Julie Webb-Pullman reports

Author Archive

The Ripples

Although a few days have passed, the ripples of the weekend are still roughing the surface of our lives, the effects still sifting down into the depths.

You can hear it in the manic laughter of the children as they set off their Ramadan fireworks each evening, feel it in the fright that follows every bang and burst of sparks.

You can almost touch the tension in the public cars on the way to work, the endless overheard conversations about when it will resume – not if.

You can see it in the wearied faces of the hospital workers, whose bloodied weekend still stares from their eyes while they carry on keeping on, and on, and on…

You can smell it in the way everything is heightened; the sharpness of the onions cooking for the Ramadan falafel filling, the must of the natural gas that is propelling the car, the fragrant oil on the man returning from the Mosque, the strawberries fresh from the fields of Beit Lahia, the stench of the garbage.

You can taste it in every mouthful at Iftar; the sweet relief of that first date, the soothing of those first sips of water, the comfort of the bread dipped in hummous, the tang of the rocket leaves, the crunch of the sambousek, the qatayef finale.

It does not consume us – we consume it.


In Gaza we live

by Julie Webb-Pullman

Yesterday I went shopping. Like billions of people throughout the world, I went to the market to buy fruit and vegetables. Like a fraction of a percent of them, I did so beneath falling bombs.

Because I was shopping in Gaza.

Gaza, where we eat our bread with blood. Gaza, where the babies are bathed with tears. Gaza, where we LIVE.

We live despite media misinformation that paints Israel as the victim – a media that harms us every bit as much as every Israeli missile.

We live in the face of the lie of Israeli self-defense, of Israeli “response to rocket fire” – which ignores the root cause planted, watered and fertilized by Israeli snipers last Friday, when they shot dead Palestinian teenager Raed Khalil Abu Tair, on crutches and hundreds of meters away from the fence.

THAT was the seed from which this situation grew. And it is a seed that feeds our defiance, resistance, and our very will to live in Gaza.

I refuse to be cowed by Israeli bombs. I refuse to shiver and shake from fear in an inside room. I defy Israeli brutality, I refuse to let it define my life.

Instead, I LIVE.

I went shopping to Saha market, and between the blasts I bought a pair of sandals, and a sunhat each for my friend’s daughters. Yes, I jumped with each bomb – then continued with what I was doing – getting on with LIFE.

I bought fruit and vegetables – eggplant, capsicum, potatoes, tomatoes, onions – ordinary, and life-giving. Oranges and kiwifruit – vitamin-packed jewels to add a sparkle no drone can dim.

I went next to the Curiosity Shop to see if he had a traditional Ramadan lamp – he didn’t.

I jumped in a car and went to Jundy; a missile struck behind us, the people in the car craned to see, people in the street all hurried towards it. I got out of the car and went into a dress shop, looking for something light to wear inside for summer.

More bombs fell.

I went to the supermarket, bought dates, water, tomato paste. I got home, put on a load of laundry because there was electricity, and unpacked the shopping.

I began preparing the vegetables for dinner.

There was a massive explosion; I went to the balcony, and saw palls of smoke rising from behind the supermarket – and realized I had forgotten to get coffee.

I will have to go and get some tomorrow.


Israelis do NOT have any right to self defence from an occupied people

Gaza

It may seem such a basic tenet of international law that it does not need repeating, but clearly the Israelis are slow learners.

So here we go again with yet another lesson in fundamental international law:

First, Gaza is OCCUPIED. The very fact that the Israeli occupation authorities control the land and sea borders and the airspace, and are in a position to determine who can enter the occupied territory, fatally undermines their position that there is no occupation.

Further, both the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court have upheld Gaza’s status as an occupied territory.

Second, a state cannot simultaneously exercise control over territory it occupies, and militarily attack that territory on the claim that it is ‘foreign’ and poses a national security threat. To do so, the Israeli occupation authorities are effectively asserting rights of colonial domination that simply do not exist under international law.

