On April 6, as part of a six-week protest known as “The Great March of Return,” Palestinians in Gaza marched for a second time demanding theright to return to their homes in occupied Palestine. This campaign is slated to culminate on May 15, the 70th anniversary of thePalestinian Nakba or “catastrophe,” when the state of Israel was founded. Thousands have participated in this campaign. They represent the demands of the 2 million Palestinians who live in the Gaza Strip, 1.3 million of whom are refugees. The response by the Israeli military has been the murderous use of live ammunition that has killed over 20 and injured over 1,250. For the second Friday in a row, Israeli snipers killed unarmed protesters and injured hundreds more using live ammunition.
Jason Greenblatt, an assistant to President Trump representing the United States in the Middle East commented on the first round of murders: “We condemn leaders and protesters who call for violence or who send protesters — including children —to the fence, knowing that they may be injured or killed.”
Blaming the victim for the crimes of the victimizers is not a new tactic for U.S. representatives. This same argument was used by racist segregationists in the United States in defending the use of attack dogs and water cannons against the unarmed Black community protesting Jim Crow racism in the U.S. South.
Despite the contemptuous statements by Greenblatt and other U.S. officials, it is not the “leaders” that are sending people to confront the occupation force. It is a people, united in their desire for liberation and a return to their homeland, a people who were behind the first and second Intifadas that is the driving force this latest campaign of resistance.
U.S. officials ignore the consequences of three Israeli military offensives over the past six years and the continuing blockade. The blockade has damaged the “water, sanitation, energy, and medical facilities” and “coupled with slow reconstruction due to the blockade [has] led the UN in September to warn that Gaza could be“uninhabitable by 2020” (maannew.com).
Making Gaza uninhabitable, as the U.N. report states, is not an accident, it is a part of a conscious plan by the Zionist government. The Israeli leaders, despite what they say, do not want peace with the Palestinians. They want all of Israel, including the West Bank and Gaza, rid of Palestinians.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Liz Throssell condemned the latest murders by the IDF in a statement on April 8 that read, “Given the large number of injuries and deaths, the ominous statements made by Israeli authorities in the days leading up to the protest, as well as indications that the individuals killed or wounded were unarmed or did not pose a serious threat to well-protected security forces – and in some cases were actually running away from the fence – there are strong indications that security forces used excessive force.”
The “ominous statements” Throssell refers to are remarks by Israel’s Minister of Defense Avigdor Lieberman. In response to calls by the U.N.and the E.U. for investigations into the first round of murders, this mass murderer stated, “from the standpoint of the [Israeli Defence Force] soldiers,they did what had to be done. … all of our troops deserve a commendation.”
According to international law, which U.S. officials talk about defending when demonizing independent nations like Venezuela, North Koreaor Syria, the shooting of unarmed protestors in an occupied territory is a war crime and those who carry out or order such acts are war criminals.
The Arab League, the European Union, Cuba, Venezuela, Uruguay, South Africa and others have condemned Israel’s most recent actions. The Unites States has used its veto power twice the past week to block U.N. Security Council resolutions calling for an independent investigation into the use offorce by the Israeli Defense Force. The vetoes make it clear the U.S.government is complicit in the actions being carried out by the Israeli military.
This stands in contrast to how quickly, without an investigation, any proof or a U.N. resolution, the United States has blamed Syria for the horrible deaths of people recently killed in Douma in an apparent chemical weapons attack. A similar story and rush to judgement in April 2017 resulted in the launching of 59 tomahawk missiles by the Pentagon on Syrian military targets. Almost a year later, in February 2018, Secretary ofDefense Mattis tells the media the United States never had any evidence the Syrian government used Sarin nerve gas against its people. U.S. hypocrisy is only surpassed by its criminality.
The Palestinian people have been resisting the occupation of their homeland since Al Nakba. For decades, the Zionists and their imperialist backers have schemed to make the Palestinian people disappear. The Zionists tried to falsify the founding of Israel by calling Israel a “land without a people for a people without a land.” They made it a crime to fly the flag of Palestine or be found with a Palestinian flag. While never giving up their flag, in response the Palestinian people dressed in the flag’s colors of black, white, green and red.
The Zionist colonizers have the most sophisticated weapons, resources and technology. They have the economic, political, financial and military backing of U.S. imperialism. They create outdoor prisons like Gaza, they routinely torture prisoners, destroy crops, redirect water, separate families and violate international law each day.
Yet the Palestinian people have not just endured, they continue to resist. They will win.
Long live Palestine! Down with Zionism! Free Palestine!