The Great March of Return
Since the 30th March, thousands of Palestinians have been congregating in Gaza each week to take part in a series of protests called “The Great Return March”. The Israeli government have reacted to unarmed demonstrators with violence, issuing orders for live ammunition to be used. As of the 15th April, 35 Palestinians have been killed and 2,800 injured. Organised as a peaceful demonstration, and supported across Palestinian society, the weekly protests are to:
– Reaffirm the right of return
International law declares Palestinian refugees have the right to return to the
homes from which they were forcibly expelled in 1948 and in 1967. 70% of
Gazas population are recognised by the UN as refugees.
– Bring an end to the decade long Israeli imposed siege of Gaza (PSC Gaza Factsheet)
Ten years of illegal blockade have isolated Gaza from the world and triggered
major socio-economic and health crises. 80% of the population are
dependent on humanitarian aid to survive, and 42% of essential medicines are
currently at zero stock. The UN warns Gaza will be uninhabitable by 2020
unless urgent action is taken. As it stands, 97% of the water is not safe for
consumption and there are electrical blackouts for around 16 hours each day.
Israel responds with violence
Israel deployed hundreds of snipers along the border of Gaza, who continue to open fire using live ammunition on unarmed Palestinian civilians. As of the 15th April – 35 Palestinians have been killed, 1,297 shot, and a further 1,554 suffering from other injuries.
The Israeli government have ignored calls for an independent investigation and have indicated they will continue to order the use of lethal force against demonstrators.
With “The Great Return March” continuing up until May 15th (to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the 1948 “Nakba”), the only thing that can prevent more Palestinians being gunned down is the force and weight of international public opinion. We need you to take action!
“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. The result was foreseeable deaths and injuries of demonstrators on the other side of a border who posed no imminent threat to life.”
– Eric Goldstein, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch