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Live Blog: Israeli troops open fire on Gaza Return March

Ahead of Nakba Day, marking 70 years since the creation of the Palestinian refugee problem, tens of thousands in Gaza were expected to march on the border, culminating 45 days of protests demanding the right of refugees to return, an end to Israel’s siege. Protests were also taking place in the West Bank and Jerusalem, where the United States is opening its new embassy.

[This post will be updated as events unfold. All times are local.]

9:30 p.m.

The Ministry of Health in Gaza says that that the number of Palestinians killed by Israel on the Gaza border has risen to 55.

7:10 p.m.

The Ministry of Health in Gaza says that that the number of Palestinians killed by Israel on the Gaza border has risen to 52.

5:30 p.m.

Gaza’s Ministry of Health is reporting that the number of Palestinians killed today by Israeli forces in Gaza has risen to 43.

4:40 p.m.

Israeli soldiers have killed 41 Palestinians and wounded 1,960, according to the Ministry of Health in Gaza.

3:57 p.m.

38 Palestinian protesters shot and killed by Israeli snipers, according to the Ministry of Health in Gaza. 1,703 Palestinians have been wounded.

3:28 p.m.

Israeli snipers have killed 37 Palestinian protesters inside the Gaza Strip so far on Monday and hundreds more were wounded, either from gunshot wounds or other injuries, according to the Ministry of Health in Gaza.

Israeli human rights organizations filed a legal challenge against the Israeli army policy of shooting unarmed protesters on April 15. The High Court of Justice has yet to return a decision on whether it is legal to shoot unarmed civilian protesters. Dozens of people have been killed and thousands wounded in that time.

2:54 p.m.

The death toll of Palestinian protesters killed by Israeli snipers inside the Gaza Strip on Monday has risen to 25, according to the Gaza Heath Ministry. That brings the total number of Palestinian protesters killed by Israeli soldiers since March 30 to 74 people. Around 500 people have been wounded by live ammunition so far on Monday.

Medics evacuate a Palestinian protester who was shot by Israeli snipers during protests inside the Gaza Strip, May 14, 2018. (Mohammed Zaanoun/Activestills.org)

Medics evacuate a Palestinian protester who was shot by Israeli snipers during protests inside the Gaza Strip, May 14, 2018. (Mohammed Zaanoun/Activestills.org)

 

A Palestinian man holds stones as he walks by burning tires at a protest inside the Gaza Strip, May 14, 2018. (Mohammed Zaanoun/Activestills.org)

A Palestinian man holds stones as he walks by burning tires at a protest inside the Gaza Strip, May 14, 2018. (Mohammed Zaanoun/Activestills.org)

 

Israeli security forces attempt to suppress the Nakba Day protest at the Qalandiya checkpoint separating Ramallah from Jerusalem, May 14, 2018. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Israeli security forces attempt to suppress the Nakba Day protest at the Qalandiya checkpoint separating Ramallah from Jerusalem, May 14, 2018. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

2:15 p.m.

Israeli army snipers have killed at least 16 protesters inside the Gaza Strip so far on Monday, according to the Health Ministry in Gaza. According to the Israeli army, there are 35,000 protesters at 12 different locations inside the Strip. Protests were also taking place at numerous locations in the West Bank, including at the Qalandiya checkpoint separating Ramallah and Jerusalem, where dozens have been reported wounded so far.

***

Tens of thousands of Palestinians were expected to protest in Gaza, the West Bank, and Jerusalem on Monday, ahead of the 70th Nakba Day, the culmination of the Great Return March, and the opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem. Nakba Day marks when 700,000 Palestinians were expelled or fled their homes during the 1948 war and its aftermath, and Israel’s refusal to allow their return, creating the Palestinian refugee problem.

The Great Return March demonstrations began on March 30 and have continued for over seven consecutive weeks. Demonstrators are demanding an end to the siege of Gaza and the right to return to their towns, cities, and villages located in what is now Israel. Some 70 percent of Gaza’s population are refugees, meaning they, their parents, or their grandparents fled or were among those expelled during the war 70 years ago.