However, military or belligerent occupation IS a status recognised by international law – and has accompanying obligations.

An occupying power is responsible for the welfare of the population under its control. The Fourth Geneva Convention imposes obligations on an occupying power in relation to the inhabitants of the occupied territory, who are entitled to special protection and humane treatment. Among other things, the rules prohibit the occupying power from “wilfully killing” or “ill-treating” protected persons.

War Crimes are defined as:

a) Grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949…
b) Other serious violations of the laws and customs applicable in international armed conflict, within the established framework of international law….

The actions of the Israeli occupation authorities in conducting military offensive actions against the protected persons of the occupied territory of Gaza therefore are not, and cannot possibly be construed as, self-defence.

But they certainly meet the criteria for grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions, thus constitute WAR CRIMES.

So please, Israeli apologists – enough of the ‘self-defence’ excuses – they just do not hold any legal water.


Gaza MOH appalled by Israeli border massacre

PRESS RELEASE

Palestinian Ministry of Health – Gaza

Gaza

Four Palestinians have been killed and over two hundred injured by Israeli military attacks inside Gaza today in an attack on civilians that has rocked the Strip.

Condemning the attacks on protesters of the Great March of Return as war crimes, the Deputy Minister of Health Dr.Yousef Abu Alrish is calling for an immediate international response.

“These blatant war crimes must stop. Our hospitals are already reeling under the strain of trying to treat thousands of innocent victims of the last four months with few resources,” he said.

“The international community must act now to prevent a complete bloodbath, and collapse of the health sector.”

The four dead have been identified as Mahmoud Khalil Qishta, 23 years; Mohammed Riyad Farhana, 31 years; Sha’aban Rajab Abu Khater 26 years; and  Mohammed Sharif Badwan, 24.

The closure of the crossings this week and resulting reduction in medicines and supplies has left Gaza’s already-struggling hospitals in a critical situation, he said.


“Systematic Murder” Complaint Filed To ICC Over Gaza Killings

Alastair Thompson

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Avocat Gilles Devers & Investigator Julie Webb Pullman with their Gaza Massacre War Crimes Complaint

As diplomatic condemnations of the Gaza Massacre death toll from last Monday continue to echo around the world, an International Criminal Court investigation into war crimes committed by Israeli Defence Force snipers against Palestinian prostesters is looking increasingly possible. Scoop’s Alastair Thompson reports from France on the timely laying of a complaint by 562 victims and families of those killed and injured in the Great March of Return.

Read the full article here

 


“Human rights no longer treated as a priority, but as a pariah,” Zeid tells 25th anniversary gathering in Vienna

UN Office of the High Commissioner 

Vienna (22 May 2018) – In a speech delivered Tuesday at an international conference marking the 25th anniversary of a landmark human rights declaration, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein issued a stark warning that the world in general, including Europe, is back-sliding on human rights.

 The Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, adopted by consensus on 25 June 1993, and heavily influenced by the atrocities occurring just across Austria’s border with the former Yugoslavia, laid down the blueprint for human rights in the post-Cold-War era. It also set in motion the establishment of the UN Human Rights Office that Zeid now heads.

 “This anniversary could be the occasion for a polite celebration of the achievements of my Office over the past two and a half decades – and they are many,” Zeid told the delegates gathered in Vienna. “But today is not a time for soporific complacency. Human rights are sorely under pressure around the world – no longer a priority: a pariah. The legitimacy of human rights principles is attacked. The practice of human rights norms is in retreat. Here in Europe, ethno-populist parties are in the ascendant in many countries – fuelling hatred and scarring their societies with deepening divisions.”

 Referring to Austria, the High Commissioner added “In this country – which more than most should be aware of the dangers of ethnically divisive rhetoric… – false and incendiary statements have been made which are fundamentally at odds with the Vienna Declaration.”

