Written & Edited by Ariyana Love, with Mike Farah
More people were injured by Israeli violence in 7 weeks of the Great Return March protest in Gaza, then during the entire 51 days of what the Russell Tribunal on Palestine ruled an ‘Extermination of People,’ in 2014.
According to Pierre Krahenbuhl, the Commissioner General of UNWRA, 12,000 people were wounded during the 2014 slaughter, perpetrated by Israel upon Gaza, which they ironically coined “Protective Edge.” However, a staggering 13,900 were injured including approximately 3,778 by live ammunition during the Great Return March and climbing.
Editors note: OPTV updated the number of causalities from the Great Return March demonstrations, on June 8th
Times of Islamabad has reported on June 4th, that 187 Palestinians including 31 children have been killed by Israel to date.
No amount of words will assuage the excruciating agony and grief so nobly laid before the alter of human sacrifice in Gaza, which demonstrates the ongoing 70-year catastrophe of the Palestinian Al-Nakba.
Never before has the price for column inches in the mainstream media been so dearly paid in the precious blood of unarmed, non-violent people, screaming for their most basic right to life, freedom and self-determination, in the face of a criminal occupation that has enforced an 11-year medieval siege on Gaza, leaving it unsustainable for the two-million inhabitants.
Razan Al-Najar, a 21-year-old volunteer paramedic, was murdered by Israeli snipers as she ran toward the separation barrier with her hands in the air, in a bid to administer first aid to a wounded civilian.
It was stated in a UN report in 2012 that Gaza would be unlivable by 2020. However, in 2017 Robert Piper, UN Coordinator for Humanitarian Aid and Development said “that unlivable threshold has been passed a long time ago.”
At present, 97% of Gaza’s water is undrinkable and it’s population is being slowly poisoned and starved. The Trump Administration’s $65 million cut in USAid to UNWRA this year, has compounded the misery of up to 80% of Gazans who relied on UNWRA food aid to survive, as well as UNWRA education and medical care.
As a result of these cuts, many Gazans are now going days without food, according to our sources at the ICSPR and Ministry of Health in Gaza. The flood of casualties from the Great Return March has been catastrophic for what remained of Gaza’s already crumbling health infrastructure. Even the best equipped medical units in Europe would not be able to cope with the huge numbers of casualties and complexities of the life-changing injuries caused by Israel’s illegal use of banned weapons. Exploding lead bullets called “The Butterfly” are being used to permanently maim the civilian protesters. An extraordinary number of limbs have been amputated.
Former British PM, David Cameron and Noam Chomsky have both called Gaza an “open air prison.” In actuality, Gazans might be better off in prison, where bombs aren’t dropping on their heads, electricity is available, they get three square meals a day, clean water, access to medical treatment and a guaranteed release date.
It must be mentioned that Israel profits by keeping Gaza on the brink of a humanitarian catastrophe and under siege, in multiple ways, as explained in a +972 article.
In light of this context, Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner’s speech at the opening ceremony of the US Embassy in Jerusalem on May 14th, is an Orwellian distortion of truth that could only be surpassed by the late Joseph Geobbels, if he were describing the inmates of the Warsaw Ghetto during their uprising in Nazi occupied Poland.
While unarmed, non-violent Gazans protesting their inhuman living conditions, were being murdered and maimed, Kushner callously referred to the Great Return March by saying, “As we have seen from the protests in the last month and even today, those provoking violence were part of the problem, not part of the solution.”
Seriously Mr. Kushner, who is provoking violence and what do you see as a final solution?
Who is the terrorist?
187 Palestinians murdered — Zero Israeli’s killed.
13,500 Palestinians wounded — Zero Israeli’s wounded.
What Palestine’s Great Return March has exposed is Israel’s Achilles heal and it’s most feared nightmare, NON-VIOLENCE! The dilemma now facing the most sadistic, weaponized society on Earth, whose very survival is dependent on just two tools in their toolbox; deception and brute military force, is how do they deal with coordinated, unarmed resistance?
Despite this, the powerful images of Israel’s murderous war crimes against journalists, medics, disabled, women, elderly, and children, still managed to break through the traditional wall of media silence and complicity, flying in the face of their fake narrative.
Palestinians ran for cover from "tear gas" disseminated from drones hundreds of yards from the separation barrier in the Gaza Strip, east of Jabalia. A new type of unknown chemical agent caused dozens of civilians to seizure violently and enter a coma. MOHAMMED ABED/AFP/Getty Images
The potency of the graphic video images of Israeli snipers administering kill shots to the heads and chest of children and of protesters being shot in the back and while praying, to the maiming of thousands with internationally banned explosive lead bullets, which tore through organ and bone, has resonated far beyond the die hard activists, spawning a great awakening of millions who were previously unaware.
