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Israeli snipers open fire on Gaza protests second week in a row

Israeli snipers kill at least seven Palestinians, wound over 300 others during the eighth day of the ‘Gaza Return March.’  Protesters attempt to block soldiers’ line of sight by burning tires.

By +972 Magazine Staff

Palestinian protesters burn tires at the Gaza-Israel border during the eighth day of the 'Great Return March,' Shuja'iyya, Gaza City, April 6, 2018. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Palestinian protesters burn tires at the Gaza-Israel border during the eighth day of the ‘Great Return March,’ Shuja’iyya, Gaza City, April 6, 2018. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Israeli snipers shot dead at least six Palestinian protesters, including a 14-year-old boy, and wounded at least 300 others near the Gaza border fence with Israel on Friday during the eight day of the “Great Return March.”

The killings came as thousands of Palestinian protesters amassed at the border with Gaza at noon, burning large amounts of tires in order to provide protection from Israeli snipers and tanks. Israeli security forces shot both live fire and tear gas at the protesters, while fire trucks sprayed water at the burning tires on the other side of the border in an attempt to put out the fires.

In response to the killings, the Israeli military claimed that there had been several attempts made to damage and cross the security fence “under the cover of the smokescreen created by the burning tires that the rioters ignited.”

The number of protesters was smaller than the precious Friday, with the demonstrators spread out across five different locations along the border. Solidarity protests are slated to take place in Jaffa and Sakhnin this weekend.

While the Israeli army has portrayed the march as a violent provocation organized by Hamas, the march’s organizers have stressed that the march is an apolitical, non-violent protest against the unbearable living conditions in Gaza and demanding the Palestinian right of return.

Smoke billows over the Gaza-Israel border as Palestinian protesters burn tires during the eighth day of the 'Great Return March,' Shuja'iyya, Gaza City, April 6, 2018. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Smoke billows over the Gaza-Israel border as Palestinian protesters burn tires during the eighth day of the ‘Great Return March,’ Shuja’iyya, Gaza City, April 6, 2018. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Friday’s demonstration comes a week after snipers gunned down 17 protesters on the border, and wounded hundreds of others. Despite international criticism and calls for an independent investigation into the killings, Israeli authorities have doubled down on the decision to use live fire against unarmed protesters — vowing to repeat the same tactics that led to so much bloodshed a week earlier. In a newspaper ad campaign published late this week, human rights group B’Tselem urged Israeli soldiers to refuse orders to open fire on protesters.

Inside Gaza, Palestinians built a tent encampment with different tents corresponding to the various villages and towns that were destroyed during the Nakba (in Arabic, the catastrophe), in 1948. During the 1948 war and its aftermath, more than 700,000 Palestinians were expelled or fled from their homes and Israel subsequently destroyed almost all of their homes and villages.

Palestinians sit in a tent encampment built to represent the various villages and towns that were destroyed during the Nakba in 1948.

Palestinians sit in a tent encampment built to represent the various villages and towns that were destroyed during the Nakba in 1948.

Some 70 percent of the Gazan population are refugees, meaning they or their grandparents fled or were expelled from towns, villages, and cities inside the territory that become Israel in 1948.

Speaking to +972 Magazine before the first day of protest last month, one of the ‘Great Return March’ organizers, Hasan al-Kurd, explained that the plan was to set up camps between between 700-1000 meters from Israel’s border fence, outside the Israeli army’s unilaterally imposed buffer zone. In the weeks leading up to Nakba Day, there will be marches and bicycle races and other events every week, aiming to draw more attendees along the way. By mid-May, they hope hundreds of thousands will join.

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“We want families. We want to live in peace — with the Israelis,” al-Kurd said. “We will make sure the protest doesn’t escalate to violence — at least from our end.”

Even before the march began, however, Israeli security forces launched a public campaign painting the ‘Great Return March’ as a violent, Hamas-sponsored event. The Israeli army’s chief of staff announced the deployment of 100 snipers and several infantry brigades to the area of the Gaza border fence. Israeli generals warned that there will be casualties, which turned out to be all too true.