 The full text of his 870-word statement can be read below: (more…)


UN human rights expert condemns horrific violence in Gaza

NEWS RELEASE

Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967

GENEVA (15 May 2018) – A UN human rights expert has called on the Israeli Government to immediately cease its lethal assault against protesters at the Gaza fence, who appear to pose no credible threat to Israeli military forces on the Israeli side of the fence.

 Michael Lynk, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, condemned Israel’s excessive use of force towards largely unarmed demonstrators at the Gaza fence on Monday, which has left 58 Palestinians dead, and almost 2,800 wounded. He expressed grave fears this figure could rise sharply in coming days unless Israeli authorities uphold their obligations under international human rights law and international humanitarian law.

 “This blatant excessive use of force by Israel – an eye for an eyelash – must end, and there must be true accountability for those in military and political command who have ordered or allowed this force to be once again employed at the Gaza fence,” he said. (more…)


Gaza calls for urgent medical equipment

Gaza has put out an urgent call for medical equipment to cope with the numbers of injured in yesterday’s massacre by Israeli forces.

The sheer numbers will put a strain on services for weeks and months to come.

If you can help, please contact the Director of the Gaza Ministry of Health International Cooperation Directorate to get instructions on how to donate:

Dr. Ashraf Abu Mhadi
Director General
International Cooperation Department
Ministry of Health
Email: icd@moh.gov.ps
Mobile: 00 970599 854 845
Office: 00 972 8 2826325

 

EGH


Hamas: Patience of resistance factions running out following Israel’s massacre

PRESS STATEMENT

HAMAS

Hamas political bureau member, Khalil al-Hayya, said that the patience of resistance factions, especially the al-Qassam Brigades, is running out and a retaliation is imminent following the massacre of Gazan civilians by the Israeli Occupation on Monday.

AlHayya

In a press conference held by Hamas during the Great March of Return and after the massacre of dozens of unarmed Palestinians, al-Hayya said that the Palestinian resistance factions are standing side by side the Palestinian people and have their full support.

He added, “the shedding of our people’s blood today stains the faces of those normalizing with the Israeli Occupation and bargaining on the Palestinian cause with shame.”

Al-Hayya called on Arab and Islamic uprisings to condemn the Israeli Occupation, describing the uprisings as “a natural response to this Israeli aggression against innocent Palestinian civilians.”

Embassy transfer

Al-Hayya stressed that Jerusalem is a red line and the transfer of the US embassy is an explicit attack on the history, rights and legitimacy of the Palestinian people.

“The American administration bears all the consequences of the implementation of this unjust decision, and this terrible crime will not pass unaccountable,” al-Hayya confirmed.

He reiterated his movement’s rejection of Donald Trump’s “Deal of the Century”, indicating that the movement will do everything it can to exterminate it, and that it will stand against all projects aiming to liquidate the Palestinian cause.

Unity in the field

The Hamas leader praised the unified work that took place during the Great March of Return and called on for the continuation of the peaceful protests until the rights of the Palestinians are fully retained.

“Our people who are living the bitterness of the Nakba will not remain silent and will not retreat until their ambitions and goals of returning back to their homeland are achieved”.

He concluded that the violent and lethal response of the Israeli Occupation to the peaceful Marches  confirms the Zionist occupation’s terrorist nature calling on the Arabs to stop the series of normalization and cut its ties with the Occupation.


Some good news for Gaza

  • Egypt announced today it is permitting 92 injured to receive medical treatment in Egyptian hospitals.
  • Rafah crossing will stay open until Monday, in both directions.
  • Gazans donated more than 600 units of blood in less than 24 hours, demonstrating their humanity.