Israel’s usual propaganda tricks have been rendered impotent due to Palestine’s diligent reporting and live streaming on social media, which cannot be refuted. Israel’s efforts to dehumanize the civilians they murder by labeling the dead and maimed as “Hamas terrorists,” can be seen for the ridiculous lie that it is. So successful are the raw images reported by Palestinians and activists, that Israel has proposed another draconian law to criminalize documentation of Israeli occupation “soldiers” human rights violations in the occupied territories.
Palestine’s people power
In truth, the Great Return March, which started on the 30th of March, is a grass roots initiative based on one man’s vision of birds flying over Gaza’s barrier fence, towards his stolen ancestral land. Which begged the question, “if birds decide to fly, so they fly. Is it not the right of people to move freely like birds as they wish?”
Who could of guessed the vision of Ahmad Abu Artema, a 33-year-old Palestinian writer and activist, would mobilize millions with a simple idea. From the seeds of this vision, the “National Committee of the Great March of Return” was born and supported by every sector of Palestinian civil and political society throughout Gaza, West Bank, globally and even in Israel itself.
Ahmad Abu Artema says he is inspired by Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi. Photo credit: CNN
What we are witnessing here is a genuine expression of ‘people power’ in one of the largest and most exemplary demonstrations of non-violent resistance the world has ever seen. We’ve often heard the call, where is the Palestinian Ghandi? What the world is witnessing in this historic march for freedom, is the essence of a population without an army, air force or navy, that has the spirit of 12 million Ghandi’s.
Even the elected Hamas government was inspired by the people’s initiative. Hamas Chief, Ismail Haniya is seen below, giving a speech at Gaza’s eastern separation barrier, in support of the non-violent demonstrations and the right of return for all Palestinians.
Palestinian Hamas Chief Ismail Haniyeh speaks during a protest demanding the right to return (UN Res. 194) to their homeland, at the Israel-Gaza separation barrier, east of Gaza City April 9, 2018. (Photo: Ashraf Amra/APA Images)
Despite Israel’s and the mainstream media’s efforts to demonize Hamas and dehumanize all legitimate resistance, Hamas proved to the world their willingness to react non-violently to Israeli aggression.
Showing remarkable discipline, Hamas purposefully did not return fire when Palestinian civilians were being maimed and murdered. This was illustrated in video footage Hamas released, showing they had Israeli snipers in their scopes multiple times, including an high-ranking officer who was within range and on target, named Yoav Mordechai, Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories.
In fact, Hamas demonstrated to the occupation a powerful lesson in non-violent restraint. Something mainstream media will never dare to report!
Video shows senior Israeli commander in Palestinian sniper spotlight – (translated from Spanish)
The EU proposed to remove Hamas from the EU Terror List in 2014.
Palestine’s right to exist
So often we are told that Palestine deny’s Israel’s right to exist. When in truth, the PLO recognized Israel’s right to exist in the 1993 agreements, brokered by President Clinton.
Even Hamas accepted the 1967 boarders, should Palestine be awarded it’s own state. But Israeli rejected that, according to top Hamas leader Khaled Meshal, who also confirmed Hamas’s recognition of the 1967 boarders with former President Jimmy Carter.
It’s time for Israel to recognize Palestine’s right to exist!
At present, Palestinians are not even acknowledged as human beings. Just look at some of the most recent comments by Israeli Occupation leaders.
On April 8th, ‘Defence’ Minister Abigdor Leiberman clearly illustrated their institutionalized contempt for Palestinian life by declaring, “there are no innocent people in Gaza.”
On the day of the May 14th massacre, as the death toll was still rising, Avi Dichter, Chair of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and ‘Defence’ confirmed Israel’s position by stating, “the IDF has enough bullets for everyone.”
In fact, the Israel admitted themselves, through an IDF Tweet, that they “know where every bullet landed.” Realizing their admission, they quickly deleted the tweet.
This disturbing dehumanization is endemic within the psyche of Israeli society, from cradle to grave, as illustrated in Nurit Peled-Elhanan’s book titled, Palestine in Israeli School Books: Ideology and Propaganda in Education. Nurit is an Israeli Professor of Language and Education at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
What is even more unnerving is that this Zionist ideology is now being openly parroted as government policy in Washington, like never before under the present Trump Administration. On April 10th, when an Al Quds reporter asked if there are any civilians in Gaza, the US State Department refused to give a definitive answer, they simply would not acknowledge the existence of civilians in Gaza.