On Land Day and Nakba Day in 2011, thousands of Palestinians from Lebanon, Syria, the West Bank and Gaza, and inside Israel marched on the country’s borders. On the Lebanese, Syrian, and Gaza borders, the army responded with gunfire, killing dozens and wounding hundreds.

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    1. Bruce Gould

      What do the protesters want? An end to Israel, or one state with equal rights for all?

      https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/apr/06/time-for-peaceful-resistance-says-gazas-new-movement

      “If you want my personal opinion, I don’t believe in liberation [of land in Israel]. I believe in ending the apartheid system in Israel like the end of the apartheid system in South Africa, and we live all in one democratic state,” Artema said in an interview in Gaza City. “I want to live with Israelis.”

      Reply to Comment
      • Ido

        So all the protesters chanting “death to the Jews” were just joking around ? the protesters with the coffin covered with the flag of Israel were just kidding ? The Palestinian President himself who said that a future Palestinian state will be Judenrein (Jew-free) was simply having a stroke at the time and he misspoke ?

        https://www.reuters.com/article/us-palestinians-israel-abbas/abbas-wants-not-a-single-israeli-in-future-palestinian-state-idUSBRE96T00920130730

        The leader of Hamas, the terrorist organization who calls for the elimination of Israel, saying they won’t relinquish a single inch of “Palestine” (all of Israel) last week was kidding ?

        a “one state solution” is out of the question. That’s fulfilling Arafat’s dream of ending Israel without firing a single bullet by turning it into a de-facto Arab state. I can’t stress enough how that is not going to happen. If I wanted to live in an Arab state, a pinnacle of democracy, human rights, freedom and secularism, I would move to such paradises as Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt or any other Arab state. Hell, go ask Arabs living in Israel if they prefer to live in Israel or any Arab state.

        A two state solution is the only option. However currently to the Palestinian leadership of both factions (who are also busy fighting each other, Hamas and Fatah), an existing Israel, the homeland of the Jewish people, is not part of the plan and they say so openly.

        And there is no Apartheid in Israel, you apparently have no idea what that word means:
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OMNE5XIL5ac#t=01m32s
        The Palestinians are citizens of the Palestinian Authority, not Israel.

        Reply to Comment
      • Ido

        @Bruce, so all the protesters chanting “death to the Jews” were just joking around ? the protesters with the coffin covered with the flag of Israel was just kidding ? The Palestinian President himself who said that a future Palestinian state will be Judenrein (Jew-Free) was simply having a stroke at the time and he misspoke ?

        https://www.reuters.com/article/us-palestinians-israel-abbas/abbas-wants-not-a-single-israeli-in-future-palestinian-state-idUSBRE96T00920130730

        The leader of Hamas, the terrorist organization who calls for the elimination of Israel, saying they won’t relinquish a single inch of “Palestine” (all of Israel) last week was kidding ?

        a “one state solution” is out of the question. That’s fulfilling Arafat’s dream of ending Israel without firing a single bullet by turning it into a de-facto Arab state. I can’t stress enough how that is not going to happen. If I wanted to live in an Arab state, a pinnacle of democracy, human rights, freedom and secularism, I would move to such paradises as Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt or any other Arab state. Hell, go ask Arabs living in Israel if they prefer to live in Israel or any Arab state.

        A two state solution is the only option however currently, to the Palestinian leadership of both factions (who are also busy fighting each-other, Hamas and Fatah), an existing Israel, the homeland of the Jewish people, is not part of the plan and they say so openly.

        Reply to Comment
    2. Bruce Gould

      @Ido Geller: How about reversing it? Israel spends billions on weapons, taking money away from social services in Israel (and the poor-rich divide in Israel is as bad as that in the U.S.) in order to imprison an entire population of 2 million people, rather than have peace negotiations, all because religious extremists believe the creator of the universe has given them exclusive rights to a parcel of land?

