Mar 29 2019
Why the Great Return March protests?
What’s happening now in Gaza connects directly to the 2014 Israeli assault, in the sense of that on May 14th in the last year when Israel massacred more than 60 Palestinians and injured more than a thousand others. All of the hospitals in the Gaza Strip said that May 14th, 2018 was worse than any single day in the 2014 war when Israel was bombing with F-16s warplanes and missiles. That’s the scale of what’s happening in Gaza now.
Why are Palestinians going to the border?
The Palestinians people are going to protest near the Israeli separation fence because they are under a medieval siege, where Israel’s
deal is offering Palestinians to die quietly or we’ll shoot you.
In 2017, at least 54 Palestinians died in Gaza waiting for permits to be allowed out of this ghetto by Israel for medical treatment; they couldn’t get out of Gaza, most of them were cancer patients and they died. The number of medical permits Israel issued hit the lowest level since statistics were recorded, so that’s the deal, you die quietly, or if you protest we will shoot you dead.
The Palestinians have decided that they don’t want to die a slow death. They chose to protest near the Israeli separation fence to demandtheir legitimate rights which were stolen from them by the Israeli occupation forces.
On May 30, 2018, the commemoration of Land Day, which marks the events of March 30, 1976, when Israeli police shot and killed six Palestinian citizens of Israel as they protested against the Israeli government's expropriation of land, the High National Commission for Return and Breaking the Siege in Gaza called for Gazans to gather to call for the right of return to their lands occupied by Israeli occupation gangs in the 1948 war and to put pressure on the Israeli authorities to break the immoral siege imposed by them for more than 12 years.
Large Palestinian crowds gathered alongside the eastern frontier of the Gaza Strip to take part in the weekly march to break the ongoing Israeli siege every Friday.
Since the beginning of the Great March of Return protests, Israel killed more than 260 unarmed Palestinian civilians among them journalists, medics, civilians, and children, and injured more than 28,000 others with different injuries.
Israel justified its crimes to the International community that it maintains the right to defend itself as the most of the victims were members of Hamas movement. Thus, Israeli authorities gave the green light to its military troops to kill and target civilians who posed no imminent danger to them.
Israel’s claiming: we killed Hamas “terrorists”
In addition to claim that it defends itself, the only justification that Israel uses for killing the Palestinians people who took part in the Great March of Return protest was that they were members of Hamas movement.
Israeli repeatedly propagated that Hamas is about erasing Palestinian people’s agency. It’s about saying Palestinians are not autonomous, they can’t organize, they don’t have the same concerns, desires and yearnings as other people.
Suppose that is true, what does Israel want to convey ?
Israel tells us that Hamas’s political strategies are changing.
Israel tells us that Hamas embraced mass civilian protest.
Why would that be a bad thing?
About a year ago in May, Hamas issued a new charter where they talked about their political transformation, which was an enunciation of its political positions they had held for a number of years, and they put it in one document.
Hamas refuses very clearly any notion that the conflict between Palestinians and Israelis is religious. They say; we are not against the Jewish religion or Jewish people; we just fight the Zionists, and we fight Israel because they’re colonizing and occupying us, so it shows clearly that Hamas adopts the anti-colonial nature of the Palestinian struggle.
Hamas says that we believe resistance is a right for any occupied people, but it’s up to Palestinians to decide how to exercise that resistance and they may choose different means, even while not renouncing the right of resistance.
This clearly shows , that Hamas takes exactly the position of Nelson Mandela which is that they may or may not choose armed resistance, but that they do have the right to choose any legitimate means of struggle. So if Hamas embraces different strategies, why would that be a bad thing?
Meanwhile, many liberals such as Thomas Friedman called upon Palestinians to embrace the tactics of Gandhi, which introduced to the world the concepts of ahimsa (nonviolence) and satyagraha (peaceful civil disobedience).
So, why wouldn’t the world welcome Hamas if it was the one who called for the peaceful Great March of return protests?!
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The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Days of Palestine’s editorial policy.
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