Israel’s “Systematic Murder” and weapons testing on Gazans, which continues to play out in front of the world, has drawn global recognition. Gazans noble and agonizing sacrifice for freedom, has brought the Palestinian people’s inalienable right of return enshrined in UN Resolution 194, right back into center stage, preempting Trump’s “deal of the century”:
The United Nations General Assembly adopts resolution 194 (III), resolving that “refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property which, under principles of international law or equity, should be made good by the Governments or authorities responsible.”
Now it’s time to realize Palestine’s right of return!
International response to the carnage
Throughout the history of humanity, every struggle for social justice has seen it’s turning point. America had it’s My Lai Massacre in Vietnam, South Africa had it’s Sharpsville Massacre and Ireland had it’s Bloody Sunday inflicted by the British. We are witnessing a moment in history, when the tide of global opinion ultimately swings against Israel.
The first tectonic shift occurred in 2014, during and in the aftermath of the last ‘Extermination of People’ in Gaza. Now the world is once again horrified by Israel’s sadistic behavior on the killing fields during the Great Return March.
Shock waves are resonating across the globe and echoing through the corridors of power. South Africa is diminishing it’s diplomatic ties with Israel. Turkey’s President Erdogan accused Israel of carrying out “genocide” and announced he would withdraw Turkey’s Ambassadors from Israel and the US.
Kuwait and Turkey rallied the Middle East and the world to unite in an unprecedented initiative led by Erdogan, calling for an international protection force for Palestine. In isolation, America has vetoed that noble initiative.
Recently, the US and Israel lost two major votes at the UN:
1. The first was a humiliating defeat for the Trump Administration and it’s declaration of Jerusalem as the “capital of Israel,” which the UN vote determined was null and void. In defiance, Zionists moved the US Embassy to Jerusalem anyway on May 14th, in breech of international law.
2. A second resolution called for an investigation into Israeli war crimes in Gaza during the Great Return march. This was supported overwhelmingly by 29 countries. Only the US and Australia voted against it, with 14 countries abstaining, including Britain and Germany.
UN High Commissioner, Prince Zeid bin Ra’ad, said about the brutal siege of Gaza:
“they are in essence caged in a toxic slum from birth to death; deprived of dignity; dehumanized by Israeli authorities to such a point it appears officials do not even consider that these men and women have a right, as well as every reason to protest.”
Prince Zaid said that “under international law, Israel was obligated to protect the population of Gaza and ensure their welfare, but there is little evidence of any attempt to minimize casualties.”
Prince Zaid also said, “the stark contrast in casualties on both sides is suggestive of a wholly disproportionate response. Killings resulting from the unlawful use of force by an occupying power may also constitute ‘willful killings’ – a grave breech of the Fourth Geneva Convention” he told the United Nations Council.
The US and the British Conservative Party were arguing that Israel should once again be allowed to investigate itself after it’s depraved use of live fire against unarmedprotesters. We need look no further than the 2014 massacre in Gaza as a prime example of what happens when Israel is allowed to be judge and jury. They found no wrong doing in their extermination of whole family’s and their use of a plethora of internationally banned weapons, such as white phosphorous, DIME and more.
The UK’s leading opposition Labour party declared Britain’s abstention at the UN, “disgusting.” The Shadow Foreign Secretary, Emily Thornberry, slammed PM Teresa May’s weakened conservative party, demanding those responsible for the carnage be held to account, with an independent and impartial investigation.
This is remarkable considering the ongoing pernicious campaign by the UK Zionist lobby to brand the Labour party as “anti-Semitic,” in their attempt to silence any criticism of Israel.
Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour party leader has been a life-long supporter of Palestinian rights. In response to the lethal force used on the 9th of April in Gaza, he called for a full review of UK’s arms sales to Israel. In a statement Corbyn posted for a demonstration in the UK against the atrocities, he said “the killing and wounding of yet more unarmed Palestinian protesters yesterday by Israeli forces in Gaza is an outrage. Firing live ammunition into crowds of unarmed civilians is illegal and inhumane and cannot be tolerated.”
Corbyn made a manifesto commitment during the last election, to recognize the state of Palestine if he is elected PM. This is the first time a leader of the opposition in Britain has taken a stand such as this for Palestine. It also explains the sustained attacks by the Zionist Lobby.
In Ireland, Jino Kenney of the Irish political party, Solidarity–People Before Profit, referred to Israel as “murdering bastards” at the Parliament.
