Thursday,20 June, 2019
Current issue | Issue 1388, (5 - 11 April 2018)
Thursday,20 June, 2019
Issue 1388, (5 - 11 April 2018)

Ahram Weekly

War crimes medal

The brutal massacre committed on Friday by Israeli occupation troops against peaceful Palestinian protesters who demonstrated near the border fence isolating and suffocating the Gaza Strip was a very painful reminder to the rest of the world of the endless suffering of the Palestinian people and the ugly and bloody occupation they’ve been trapped in over the past 70 years.

Israeli soldiers killed at least 17 Palestinians in cold blood while lying about ridiculous threats which peaceful protesters posed to heavily armed troops, ready with tanks, advanced warplanes and all other sorts of weapons which have been used over decades to kill Palestinians. Moreover, more than 800 Palestinians were wounded with live ammunition, and 20 remain in critical condition, meaning that the number of innocent victims who lost their lives is likely to increase.

At the same time, with all the technology, lies and fabrication used by Israel, there was not a single shred of evidence that a sole Palestinian managed to cross the fence which Israel claimed it was protecting.

What the world saw, unfortunately while watching indifferently, was a young, 19-year-old man who was shot in the back by trigger-happy Israeli soldiers while attempting to run far away from the fence; a woman who was shot dead in the head as she came close to the fence while waving a Palestinian flag; and a man who was hit with a bullet after ending his prayers near the high-tech barrier.

But these horrible scenes, and the worst massacre committed by Israel against peaceful Palestinian protesters since the war it launched against Gaza in 2014, were not convincing enough for the US administration to allow the release of a simple statement by the UN Security Council calling for an independent and effective investigation into the criminal use of live ammunition by Israeli occupation troops against peaceful, unarmed protesters. Such an investigation was demanded by nearly all other 14 members of the Security Council, and the UN secretary-general.

Instead, US officials backed the official Israeli lies, and blamed Palestinians for their own loss of life.

For US President Donald Trump, whose administration is packed with right-wing, pro-Zionist extremists who are responsible for his recent, disastrous decision to recognise occupied Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the only option for Palestinians is to accept living under Israel’s occupation, and to forget all about their legitimate demand to live as free people on their own land.

With a unilateral decision taken in Washington, D.C., Trump believes that he managed to “take Jerusalem off the table”, the same manner in which he is likely to present his so-called “deal of the century” to the Palestinians, shattering their hopes for a free and independent Palestinian state on all the territory Israel has been illegally occupying since 1967.

But that’s Trump’s way. The Palestinian people chose another way: that of resistance and insisting on their rights. They indeed recognise that the entire world is now preoccupied with many volatile conflicts in Syria, Libya, Iraq, Yemen and many other countries that face the serious threat of terrorism. Therefore, they have no option but peaceful resistance to remind the world of their ongoing plight.

The peaceful demonstrations on Friday 30 March were known as the “Great March of Return,” and were meant to coincide with Land Day, when Israeli troops also killed dozens of Palestinians who resisted in the confiscation of their land in northern Palestine in 1976. Palestinians wanted to remind the world that there are nearly two million Palestinians who have been living in Gaza in inhumane conditions, under tight siege since 2006, banned from getting basic goods or practising their basic right to move freely outside the densely populate Strip. They also insisted that they will never give up their legitimate “right of return” to their own land which they were forced to leave following the creation of the state of Israel in 1948.

As these peaceful protests are expected to last until 15 May, when Palestinians commemorate the nakba, or catastrophe, when the Israeli state was declared, Arab countries, the European Union, the United Nations and human rights groups must insist on the need to provide protection for the Palestinian people.

Israeli occupation troops must not be allowed to happily and freely kill Palestinians as if they were in a shooting gallery. International observers must be placed along the border between occupied Palestinian territories and Israel to provide protection for peaceful demonstrators, and to see for themselves how Israel fabricates lies to justify its crimes.

Israel’s Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman praised his troops for Friday’s onslaught, claiming they deserve “a medal” because they “did what had to be done”.

There are no medals in the world named “bloody war crimes” except in Israel.

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