 

 


UN Human Rights spokesperson condemns “appalling, deadly violence in Gaza”

Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: Rupert Colville

 Location:      Geneva

 Subject:        (1) Gaza

We condemn the appalling, deadly violence in Gaza yesterday during which 58 Palestinians were killed and almost 1,360 demonstrators were injured with live ammunition by Israeli security forces. Of those injured, 155 are in critical condition. Six children and a health worker were among those who lost their lives, and 10 journalists suffered injuries from gunshot wounds. The already crumbling health care system in Gaza has been placed under incredible strain and those suffering life-threatening injuries face a nightmarish scenario in the absence of adequate hospital beds and medical services. We are still witnessing cases in which injured demonstrators are effectively prevented by Israel from exiting Gaza for treatment.

 The rules on the use of force under international law have been repeated many times but appear to have been ignored again and again. It seems anyone is liable to be shot dead or injured: women, children, press personnel, first responders, bystanders, and at almost any point up to 700m from the fence.

 A number of the demonstrators approached the fence, threw stones and Molotov cocktails at Israeli security forces personnel, and flew kites laden with petrol soaked material. Some tried to damage the fence that separates Gaza from Israel. Others burnt tires. Israeli forces responded with tear gas, plastic bullets and various types of live ammunition, some causing horrific wounds and lifelong disability. We stress, again, that lethal force may only be used as a measure of last – not first – resort, and only when there is an immediate threat to life or serious injury. An attempt to approach or crossing or damaging the fence do not amount to a threat to life or serious injury and are not sufficient grounds for the use of live ammunition. This is also the case with regards to stones and molotov cocktails being thrown from a distance at well-protected security forces located behind defensive positions.

 Again, we call for independent, transparent investigations in all cases of death and injury since 30 March. Since 30 March, 112 Palestinians, including 14 children, have lost their lives at the fence and thousands have been injured.

 We are extremely worried about what may happen today – an emotional day on all sides – and in the weeks ahead. We urge maximum restraint. Enough is enough.

 (Arabic version available on http://www.ohchr.org/AR/Pages/Home.aspx)


UNRWA dismayed by loss of life and injuries in Gaza

Statement by UNRWA Spokesperson, Chris Gunness

Jerusalem 14 May 2018

UNRWA is dismayed by the deaths and injuries in Gaza today of dozens of civilians, including children. The Agency unreservedly condemns the excessive use of force employed against demonstrators, who have the right to peaceful assembly and expression.

 The population in the Gaza Strip has been exposed to the consequences of repeated armed conflicts and a stifling blockade over the past decade. Today’s violence and loss of life will add yet another layer of trauma onto an already untenable situation.

 UNRWA is specifically alarmed by the impact the latest developments have had on Palestine refugees, who constitute over 70 percent of Gaza’s population. Since 30 March, when what has become known as the “Great March of Return” started, at least 4 UNRWA students have been killed and some 125 injured.

 Behind the numbers, there are shattered lives, destinies and limbs. In many cases the injuries sustained are very severe and likely to result in life-long disabilities. UNRWA supports calls for investigations into these grave incidents in accordance with international standards to ensure accountability for violations of international law.

 The risk is high to see similar violence occur again in the coming days. Collective international mobilization is  therefore urgently required to prevent further loss of life and injury. Every additional casualty is a defeat for humanity.


Seven Palestinian journalists injured by gunfire in Gaza protests

COMMITTEE TO PROTECT JOURNALISTS

Beirut, May 14, 2018–The Committee to Protect Journalists condemned the use of gunfire by Israeli forces against journalists covering protests today in the Gaza Strip. At least seven Palestinian journalists have been injured by Israeli gunfire while covering today’s demonstrations, according to the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate (PJS), reports shared on social media by media outlets and journalists, and CPJ interviews with local journalists Saud Abu Ramadan and Moneeb Saada.

Thousands of Palestinians have been protesting for seven consecutive weeks over Israel’s refusal to allow Palestinian refugees to return to their pre-1948 homes, news reports said. Today marks the 70th anniversary of what Israel claims as its independence day and Palestinians call Nakba Day to commemorate their displacement from Israel. Today’s protests in the West Bank and Gaza Strip also coincided with the opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem, according to news reports.

