great March of Return. As the Gaza siege fence and occupying military forces stood between them, Return instead joined the demonstration from the Eastern side with Palestinian flags. In a symbolic gesture, both sides had tea together and spoke over the phone. Eventually, the activists were forcibly removed from the area by soldiers.
“This is their land, they invited us over for tea but unfortunately they cannot join us. They are locked in there, trying to get out, so we are just sitting here waiting for them, waiting for our hosts.” –A Return activist
“Soon we will have a cup of tea with you, when we cross that fence and when the injustice and the aggression and oppression all goes and fades away.” –Abdel Karim, Palestinian activist
During the protest in Gaza, two children, 17-year-old Bilal Khafaja from Rafah, and 16-year-old Ahmad Abu Toyour were murdered by Israeli forces, while over 210 protestors were injured. Since March 30, over 18,000 protestors have been injured by Israeli forces during the protests, and over 168 have been killed.
Find out ways to get involved and work in solidarity with the Great March of Return here.
All our videos are taken by photographer Haim Schwarzenberg, who documents Israeli oppression in various struggles. Please go to his website to discover more of his work.
Among 15 undergraduate nursing students at her class, Shorouq Abu Musameh decided to volunteer and be with paramedics deployed along the border.
“I wanted to do my part in supporting the marches of return,” said Abu Musameh, her white uniform stained with the blood of the wounded. “I say to myself my uniform may protect me, or maybe not.”
– From an interview with injured medic Shorouq Abu Musameh, shot by a live bullet in her back on Friday, by Reuters in May
On Friday, August 31st, Gazans gathered by the fence for the 23rd Friday in a row to demonstrate for their freedom, their rights and for the right to return. About 2/3 of Gaza’s population are refugees of war or their descendants.
According to the spokesperson for the Gaza ministry of health, at least 240 were injured and at least 2 seriously, including a 10 year old boy. Further proving the deliberate targeting of medical workers during the protests, a Palestinian female paramedic, Shorouq Abu Musameh, was seriously injured by Israeli snipers as she was tending to the wounded. Additionally, an ambulance belonging to the Red Crescent was targeted and damaged.
So far, three health workers have been killed and at least 53 injured while providing first aid to the wounded during the Marches, most while wearing clothing identifying them as medics. Overall, at least 166 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces since the protests began in March and over 18,000 have been injured.
At the same time, the United States announced the cutting of all funding for UNRWA, the UN agency that assists millions of Palestinian refugees.
Get inspired by the perseverance of Gazans and the Great March of Return and show solidarity with their cause. This is the time to act. Use our site to explore ways to get involved and please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
The #GreatReturnMarch is a form of popular resistance organized by Palestinian civilians demanding their right to return to their homeland and to break the arbitirary Israeli siege imposed on the Gaza Strip.
Help us in spreading the word so Palestinians can regain their fundamental rights to live in happiness and freedom. Our voices combined will make a difference.
Since March 30th, for more than four months, Palestinians have been peacefully protesting along the fence besieging Gaza in the Great March of Return, demanding their right to return to the homes and lands from which their families were expelled 70 years ago.
This call for freedom has come at a great cost. Since the protests began, at least 166 Palestinians have been murdered by Israeli forces, and over 18,000 injured—more than 5,000 by live fire. (updated: 22.08.2019) This includes children, journalists and clearly marked medics.
Just recently, three clearly marked medics have been shot and killed:
- Razan Al-Najjar was shot in the back while caring for wounded on June 1st 2018
- Abdallah al-Qatati was shot while on medical duty on August 10th 2018
- Mousa Abu Hassanein was shot while giving first aid on May 14th 2018
All were wearing medical team vests clearly distinguishing them.
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- Print out the attached posters and hang them everywhere.
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- Share this on social media with the hashtags: #GreatReturnMarch #NotATarget
Help keep the human rights and freedom of Palestinians, and the right to return in the spotlight—and help us in spreading the word.
Yesterday, Friday 24th of August, Return demonstrated from the Eastern side of the Gaza fence in solidarity with the weekly Great March of Return in Gaza, which took place for the 22nd Friday in a row.
This week’s demonstration on both sides of the fence demanded an end to the Israeli policy of targeting medics and accountability for the medics who have been injured and murdered while providing medical assistance during the protests. According to World Health Organization (WHO) and health officials in Gaza, at least 52 health workers have been injured while providing first aid to the wounded during the Marches, most while wearing clothing identifying them as medics. Three health workers have been killed.
“We arrived to demonstrate in solidarity with the Palestinian demonstration on the other side of the fence. We got stopped by the soldiers and we couldn’t get close, but we could get to this sort of hill here from which they can see us waving the Palestinian flag. All of us here, Jews and internationals are here to support the right of return.
When people are deported or flee for their lives in times of war or conflict, they have an universally recognized right to return to their towns and villages of origins, their homes, after the war is over. Israel has been denying Palestinians of this right for 70 years, they’ve been robbing their land, robbing their property. We think that if people will be allowed to return to their original places, we could get our lives together and live as neighbors in equality.” –Yossi, a Return activist.
According to numbers from the Gaza health ministry, 189 civilians—including 10 children—were injured by Israeli forces during the march, and 73 were hospitalized. The most serious injuries were inflicted by live ammunition and direct tear gas canisters, according to the latest report by the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights.
“They raised flags, and chanted slogans and national songs in addition to flying kites and firing balloons, while hundreds of them, including children and women, approached the border fence, set fire to tires and attempted to throw stones at the Israeli forces. The participants were present around 300 meters away from the main border fence,” the human rights organization reported.
PCHR additionally pointed out that Israeli forces used excessive lethal force against peaceful protestors who posed no threat to the lives of Israeli soldiers, and continued to target medical personnel working in the field, wounding 3. Additionally, an ambulance was damaged, indicating that there is without a question a systematic Israeli policy to target medical personnel and to obstruct their humanitarian work, which is protected under the rules of international humanitarian law.