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May 13, 2018

As Palestine protests


May 13, 2018

Tensions in occupied Palestine have been rising as Israel has continued to barricade the entry of thousands of Palestinians past the Gaza fence. Palestinians have now protested for six successive Fridays as Israeli troops continued firing on unarmed protesters. Israel has killed 43 Palestinian protesters since the ‘Great March of Return’ protests started on March 30. Another Palestinian protester was killed this Friday as another 15,000 people joined the last round of protests. Hundreds more were injured. The protesters have been rallying for a right to return to homes that were snatched by Israel 70 years ago. Israel has been accused of using deadlier weapons to quash the protests, including explosive bullets and gas bombs. With little support from the international community, how can Palestinians not feel that their protests – and compromises from their own political representatives – have not led to any serious progress on their right to statehood? Israel’s violations of UN conventions and international human rights law continue to be condoned.

The fact is that Israel has no justification for its violence against the Palestinian people. With not a single Israeli causality in the ongoing Great March of Return, the murder of 42 Palestinians is a crime that must receive international condemnation. Israel has continued to play up the ‘threat’ perception and has responded in the only way an occupying force knows: via violence. Israel has even launched airstrikes on the Gaza strip to ward off protesters. The latest airstrikes have been targeted against ‘flaming kites’ – apparently the latest ‘dangerous’ weapon in the ‘Palestinian arsenal.’ This would have made for great comedy – only this is bizarrely actually happening. The Palestinian slogan in the current protests is a return to their homes without bombs or bloodshed. This is for the repatriation of almost 1.5 million Palestinians who continue to live in refugee camps in the Gaza Strip – just a few kilometers from the homes they were displaced from in 1948. Thousands of Palestinians have decided to set up tents 700 metres from the Israeli border. Their right of return is enshrined in a UN Resolution adopted in December 1948. The hope of the current phase of Palestinian protests was to garner international support – but the international community continues to deny recognition to Palestinians.

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