“The number of Palestinian journalists injured by gunfire in Gaza has grown by the week,” CPJ Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator Sherif Mansour said from Washington, D.C. “The fact that Israeli authorities have ignored demands that they halt the use of live fire against journalists reinforces the perception that they do not want the world to see what is happening in Gaza.”

The following journalists were injured by gunfire today:

  • Omar Hamdan, a cameraperson for the state-owned Algerian Television, was hit in his left leg by a live round while covering protests east of Gaza City, according to news reports, the PJSreports shared on social media by news outlets, and local journalists Ramadan and Saada.

 

  • Mohammed Abu Dahrouj, a cameraperson for the media production company Zain Media, was hit in his right leg by a live round while covering protests east of Gaza City, according to reports shared on social media by news outlets, the PJS, Ramadan, and Saada.

 

  • Abdullah al-Shorbagi, a reporter for the local Hamas-affiliated Khan Younis Media Network, was hit in the left foot by a live round while covering protests east of Khan Younis, according to his employer, the PJS, reports shared by local journalists and news outlets on social media, Ramadan, and Saada.

 

  • Farhan Hashem Abu Hadayd, a reporter for the local news website Safad Press, was hit in his left leg by a live round while covering protests east of Rafah, according to news reports, the PJS, reports and pictures shared by media outlets, and local human rights activist Mohammed Abdullah.

 

  • Yasser Qudeih, a freelance photographer for the Hamas-affiliated daily Palestine, was hit in his abdomen by a live round while covering protests east of Gaza City, according to reports shared on Facebook by news outlets, Ramadan, and Saada. He is currently under observation in the intensive care unit at the European Hospital in Gaza, according to Saada.

 

  • Nihad Fuad, a reporter for the community radio station Forsan al-Erada, was hit in the head by a live round while covering protests in the southern Gazan city of Khuza’a, east of Khan Younis, according to Facebook reports by media outlets, Ramadan, and Saada. He has been transferred for treatment to the European Hospital in Gaza, according to Saada.

 

  • Wael Dahdouh, a reporter for the Qatari broadcaster Al-Jazeera, was injured in the right hand by gunfire while covering protests east of Gaza City, according to his employernews reportsreports on social media, Ramadan, and Saada.

 

In addition to the seven journalists injured by direct fire, Mohammed al-Duwaik, a cameraperson for the local news agency Itehad Press, was hit in his arms by shrapnel from an explosive device while he was covering protests east of Gaza City, according to Al-Duwaik and the PJS.

The Israel Defense Forces did not immediately reply to CPJ’s email requesting comment.

Since the protests began on March 30, 2018, CPJ has documented that live rounds fired by the Israel Defense Force have hit at least 22 journalists, two of whom–Yaser Murtaja and Ahmed Abu Hussein–later died from their injuries.


B’Tselem: Firing live ammunition at Gaza demonstrators shows appalling indifference to human life

PRESS RELEASE

B’Tselem

The demonstrations held in Gaza today came as no surprise. Israel had plenty of time to come up with alternate approaches for dealing with the protests, apart from firing live ammunition.

The fact that live gunfire is once again the sole measure that the Israeli military is using in the field evinces appalling indifference towards human life on the part of senior Israeli government and military officials.

B’Tselem calls for an immediate halt to the killing of Palestinian demonstrators.

If the relevant officials do not issue an order to stop the lethal fire, the soldiers in the field must refuse to comply with these manifestly unlawful open-fire orders.


