Unending sacrifice

Palestinian protesters help a man injured during clashes with Israeli forces near the border with Israel, east of Khan Yunis, in the southern Gaza Strip, on April 2, 2018, as a tent protest continues in support of Palestinian refugees returning to lands they fled or were expelled from during the 1948 war surrounding Israel's creation. AFP / SAID KHATIB

“The Israel Massacre forces,” as the Israeli media labeled their army, sums it all up.

There’s no hiding Friday’s crimes against Gaza’s residents, which resulted in the killing of at least 18 peaceful Palestinian marchers and the wounding by tear gas and live and rubber bullets of over 1,000 others.

The video of Israeli soldiers shooting 19-year-old Abdel-Fattah Abdel-Nabi in the back as he ran away from the border fence toward Gaza is stark evidence of the crimes against humanity committed by the Israeli army under the eyes of the world.

The Gaza protests correspond with red-letter dates on the Palestinian calendar. Friday was “ Land Day,” which marks the 1976 killing of six Arab citizens by Israeli security forces during demonstrations against land expropriations. Another march to the fence slated for May 15 will commemorate the Nakba or catastrophe – the forceful eviction in 1948 of Palestinians by Israeli militias with the tacit collusion of Britain, the U.S. and Russia.

Furthermore, Gazans’ willingness to walk to that fence is not a measure of their support for Hamas; rather, it measures their yearning for self-expression and freedom.

Israel’s lies were made clear in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s claim the killings were in defense of Israel’s border. The present border is the unilateral, military demarcation line of an illegal blockade that is strangling the Gaza Strip’s inhabitants. The Israeli army also militarizes a belt of Gaza’s agricultural land, intruding a further 300-500 meters into the strip. That is the zone in which live fire was used. Gazans walked, and were killed, on their own land.

The world must wake up to the fact that 2 million Palestinians exist behind a wall, deprived of their basic rights and trapped by structural violence that has become Israel’s lifestyle.

Israel is described as the most militarized country on Earth, but by now it should have learned that 70 years or 700 years of occupation will not affect the Palestinians’ resolve to live the free and independent lives they deserve.

To achieve that goal, any sacrifice remains immaterial.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on April 03, 2018, on page 1.




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