Amnesty International called for a complete Arms Embargo against Israel on April 27th.
Regardless of international consensus, the Israeli “Supreme Court” passed a ruling on May 24th, giving Israel the green light to continue using live-fire against unarmed Gazans. This ruling was passed just after the May 14th massacre, when ‘IDF’ snipers murdered 63 civilians on a single day, 7 of which were children, who were administered kill shots to their heads and chests.
When is the US going to stop using it’s VETO to sanction genocide? The Palestinian people have deserved an impartial peace broker and an international protection force a long time ago.
Let us remind the world in the context of international law, that Israel was permitted to join the global community at the United Nations based on the following preconditions, which have never been ratified.
The three conditions Israel SIGNED and AGREED to are:
1. The status of Jerusalem would not be altered.
2. The Palestinians would be permitted to return.
3. The partition agreement would become the final boarders.
Israel was accepted into the UN on condition that it was to accept the Right of Return of Palestinian refugees. Admission of Israel to membership in the UN (General Assembly Resolution 273, of May 11th 1949) requires Israel to comply with General Assembly Resolution 194 of December 11th, 1948 and Israel stated it agreed to comply with this resolution.
Israel has never upheld any of their agreements, to date.
The Great Return March continues…
Something unique is occurring among the make-shift tents and stages of this great nation’s gathering. The people’s rising has sparked a cultural renaissance which is revitalizing Palestine’s ancient spirit and resolve.
What the Palestinian people have achieved with their Great Return March, is an empowerment of ordinary civilians to determine their own destiny. It is the Palestinian people who possess the moral high ground and it is their faith that defines the future.
The US and Israel are now scrambling to impose Donald Trump’s so called “deal of the century.” The Zionists aim to grind the occupied people down into the dirt so they will accept anything they are offered, which is always bread crumbs, or a chance to redecorate their prison cell.
Any deal that ignores the voices and aspirations of the oppressed people is doomed, “null and void,” just like Donald Trump’s impetuous US Embassy move to Jerusalem.
The National Committee of the Great March of Return has called for an international boycott of all countries that move their embassy to Jerusalem in defiance of international law. The protests will continue. Every Friday Palestinians will gather at the illegal separation barrier in Gaza, until they are free.
The National Committee has planned for the largest mass protest in Gaza (as well as in the West Bank) on June 5th and June 8th, to end the illegal blockade and occupation of Palestine. They have issued an urgent call for the entire world and activists, to mobilize in solidarity:
“we need you to scream out against injustice and double standards and urge your governments to carry out their moral and legal duties to protect the civilians of Palestine.”
Israel can no longer deny the Palestinian people a one state solution, with equal rights for all, while making the two-state solution impossible.
What the Zionist occupiers may have hoped for, has literally failed. PM, Ben Gurion’s infamous statement, “the old will die and the young will forget,” is the delusional, colonialist fallacy that will lead to their own demise.
There are still Palestinian elders living in the refugee camps in Gaza who are older than the 1948 Israeli Occupation. These elders can literally see their ancestral homes from within their open-air prison. The majority of Gazans who are attending the Great Return March and those being murdered and maimed on the killing fields, are third generation refugees. Essentially, the old have not died and the young will never forget.
The question is, will they forgive?
Image of Mohamed Ayyash using an onion mask to protect himself from Israeli tear gas went viral on social media. Photo credit: Al Jazeera
When truth speaks to power, history reveals that struggles for freedom are not won by those with the most powerful army, but by the hearts and minds of the people.
Be there no doubt that the future and quality of life for all humanity is dependent on justice for the Palestinian people and their inalienable Right of Return.
THIS IS THE KEY THAT UNLOCKS THE DOOR TO GLOBAL PEACE.
In 1919, the Palestinian people were provisionally recognized as a State by the League of Nations, as indicated in the 1922 Mandate for Palestine addressed to Great Britain. The UN’s 1947 partition plan (UN Gen. Ass. Res. 181(II)) would have created a Palestinian State, except that Zionist paramilitaries sabotaged it.
Occupied Palestine: Children Hold a Historic Right of Return Demonstration
See full document on Palestine’s legal history
Ariyana Love is Founder of Occupy Palestine TV, Director of Middle East Rising, Senior Journalist & Researcher with The Liberty Beacon Project and Goodwill Ambassador to Palestine (ICSPR, Gaza).
Mike Farah is the son of a Palestinian born into exile UK … He is a spokesperson for wwr-help.com, Gaza. An environmental consultant, teacher and human rights defender.