Gaza Ministry of Health Detailed Statistics

Ministry Of Health – International Cooperation Directorate 

Detailed Statistics

The Peaceful Great Return March

08:30 PM  14 May 2018
55 Martyrs                 2771 Casualties

Martyrs 

6 children under the age of 18
1 female child

Casualties 

225 Children
79 Females

Medical points 1011
Hospitals 1760

Injuries Severity

🛌 76 Critical, 54 very critical
🛌 1294 Moderate
🛌 1347 Minor

Cause of Injury

1359 Live Ammunition
14 Rubber-coated metal bullets
155 Shrapnel in the body.
263 Others.
980 Gas.
Location of the Wounds

90 Head and Neck
192 Upper Limbs
62 Chest and Back
54 Abdomen and Pelvis
1218 Lower Limbs
980 Gas inhaliation
175 Other

Direct targeting of medical staff and Journalists led to 
1 Martyr – Civil Defense
5 Ambulances were partially damaged
17 Paramedics (gas suffocation and live ammunition)
12 Journalists

​​​​​​International Cooperation Directorate​​​​​​


Gaza border protests to continue as Public employees go on strike

 

The Public Employees’ Union in Gaza has announced a comprehensive strike on Tuesday and closes all ministries, institutions and government departments except for hospitals and emergency medical services.


SA WITHDRAWS ISRAEL AMBASSADOR AFTER GAZA DEADLY ATTACK

SOURCE: EYEWITNESS NEWS

SA flag

JOHANNESBURG – The South African government has condemned in the strongest terms possible the latest act of violent aggression carried out by Israeli armed forces along the Gaza border, which has led to the deaths of over 40 people following a peaceful protest against the provocative inauguration of the US embassy in Jerusalem.

In a statement released on Monday evening, the Department of International Relations (Dirco) says: “The latest attack has resulted in scores of other Palestinian citizens reported injured, and the wanton destruction of property.”

It adds: “Given the indiscriminate and gravity of the latest Israeli attack, the South African government has taken a decision to recall Ambassador Sisa Ngombane with immediate effect until further notice.”


Gaza Journalist moved to ICU

motasem

Motasem Dalloul, Palestinian journalist and Middle East Monitor’s Gaza correspondent, is now in a critical condition, and has been moved to the intensive care unit in Shifa hospital.

Dalloul was shot in the abdomen and back by Israeli snipers using explosive bullets while he covered the #GreatReturnMarch protests at the border on Friday, 11 May.


Gaza MOI confronts fake news

Press Statement

There is no truth to what is being propagated through some media about the Interior Ministry’s demand for citizens to evacuate the Great March of Return camps.

Iyad al-Bazem

Spokesman for the Ministry of Interior and National Security

Monday 14 May, 2018


UN MEDIA ADVISORY ON GAZA

GENEVA (May 14, 2018) — At the conclusion of its 95th Session, the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination issued the following Statement:

 PREVENTION OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION, INCLUDING EARLY WARNING AND URGENT ACTION PROCEDURES

 Statement

 Israel

 The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, meeting in Geneva at its ninety-fifth session, from 23 April to 11 May 2018,

 Acting under its Early Warning and Urgent Action Procedures;

 Alarmed by the disproportionate use of force displayed by the Israeli Security Forces (ISF) against Palestinian demonstrators who have been taking part, since 30 March, in the so called ‘the Great March of Return’ in Gaza, which has resulted in the death of at least 40 people, among them five children and in thousands of persons being injured;

 Gravely concerned that many of the persons who died or were injured were reportedly posing no imminent threat at the time they were shot;

 Alarmed also by the many reports according to which Israeli authorities have denied and continue to deny access to urgent medical treatment to injured Palestinians;

 Highly concerned that these incidents are taking place in a context marked by the 50 year- occupation of the Palestinian territory, the blockade imposed since 2007 on the Gaza strip and a rise of racist hate speech and incitement to racist violence against Palestinians by Israeli governmental officials and members of the ISF;

 Deeply worried about persisting discriminatory practices against Palestinians by Israel as well as the absence of adequate accountability mechanisms, which would permit Palestinians to seek justice for the human rights violations to which they are subjected and the failure to hold members of the ISF accountable;

 Concerned that while the State party publicly announced the conduct of an investigation into these events, an independent and impartial investigation has not yet taken place;

 Recalling the provisions enshrined in the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, to which Israel has been a party since 1979 and in particular the obligations contained in articles 2 1), 4 and 5 b) and d) as well as the concluding observations on Israel issued by the Committee in 2012 (CERD/C/ISR/CO/14-16), especially paragraphs 10, 23, 24 and 26;

 The Committee urges the State party to:

  1.  Put an immediate end to the disproportionate use of force against Palestinian demonstrators in the Gaza strip, refrain from any act that could lead to further casualties and ensure prompt and unimpeded access to medical treatment to injured Palestinian;
  1. Initiate an impartial and independent investigation into the use of force against Palestinian demonstrators in compliance with international standards and hold those responsible accountable;
  1. Ensurethat all Palestinians under its effective control enjoy full rights under the Convention without discrimination especially, their right to life and security of person, freedom of opinion and expression, as well as their right to medical care;
  1. Takeall the necessary measures to fully implement the recommendations made by the Committee in 2012 and in particular:
  1. a) To fully respect the norms of humanitarian law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and to lift the blockade of the Gaza strip;
  1. b) To counter the tide of racism and xenophobia in public discourse, in particular by strongly condemning all racist and xenophobic statements by public officials and political and religious leaders, and by implementing appropriate measures to combat the proliferation of racist acts and manifestations of racist hate speech that particularly target Palestinians in the territories under the State party’s effective control.

2637th meeting

8 May 2018


Dear fellow human

My name is Olfat al-Kurd. I live in Shuja’iya in Gaza. I am 37 years old and have four children. In July 2017, I joined the B’Tselem team as one of three field researchers in Gaza. In the past few weeks, since the protests along the fence with Israel began, we have been working around the clock to document, collect eyewitness accounts and testimonies of injured people, and gather information about the demonstrations and casualties.

I attend the weekly protests not only in my professional capacity but also as a Gazan. Some of my photos, posted on B’Tselem’s photo blog, show how most of the protesters gather in tents pitched far from the fence. These families enjoy entertainment stages, live music, food stalls and other family activities. We go there to convey a political message, to demonstrate, but non-violently – we don’t go there with weapons. The soldiers shoot at us nonetheless, and people are injured from live fire and tear gas.

This week, a concerned Israeli colleague asked me why I keep attending the protests, even though it’s dangerous. I replied that I am, of course, afraid, sometimes so much that I fear I won’t come back.

But the truth is that nowhere in Gaza is safe – whether near the border or in our own homes. Israeli planes can bomb any house, anywhere, at any moment. We all live in constant dread of something terrible happening. Everyone in Gaza lost a relative in the last wars. I lost my brother in the 2009 ‘war’.

The festival activities at the protests are a rare opportunity for us to breathe, meet people, and feel that we belong to something larger than ourselves. The open areas near the fence are the vastest in Gaza, but no one has dared go there since the last war. We can’t go to the beach any longer because sewage infrastructure has collapsed as a result of the blockade, and raw sewage flows into the sea. Many Gazans live in abject poverty and cannot afford to sit in a café or a restaurant, so they come to the protests with a coffee thermos and food.

Israel has been holding Gaza under blockade for more than ten years. Some of the young people participating in the protests and being wounded or even killed by soldiers, do not know what it’s like to have running water and a steady supply of electricity. They have never left Gaza and grew up in a prison.

You can’t visit us, Israel doesn’t allow anyone to see what’s going on here. There is no real life in Gaza. The whole place is clinically dead.

The younger generations are crushed by the hopelessness and death everywhere. The protests have given us all a spark of hope. They are our attempt to cry out to the world that it must wake up, that there are people here fighting for their most basic rights, which they are entitled to fulfill. We deserve to live, too.