The Return March has consisted not only of the weekly Friday protests but also of a tent encampment near the Israeli border fence — a colorful staging ground where Palestinians of all ages and entirely families have gathered for a range of activities.

The Return March organizers have also stressed that the protests are nonviolent. “We want families. We want to live in peace — with the Israelis,” one of the organizers told +972 prior to the 45-day protest’s start. “We will make sure the protest doesn’t escalate to violence — at least from our end.”

Israel, however, has deployed hundreds of snipers along the Gaza border with orders to use live ammunition even against individuals who do not immediately pose a danger to human life.

Prior to Monday, Israeli snipers had killed 49 Palestinians and wounded nearly 10,000 Palestinian protesters since the protests began. Among the wounded and killed were at least half a dozen journalists, including Yaser Murtaja and Ahmed Abu Hussein — both of whom were wearing jackets clearly marked “PRESS” when they were shot. There have been zero Israeli casualties.

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    COMMENTS

    1. brightdark

      Military affairs reporter Alon Ben David reported on the radio that Hamas is begging the Israeli government for a cease fire.

      Reply to Comment
    2. Richard Lightbown

      Only the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has dared to say boo to Israel so far. BBC quotes him as condemning the “shocking killing of dozens, injury of hundreds by Israeli live fire”. Everything else I have seen from European governments has just been platitudes.

      Palestinians are on their own (weren’t they always?). Perhaps when the death toll gets to 1000 European liberals might whimper a few criticisms. In my entire life (68 years) I can never remember a similar non-reaction to the cold-blooded murder of civilians, including men, women and children in an act of calculated, premeditated, state terrorism. Donald Trump, who made such a fuss about innocent children gassed in Syria (by rebels remember) and was ready to go to war with Russia over it, seems totally oblivious to Palestinian blood and would probably be more concerned if he trod on a cockroach.

      One other honourable reaction, from the British Shadow Foreign Minister Emily Thornberry: https://labour.org.uk/press/emily-thornberry-responds-killing-palestinians-gaza-today/
      Presumably Jonathan Arkush and the Board of Deputies of British Jews are preparing their sanctimonious reply of outrage at this very moment, citing at least 23 examples of antisemitism in her speech using the IHRA definition, while condemning her vicious blood libel. How dare she “urge the Israeli forces serving on the Gaza border to show some long-overdue responsibility to their fellow human beings, and stop this vicious and utterly avoidable slaughter of peaceful protesters demanding the right to return to their homes.”

      Reply to Comment
    3. Ben

      ‏Ben Ehrenreich tweeted:

      If the Israeli government really just wanted to keep people away from the fence, they have had six weeks to figure out how to do so without slaughtering unarmed Palestinians. They chose not to. Week after week. This is a well-planned massacre.

      Reply to Comment
    4. Itshak Gordin Halevy

      Their goal is to enter Israel and provoke massacres. Any country has the right to defend its borders. So it would be smart not to approach the Israeli border

      Reply to Comment
      • Ben

        Nope. As Omar H. Rahman tweeted, “Israel’s use of violence can best be understood as a form of containment against Palestinian demands for an end to a military occupation now in its 51st year. What form those demands take no longer matters because Israel must preserve the status quo at all costs.”

        Israel will stop at nothing to maintain ‘the status quo’ and its ongoing land grab. Israel will meet all peaceful and non-violent protest with violence too. It does this over and over in the West Bank. As Noam Sheizaf said more than two years ago, and as history since then has only confirmed, if I were Palestinian I might come to a disturbing conclusion:

        By Noam Sheizaf |Published March 11, 2016
        Why do we only listen to violence?
        https://972mag.com/why-do-we-only-listen-to-violence/117773/

        Reply to Comment
    5. Peter

      News agency’s vclsiming 8 month old killed in clashes.wtf does a mother bring a young child to that area?????

      Reply to Comment
      • Ben

        But shooting the unarmed mother by herself at the protest would be A-OK and not a war crime?

        Reply to Comment