      One state, two states or apartheid?

      Reply to Comment
      • Ido

        @Bruce, answered in the Facebook comments section above in detail. Also you seem to be a bit confused who keeps rejecting peace offers and negotiations and Israel is the historic homeland of the Jewish people, the visionary of the state was secular and the immigrants who built Israel were at the beginning mostly eastern European atheists, the whole “creator of the universe has given them exclusive rights to a parcel of land” is nonsense especially since the actual religious Orthodox Jews refused to re-establish Israel because of religious reasons (coming of the Messiah or similar idiocy).

        Reply to Comment
    3. Ben

      Ido Geller, your assumptions are monstrous.

      “17 killed, over 1,400 demonstrators wounded” are facts.

      “15 out of the 19 who were shot to death have been confirmed as active terrorists” is not a fact but propaganda, a manufactured contention backed by dubious statistics underlaid by a murderous occupier assumption that non-violently protesting while Hamas = “engaging in terrorism” (and not just “terrorism” but “confirmed terrorism” no less) = deserves summary execution.

      Ido Geller, your assumptions are monstrous. Your techniques are disreputable. You’re exposing your real assumptions and your real aims and their real character.
      And to cut through all the obfuscations and cut to the chase, you’re purposefully getting a simple, fundamental, decisive thing wrong:

      These marches are fundamentally grassroots, were initially conceived and planned by people unconnected to Hamas, and the Hamas government in Gaza at first related to the organizers with suspicion, but is now trying to co-opt and exploit the marches for its own purposes. The Gaza protesters are not Hamas, many of those killed are not Hamas operatives and the vast majority of the over 1400 wounded — fourteen hundred in one day! — are not Hamas operatives.

      But even if they were, those protesters who belong to Hamas do not deserve summary execution. That you carry the implicit thoroughly racist assumption that so many of these protesters deserve summary execution from afar by military snipers says a great deal about the moral depth to which the Israeli populace has sunk.

      The over 1400 unarmed people shot in one day by military snipers are not dismissible as “Hamas operatives” and it is absurd to say they are or that that justifies attempted murder by uniformed IDF. One can almost hear you say “Well, we only killed 17, and we just wounded the 1400, what’s the big deal?” This is treating human beings like animals, and after the behavior of masses of Israelis this week with respect to both Palestinians and black African refugees, no one can with a straight face say that this does not reflect raw racism.

      Your assumptions are monstrous.

      Reply to Comment
      • Ido

        @Ben, so Hamas joined the Israeli propaganda when they admitted a third of the dead were their terrorists ?

        https://www.timesofisrael.com/hamas-says-5-members-among-16-said-killed-during-fridays-mass-border-protest/

        So the names and affiliation of the rest of them belonging to other terrorist organizations are made up and not something you can google very easily ?

        “assumption that non-violently protesting while Hamas = engaging in terrorism” – how can you be this delusional ? Israel killed those who fired live ammo, threw Molotov cocktails, tried to destroy the border to Israel, tried to infiltrate Israel armed with automatic weapons, used firebombs, etc.
        Feel free to go to the IDF twitter account to see the videos since sites like this one won’t show them. 19 out of 30,000 looks like a random massacre to you ?

        “do Geller, your assumptions are monstrous” – your delusional bias, state of denial and avoidance of facts not to your liking is ridiculous.

        “These marches are fundamentally grassroots, were initially conceived and planned by people unconnected to Hamas” – even Ha’aretz admits they are organized by Hamas and used by Hamas:
        https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-forget-rockets-hamas-found-a-more-effective-way-to-agitate-israel-1.5962825

        “The Gaza protesters are not Hamas” – and that’s why 99.93% of them were not killed.
        “many of those killed are not Hamas” – correct, some are Islamic Jihad, Saraya al-Quds, Katayef al-Maqawama al-Wataniya al-Filastina, al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, Shada al-Aqsa and Fatah.

