24th Friday of the Great March of Return and Breaking the Siege of the Gaza Strip

Israeli Forces Kill 1 Child and Wound 137 Civilians, including 26 Children, 4 Paramedics and 1 Journalist

Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR), September 7, 2018, Ref: 97/2018

On Friday afternoon, 07 September 2018, using excessive force against the peaceful protesters in the eastern Gaza Strip for the 24th Friday in a row, Israeli forces Killed a child and wounded 137 civilians, including 26 children, 4 paramedics and 1 journalist with live bullets and directly hit tear gas canisters. Nine of those wounded sustained serious wounds in addition to dozens of civilians suffering tear gas inhalation. Moreover, Today early morning, a young man succumbed to serious wounds he sustained during his participation in the Return Demonstration in the northern Gaza Strip on 13 July 2018.

According to PCHR fieldworkers’ observations, the border area witnessed heavy deployment of the Israeli forces this week as the latter heavily fired live bullets and tear gas canisters, increasing the number of causalities comparing with the previous weeks, despite the peaceful nature prevailing the demonstrations.

The Israeli forces continued to use upon highest military and political echelons excessive force against the peaceful demonstrators who posed no threat or danger to the life of Israeli soldiers in the areas of demonstrations.

Table of Civilian Casualties due to the Israeli Suppression since the Beginning of the Great March of Return on 30 March

Casualties Medical Crews Journalists Women Children Total Notes
Killed 3 2 1 24 132 [1]
Wounded 109 80 206 1208 7042 [2]

Continue reading

Medical Personnel Under Fire

3 paramedics killed and 103 medical staff injured

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) has launched a video titled: “Medical Personnel Under Fire”. The video sheds lights on the serious violations committed against Palestinian medical personnel while rescuing the casualties of the peaceful March of Return. The video shows that Israeli forces used excessive force which resulted in the killing of 3 paramedics and the injury of about 103 medical staffers.

Israeli Authorities Ban Fuel and Gas into the Gaza Strip

Tightening Closure For 3rd Time in Less Than Month

Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), August 2, 2018

Ref: 80/2018

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) strongly condemns the Israeli authorities decisions to tighten the closure imposed on the Gaza Strip, completely close the sole commercial crossing “Karm Abu Salem” and ban the entry of fuel, gas, goods and basic needs for the Gaza Strip population. PCHR warns of the catastrophic consequences of these decisions on the lives of 2 million Palestinians suffering from serious deterioration of humanitarian, economic and social conditions resulted from these measures. PCHR calls upon the international community, especially the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, and all humanitarian organizations to immediately intervene in order to stop these decisions, lift the closure, and open all crossings to ensure the entry of all the Gaza Strip population’s needs, especially basic goods. Moreover, PCHR affirms that these decisions were the culmination of several previous decisions that the Israeli authorities have implemented since June 2007 in the context of a plan to tighten the closure imposed on the Gaza Strip.

According to PCHR’s follow-up, on 01 August 2018, the Israeli Defense Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, issued a decision to ban the entry of fuel and gas into the Gaza Strip through Karm Abu Salem crossing starting from Thursday until further notice. According to the Israeli statement, this decision was taken in response to the continued firing of incendiary balloons and the ongoing Return demonstrations’ activities near the Gaza Strip borders. The Israeli authorities previously issued a decision on 16 July 2018, to completely close Karm Abu Salem crossing, except for the entry of food, medical supplies, fuel and gas only when needed. Upon the same decision, the Israeli authorities reduced the fishing area in the Gaza Strip to 3 nautical miles instead of 6. The Israeli authorities also claimed that this decision was taken in response to flying incendiary kites and balloons by Hamas towards the areas adjacent to the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli authorities have tightened the closure imposed on the Gaza Strip, which entered its 12th consecutive year in mid-June since Tuesday, 10 July 2018, and decided to close Karm Abu Salem crossing and prevent the entry of goods into the Gaza Strip, except for the entry of some humanitarian goods, including food, medicine, fuel, and gas. Furthermore, the Israeli authorities imposed a complete ban on exporting and marketing goods from Gaza Strip. Upon the same decision, the Israeli authorities reduced the fishing area in the Gaza Strip to six nautical miles instead of nine.

The closure measures threaten all aspects of life in the Gaza Strip, and PCHR is concerned over the collapse of all basic services needed by the Gaza Strip population. These services already suffer from a serious deterioration for years due to the closure imposed on the Gaza Strip.

Concerning the health sector, and taking into account the dependence of hospitals and medical facilities on fuel to operate generators in light of the power outage for more than 20 hours a day, the Ministry of Health has taken austerity measures as it reduced providing services for civilians. This reduce included providing diagnostic services and conducting surgical operations. The number of delayed operations during the past 3 months was about 7000 surgeries. Furthermore, the lives of about 2000 patients staying in the Gaza Strip hospitals are in real danger. Patients, particularly cancer, cardiac, and dialysis patients and preterm infants in the nursery sections and Intensive Care Units (ICU), are mostly exposed to danger, in light of the deterioration of the health services.

