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Activists hang photos of Return March dead on Israel-Gaza fence

Answering a call from Palestinian civil society, Israeli activists hang pictures of 119 slain Palestinian demonstrators on barbed wire fence near the Gaza-Israel fence.

By Oren Ziv

Pictures of slain Palestinian demonstrators hang on barbed wire near the Gaza-Israel separation barrier. June 26, 2018. (Oren Ziv / Activestills.org)

Pictures of slain Palestinian demonstrators hang on barbed wire near the Gaza-Israel separation barrier. June 26, 2018. (Oren Ziv / Activestills.org)

Nearly three months after the Great Return March protests in Gaza began, Israeli and international activists hung pictures of 119 slain Palestinian demonstrators on the barbed wire fence just meters from the Gaza-Israel separation barrier.

The activists were responding to a call by the Great Return March steering committee and other Palestinian organizations, including the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU), to hang pictures of Palestinian demonstrators killed during the protests in cities around the world to raise awareness about the ongoing crisis in Gaza.

“Following the media coverage of the massacre that Israel carried out against us on the first day of our march, we have been receiving less and less media coverage,” the steering committee said in a statement. “Since the start of the Great March of Return, over 135 unarmed protesters have been shot dead and more than 14,000 wounded by the occupation forces, including children, medical staff, journalists, and the disabled.”

Israeli and international activists hang pictures of slain Palestinian demonstrators on a barbed-wire fence near the Gaza-Israel separation barrier. (Oren Ziv / Activestills.org)

Israeli and international activists hang pictures of slain Palestinian demonstrators on a barbed-wire fence near the Gaza-Israel separation barrier. (Oren Ziv / Activestills.org)

“As Israeli citizens, we wanted to show solidarity with the Palestinian protesters who participated in the Great Return March protests,” said one of the activists, who asked to remain nameless. “We hung pictures in memory of those killed by the [Israeli] army solely because they marched here and to remember that they were demonstrating for freedom and justice for all the people in this land.”

“We went to the Israeli side of the border to send a message to the people in Gaza who have been fighting the occupation and the siege for a long time that their struggle is visible, that their sacrifice was not for nothing,” another activist said. “I personally hope that one day we can live together on this land, free from the occupation.”

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It took only a few minutes for a military jeep to arrive carrying soldiers, who demanded the the activists take down the pictures. The soldiers did not seem to grasp the nature of the protest. When one of the activists asked a soldier about the people in the pictures hung on the fence, he did not answer.

“These are the people you murdered over the past months,” the activist answered for the soldier as he departed – without taking down the photos, which remained attached to the fence.

Similar actions took place last week. Israeli activists hung pictures of the slain Palestinian demonstrators in front of the Knesset and on Rothschild Boulevard in the heart of Tel Aviv.

Oren Ziv is a photojournalist with the Activestills collective.

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