        “fourteen hundred in one day!” – please specify the nature of their wounds. anti-riot gear perhaps ? inhaling smoke ? something which happens in every similar riot based demonstration ? have you not seen the videos ? “peaceful and non-violent” seem to have a different interpretation in Gaza.

        “But even if they were, those protesters who belong to Hamas do not deserve summary execution” – you’re right. They should be allowed to fire live ammo on Israeli soldiers, throw Molotov cocktails and infiltrate the border into Israel armed with automatic weapons. Makes sense.

        “so many of these protesters deserve summary execution” – apparently 0.06% is “so many”.

        “from afar by military snipers” – yes it’s not fair. There are not enough dead Israel for “balance”. They should allow them to break through the border and kill a few.

        “The over 1400 unarmed people shot in one day by military snipers are not dismissible as Hamas operatives” – you mentioned propaganda ? that’s a lie. You are assuming all the wounded were shot by snipers, that’s pure fantasy.

        “and it is absurd to say they are or that that justifies attempted murder by uniformed IDF” – no, some just tried to break through the border into Israel and were warned repeatedly not to by warning shots, I’ve seen the videos as I’m sure you did.

        “This is treating human beings like animals” – no, this is stopping violent protesters from crossing the border into Israel. The ones who treat them like animals are Hamas who uses them like cannon fodder. Not to mention that the entire situation in Gaza is Hamas’ fault with their conflict with PLO, their declaration of war on Israel, their openly stated goal regarding Israel’s elimination, etc.

        “black African refugees” – so you lie about this as well ? a fraction of them are actually refugees, almost all of them are illegal economic migrants who paid a lot of money to be smuggled through more than 1 country to Israel.

        “no one can with a straight face say that this does not reflect raw racism.” – 20% of the citizens of Israel are Arab Muslims. How many Jews live in the Palestinian Authority ? in Gaza ? 0%. You mentioned racism ?

        “Your assumptions are monstrous.” – you’re a delusional biased “useful idiot” who repeatedly refuse to answer or address facts not to your liking. You lie repeatedly as I proved in detail over many articles, think this conflict is a one sided deal and refuse to look at the Palestinians’ openly stated goals and actions as if they don’t exist.

        Reply to Comment
      • Ido

        @Ben, gave you a detailed answer in the Facebook comments above.

        Reply to Comment
        • Ben

          You’re incorrigible, frankly.

          Your basic technique has been to say untrue things and then indefatigably accuse others of lying, being delusional or drug-addled when they won’t accept the untrue things. Are you paid? By the word? One wonders.
          Another basic technique you’re partial to: To pretend that what Israel accuses others of so self-righteously it is not equally guilty of but also as the side with all the power. More on that later.

          One only has to point to a particularly brazen lie, a brazen piece of government propaganda, not shrouded by the fog of emerging events, to see this exposed quite clearly, and see exposed the racism of the Israeli populace to which it peculiarly feels quite entitled:

          GELLER: “black African refugees” – so you lie about this as well ? a fraction of them are actually refugees, almost all of them are illegal economic migrants who paid a lot of money to be smuggled through more than 1 country to Israel.”

          Ido Geller, this is risible. It shows how easily, how eagerly you trade in propaganda, traffic in base lies. How far you are from admitting to or even recognizing the core racism that drives you and so many others. How really brainwashed you and so many like you are. (Because I’m not picking on you—you are simply a common example of a much wider phenomenon.) The right wing Israeli populace, which you exemplify, is nothing if not cult-like. (I know, I know, you think of yourself as a “centrist” or whatever on the Israeli Leftist-Rightist scale but we norm these things to a more objective outside standard.)

          Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            It becomes necessary to remind you that we are not idiots. Nor are we clueless. We are not aging aipac aunts and uncles from Philadelphia on whom one easily foists propaganda.

            Another risible item, from the core propaganda stocks of the brutal occupier: the egregious “Judenrein” slander. You have got to be kidding us. You drag this site down to dumbed-down JPost talkback levels and we aren’t going there.

            These are layers of caked-on propaganda so stale and encrusted with lies and quite sneaky distortions as to be ridiculous. We are in want of a serious interlocutor.

            And the risible deception that the 20% of Israelis being Arab came about because Israeli Jews are non-racist acceptors and sharers. Black is white, up is down, east is west, the occupier is the victim, on and on. Not serious stuff.

            This stands exposed. I think you and the execrable Bella Gold deserve each other. And let’s face it, you’re both representative of masses of Israelis.

            So the take home message: +972 Magazine is on the right track with rare on-the-ground reporting and analysis by Israelis, bringing the real truth out to English speakers in the larger world. Israelis can’t and won’t change anything by themselves.

            It is useful to illustrate how entrenched, how encased Israelis are in this seamless cult-like set of talking points, but, I’m not going to get into some long drawn out back and forth with you on this. The overarching purpose of Internet trolls is to drag everyone into false controversies and down unproductive rabbit warrens and inside thickets so that the real issues, those well delineated by +972 Magazine on this page and elsewhere, get buried. No thanks. We are not keen to be turning this into that kind of playground.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            But before I go, I feel it necessary to clarify one more thing. I’m going to call bullshit on another incessant technique of yours.

            GELLER: “…almost all the people killed are confirmed terrorists…almost all the dead Palestinians belong to terrorist organizations…”

            I know this will scandalize you and shock you from the hair on your head to the tips of your toes, Ido Geller, but it is not false or unreasonable to say that the IDF is a terrorist organization. For too long now right wing Israelis have dressed the other side up as “terrorists” and themselves up as “not terrorists.” It is time to stop playing this game of dress up. For too long in arguments people like you tell us that every brutal dispossession and land theft and detention without due process is not its own form of terror.

            Do you mean to tell us that those IDF snipers shooting civilians from three hundred meters and behind a fence are not terrorists? You mean they are not real?
            You mean those settlers beating up 64-year-old shepherds are not terrorists? You mean those settlers are not real? We dreamed them up?
            You mean those army troops dragging innocent people out of bed at 3AM in sleeping villages for practice, because they can, are not terrorists? We dreamed of them? For fifty years?
            You mean those IDF standing idly by while settlers burn or chop up olive groves are not terrorists? The tree destroyers are not terrorists? We imagined them? For fifty years?
            You mean the army and Shin Bet goons who torture false confessions out of prisoners in Israeli prisons, prisoners held incognito and without due process, are not terrorists? Really? This does not happen?
            You mean that the Israeli agents who drag children from their parents and hold them without access to their parents are not terrorists?
            You mean the people who extracted a “confession” of falling off a bicycle from Ahed Tamimi’s 15-year-old cousin, a boy with half his skull missing due to an IDF bullet to the head, are not terrorists? We imagined this?
            You mean the Members of Knesset and the Ministers who say, in order to frighten ordinary people away from protesting, that “they, all 50,000 protesting, are ‘targets,’” that they who say this are not terrorists? If they are Likud members you want to insist that the Likud is not then a terrorist organization? For real?
            You mean to tell us that the right wing Israelis, including highly placed government officials, who threaten Palestinians with mass transfer and a second Nakba are not terrorists?
            Do you mean to tell us that the arbitrary locking up with denial of a public trial and the forced plea deal exacted on Ahed Tamimi and thousands of others, while Israeli Jews are never similarly treated, is not a form of terror? We imagined Ahed Tamimi and a thousand others?
            You mean to tell us that the systematic destruction of Palestinian society by undercover operations, including as just one example, coldly terrorizing gay Palestinians with exposure and shaming (all the while pink-washing with gusto on the other side of the coin) is not a form of terror?
            Do you mean to tell us that the use of mista’arvim to goad non-violent protestors in to violence, to convert peaceful protests into violent ones, is not terrorism? We imagined all this?
            I could of course, go on, with a thousand other examples.