Continue reading

Debunking Four Myths Surrounding the Palestinian Protests

The justifications given for the deaths of Palestinian protesters just don’t add up

Khan Yunis, Gaza Strip, June 1, 2018. Israeli tear gas canisters fall toward Palestinian protesters and medics during clashes with Israeli security forces along the Israel-Gaza border. Photo courtesy dpa picture alliance/Alamy Stock Photo.

Muhammad Shehada and Jamie Stern-Weiner, VICE, Jun 12 2018

Over the past ten weeks, tens of thousands of Palestinians in Gaza have participated in the “March of Return,” mass nonviolent demonstrations to protest Israel’s illegal siege. Throughout, Israel has responded with violent force.

As of June 7, Israeli forces had killed more than 110 Palestinians in the course of the protests, including 14 children, and injured more than 3,700 with live ammunition. In order to brutalize the people of Gaza into submission while minimizing the international criticism that accompanies lethal force, Israeli snipers deployed along Gaza’s perimeter fence methodically shot the legs of Palestinian demonstrators. “The aim,” reports the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz, was “to leave as many young people as possible with permanent disabilities.” To this end, the snipers used expanding bullets that “pulverized” bones and left exit wounds the size of a fist. According to the Secretary-General of UNRWA, the United Nations agency providing education and healthcare for refugees in Gaza, “many” of those shot will suffer “life-long disabilities.” Mission accomplished.

Bernie Sanders’ Criticism Of Israel Is Radical. And He’s Taking It Mainstream

Aiden Pink, Information Clearing House, June 13, 2018

Not many in the media are noticing, which is understandable given the burden of keeping up with Donald Trump, but in the shadow of Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu, Bernie Sanders is dramatically challenging Beltway discourse on Israel.

In 2020, when Sanders likely runs for president, and journalists begin paying attention, they’re going to be shocked. The Israeli government and the American Jewish establishment will be scared out of their minds.

Last month, Sanders crossed one of the red lines demarcating politically acceptable Washington discourse about Israel. He organized the first letter written by multiple senators criticizing Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip. Then, last week, he raced past that line again with a video that is unlike anything I’ve ever seen from an American senator.

Donate for Gaza Now

I know you’re horrified by the news from Gaza—the slaughter of unarmed protesters who are simply demanding freedom; the deliberate targeting of medical staff and journalists; The murder and maiming of women, children and so many young men.

Families in Gaza desperately need medical aid and food. With your help now, MECA can provide them:

  • MECA Gaza staff can purchase medicine and medical supplies in Gaza and deliver immediately to hospitals and clinics.
  • There is terrible poverty and hunger in Gaza due to the Israeli siege. MECA will distribute emergency food parcels to more than 1,000 families in greatest need.

I ask you, please, just to give, as much as you can. People are desperate in Gaza and they need your help now.

Continue reading

Standing with my Muslim neighbors in the wake of Jerusalem and Gaza

Rabbi Laurie Zimmerman, The Cap Times, May 17, 2018


Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at the opening ceremony of the new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem on Monday, May 14, 2018, left, and on the same day, Palestinians in Gaza City carry the body of Mousab Abu Leila, who was killed during a protest at the border of Israel and Gaza. Netanyahu praised the inauguration of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem as a “great day for peace,” as dozens of Palestinians have been killed in Gaza amidst ongoing clashes. (AP Photo)

As I watched the glitz and glamour of the celebration marking President Trump’s decision to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, I was filled with shame. The backdrop of Israeli and American flags emblazoned with “Thank You President Trump” smacked of self-righteousness and complacency. One political leader after another emphasized his or her unwavering support for Israel without regard for Palestinian rights or sovereignty. Two evangelical pastors invited to bless the celebration had long public records of vilifying Muslims and Jews, among many others. As a rabbi I felt deeply shaken; this spectacle was a violation of everything I believe in.

As I watched, scenes of the Israeli military firing live ammunition on protesters in Gaza flashed across my screen. On this one day, May 14, the military killed 58 Palestinians and injured thousands. The excessive and lethal force against protesters who posed no imminent threat to Israeli soldiers or civilians was chilling. Palestinian leaders explained why they were protesting in the Great March of Return: Israel’s military siege was strangling their economy, making every aspect of their lives intolerable. They wanted the world to know that 70 years ago their people became refugees as Jews, many of them refugees themselves, established the state of Israel.

While most American Jewish organizations rejoiced at the Embassy move and defended the killings in Gaza, I sensed that many American Jews were not so sure. After all, we overwhelmingly distrust President Trump and oppose every move of his presidency, from the Muslim ban to anti-immigrant legislation to support for the NRA to stripping the poor of what’s left of a meager safety net. That he panders to antisemitic white supremacist groups and aligns himself with the Christian right’s anti-woman platform only fuels our disgust.

We recognize that Jerusalem is a city of many faiths, filled with religious sites that are sacred to Jews, Muslims, and Christians. By moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, the United States and Israel have destroyed Palestinian aspirations that it could be the shared capital of both peoples, and Trump has sent a clear message: He is opposed to brokering a just and viable Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement.

Continue reading