Palestinians resist

IssueOctober - November 2018
News by David Polden

The Great March of Return demonstrations at the Gaza-Israel border fence have not only continued every Friday since March, they are escalating. Protests now happen on other days of the week as well, after ceasefire talks between the Hamas government in Gaza and the Israeli government broke down.

During these demos, Israeli forces have killed over 130 unarmed Palestinians, including 29 children and three medics. Around 20,000 Gazans have been injured, nearly 5,000 by live ammunition. One Israeli soldier has died along the border during this period, shot by a Palestinian sniper.

On 18 September, Israeli forces killed six Palestinians in 24 hours, including in an Israeli airstrike at the border fence of the Gaza Strip in which two men were killed: Naji Jamil Abu Assi, 18, and Alaa Ziyad Abu Assi, 21.

The previous Friday, 14 September, according to the Electronic Intifada, Israeli forces killed at least two Palestinians. Hani Ramzi Afaneh, 21, and Muhammad Shaqoura, 20, were shot dead during protests held under the slogan of ‘Resistance is Our Choice’ along Gaza’s eastern boundary.

Village protectors

Palestinian and Bedouin activists have been camping at the West Bank village of Khan al-Ahmar to try to stop its demolition. On 19 September, a six-person group of European parliamentarians visited the village, warning that its demolition could be considered a war crime. The European Parliament had expressed that view six days earlier.

On 5 September, after a nine-year court battle, Israel’s supreme court rejected an appeal against the village’s destruction and the removal of its 173 residents to live next to a sewage works. The Israeli government plans to build an all-Jewish settlement in its place, linking massive settlements on either side, cutting the West Bank in half, and making a two-state solution extremely difficult.

Meanwhile, in early August, there were reports that Israel and the Hamas authorities in Gaza were negotiating a multi-stage process for lifting the illegal siege of Gaza and humanitarian works. According to the Lebanese paper Al-Akhbar, the first step would be an end to the launching of incendiary kites and balloons from Gaza, leading to the opening of the Kerem Shalom and Rafah crossings.

Negotiations broke down (Hamas blamed its rivals in the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank), and the result is escalating protests.