            I submit that you’re quite full of it, Mr. Geller. For too long you’ve traded too easily in this false currency of “they’re all ‘terrorists’ and we are not.” Nothing doing.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            Israel Is the Terrorist
            Ilana Hammerman Apr 05, 2018

            “About a week ago, on the highway between Hermesh and Mevo Dotan, two soldiers were killed and two were injured by a car that was driven by a resident of Barta’a. There are not many Israelis who know where these settlements are located and in what kind of reality they exist. But the vast majority probably have no doubt who was the terrorist here, and who, the innocent victim…. The problem is that terror has long since become the reality, and the entity that has allowed and is allowing this to happen is the State of Israel. Look at the map and find Barta’a, and maybe you’d even be interested in going there and seeing and hearing how its residents live and what their surroundings are like. I happened to do so a few days before the car-ramming incident, and it was completely clear to me – and not for the first time – that this reality is a product of the ongoing policy of terror pursued by generations of Israeli governments, and that it is this policy that gives rise to the acts of resistance against it. What’s amazing is only that there aren’t more such acts, because it’s really and truly an intolerable situation….”
            https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-israel-is-the-terrorist-1.5976966

            Reply to Comment
    4. Katamon

      The protestors want to destroy Israel. Israelis have the right to have their own country and will defend that right with any means necessary. Hence there can be no middle ground.

      The protesters are committing suicide by Israeli bullet when they march on the Israeli border with their slogans of “kill the Jews” while having the swastika fly alongside the Palestinian flags. If they want to die, so be it.

      Reply to Comment
      • john

        palestinians are attempting to gain the right after 70 years that jews claim after 2000. equality of return will not be the end of israel, only ethnic exclusivity.

        Reply to Comment
    5. Bruce Gould

      Again, let’s return to the issue of what the Palestinians want: this is an interview with Avraham Burg, who served in the Knesset for over a decade.

      https://whowhatwhy.org/2018/03/16/former-knesset-speaker-the-israel-of-1948-is-over/

      “I hear more and more in Ramallah, and in Nablus, and in Hebron and I go there very often, people say, “Listen it’s not about territorial rights, we want to vote, one person one vote. You are the only democracy in the Middle East, we want to vote.” I hear it from the Palestinian side.”

      Reply to Comment
      • Ido

        Bruce, so you intentionally ignore what the Palestinian leadership openly said a couple of days ago when the demonstrations started ? the Palestinian prime Minister claiming that a future “Palestine” will be Jew-Free ? what the openly stated goals of Hamas and Fatah are ?

        a “one state solution” is out of the question. That’s fulfilling Arafat’s dream of ending Israel without firing a single bullet by turning it into a de facto Arab state. I can’t stress enough how that is not going to happen. If I wanted to live in an Arab state, a pinnacle of democracy, human rights, freedom and secularism, I would move to such paradises as Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt or any other Arab state. Hell, go ask Arabs living in Israel if they prefer to live in Israel or any Arab state.

        A two state solution is the only option however currently, to the Palestinian leadership of both factions (who are also busy fighting each-other, Hamas and Fatah), an existing Israel, the homeland of the Jewish people, is not part of the plan and they say so openly.

        Reply to Comment
      • Ido

        Bruce, forgot to mention, the Palestinians vote in elections of the Palestinian Authority but, as we see all over the Arab world, the elections are effectively canceled or a sham because the current dictator refuses to hold elections because he fears they will replace him. The Palestinian President refuses to hold elections since 2009. That’s “Arab democracy”. I’m not even going to start with Hamas and their Islamic theocracy, they canceled the elections back in 2014 and remain in power because they make anyone who stand in their way disappear, very not democratically so.

        And naturally it’s all Israel’s fault, right ?

        Reply to Comment

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