In the worst single day of violence since the assault on Gaza in 2014, Israeli forces shoot 773 unarmed Palestinians taking part in a Land Day demonstration.
Thousands of Palestinians congregated in Gaza to start a series of protests called “The Great Return March”. Organised as a non-violent demonstration supported across Palestinian society, the protest is reaffirming the Palestinianright of return (grounded in International Law), and calling for an end to Israel'sillegal decade long blockadeof the coastal strip.
Last week Israel deployed hundreds of snipers along the border of Gaza, who opened fire using live ammunition on unarmed Palestinian civilians. Over 1,400 Palestinians were injured, with 773 being shot, leaving 18 fatalities. There was not a single Israeli casualty.
“Israeli soldiers were not merely using excessive force, but were apparently acting on orders that all but ensured a bloody military response to the Palestinian demonstrations.” - Human Rights Watch.
Videos emergingof the shootings show Protestors being shot whilst running away from the border, and in the act of praying. But most devastating perhaps are the images of young men, and women, walking calmly towards the border, waving the national flag, before being felled by sniper fire.
The Great Return March will continue until May 15th (coinciding with the 70thanniversary of the 1948 “Nakba”), with more largescale demonstrations planned. The Israeli government, protected frominternational censureby the shield of western governments, has announced that it will continue to meet demonstrations with live fire.
The only thing that can prevent more Palestinians being gunned down in the coming weeks is the force and weight of international public opinion. Have your voice heard bywriting to the Foreign Office, and by joining the Saturday demonstration in London.
The organisers of the Great Return March asked that the only flag to be raised during the march is the Palestinian flag with no partisan or factional symbols.We are asking all those attending the demonstration on Saturday to respect this and bring no flag other than the flag of Palestine.