Sincerely,

Olfat al-Kurd
Gaza Field Researcher
B’Tselem


RED CROSS SAYS GAZA HOSPITALS ON VERGE OF COLLAPSE

Red Cross: Gaza hospitals on the brink of collapse, Shifa Hospital alone is dealing with 400 injured, and this can not continue

 


ISRAELI FIGHTER JETS ATTACK 4 SITES IN GAZA

BREAKING EVENTS

  • Israeli fighter jets attack four sites in Gaza
  • Israel cuts off the electricity line supplying the Shujeiyah area of Gaza
  • Another journalist is targeted and injured: Wael Al-Dahdouh, a correspondent for Al-Jazeera

UPDATE – GAZA MARTYR LIST

14 May, 2018       17:45

43 MARTYRS                                        2,238 INJURED

UPDATE OF NAMES OF THOSE MURDERED BY ISRAELI SOLDIERS IN GAZA WHILE PARTICIPATING IN THE GREAT MARCH OF RETURN

1. Azzeddin Musa Mohammed Al-Sammak, 14 years old.
2. Fadel Fazat Izzat Sheikh Khalil, 15 years old.
3. Ahmad Adel Mousa Al-Sha’er, 16 years old.
4. Said Mohammed Abu al-Khair, 16 years.
5. Ibrahim Ahmed Zarqa, 18 years old.
6. Emad Ali Sadeq Al-Sheikh, 19 years old.
7. Ziad Mohammed Hassan Omar, 19 years old.
8. Mu’tasim Fawzi Abu Luli, 20 years old.
9. Anas Hamdan Salem Qudeih, 21 years old.
10. Mohammed Abdel-Salam Haraz, 21 years.
11. Yehia Ismail Ragab Al-Dakour, 22 years old.
12. Mustafa Mohamed Samir Mahmoud El Masry, 22 years.
13. Azzedine Nahed Al-Aweiti, 23 years old.
14. Mahmoud Mustafa Ahmed Assaf, 23 years.
15. Ahmed Fayez Harb Shehada, 23 years.
16. Ahmad Awadallah, 24 years old.
17. Khalil Ismail Khalil Mansour, 25 years.
18. Mohammed Ashraf Abu Stah, 26 years
19. Bilal Ahmed Abu Daqqa, 26 years old
20. Ahmed Majid Qassem Attallah, 27 years old
21. Mahmoud Rabah Abu Muammar, 28 years old.
22. Mus’ab Yousef Abu Lailiya, 28 years old.
23. Ahmad Fawzi al-Tatar, 28 years old.
24. Mohammed Abdulrahman Miqdad, 28 years old.
25. Salem Salem Farhan, 30 years old.
26. Jihad Al-Farra, 30 years.
27. Fadi Hassan Abu Salmi, 30 years old.
28- Bassam Kamel al-Nuno, 31, is a general.
29. Mohammed Riyad Abdel Rahman Al-Amoudi, 31 years.
30. Jihad Mohammed Osman Musa, 31 years old.
31. Shaher Mahmoud Mohammed Al-Madhoun, 32 years old.
32. Musa Jaber Abdel Salam Abu Hassanein, 35 years old.
33- Mohammed Mahmoud Abdel-Moati Abdel-Al ,39 years.
34. Ahmed Mohammed Ibrahim Hamdan, 27 years old.
35. Ismail Khalil Ramadan Al Dahouk, 30 years.
36. Ahmed Mahmoud Mohammed Rantisi, 27 years.
37. Anwar Ahmed Al-Khatib, 28 years old.
38. Mahmoud Yahya Abdel Wahab Hussein, 24 years.
39. Ahmed Abdullah Al-Adini, 30 years.
40. Sa’adi Saeed Fahmi Abu Salah, 16 years old.
41. Ahmed Zuhair Hamed Al Shawa ,24 years.
42. Mohammed Hani Hani Al-Najjar’, 33 years.
43. Fadel Mohamed Atta Habashi, 34 years old.