We are closely following the horrifying news from Gaza this morning [March 30]. The Israeli government said it would meet Gaza protesters with live fire across the border fence and duly massed snipers on the border; and it has followed through today, killing at least nine Palestinians, according to early reports. Sadly the number keeps climbing: as of 4 PM EST, Haaretz was reporting that 15 Palestinians had been killed.
The outrage on the left is reminiscent of the Mavi Marmara onslaught in 2010, when Israeli commandos boarded a Turkish aid ship trying to reach Gaza and killed nine of the aid volunteers. Even Israel supporters are already making this comparison— to an event that brought global condemnation/diplomatic embarrassment to Israel.
The Associated Press reports 1000 Palestinians injured by tear gas inhalation and from being struck by live rounds or rubber-coated bullets. The Times of Israel reports “scattered” protests on the West Bank.
The first to be killed was a Palestinian farmer, said to be working his fields.
Number of protesters Israel killed in Gaza today rises to 9, with +1200 casualties. pic.twitter.com/bw8e9OtHGk
— Belal Aldabbour (@Belalmd12) March 30, 2018
The human rights group B’Tselem issued an unequivocal statement of condemnation of Israeli “crime”s:
Shooting at unarmed demonstrators is illegal and any command allowing such an action is manifestly illegal. Yesterday, B’Tselem warned against relating to demonstration areas as combat zones and against shooting live fire at demonstrators. Armed soldiers and unarmed demonstrators are not “at war.” The illegal open fire regulations and the compliance with them are the reason for the number of dead and injured today in the Gaza Strip.
The protests were organized as “The Great March of Return,” a nonviolent gathering of Palestinian refugees who demand the right to return to their families’ homes inside Israel. Nearly 2 million Gazans are virtually imprisoned in the 140-square-mile strip, under blockade since 2007, after Hamas assumed political control of the area. The blockade extends to a 1000-foot “buffer zone” on the Gaza side of a fence from which Israel bars activity.
Many observers are noting the caged condition of the Palestinians. Nora Barrows Friedman of EI:
The “totally democratic” “start-up nation” once again using caged Palestinians as laboratory subjects, killing and injuring them solely because they are demanding their right to leave this concentration camp and go home
Yeah it’s totally normal to cage people in a sealed ghetto after ethnically cleansing them for not being Jewish and then to shoot them if they demonstrate for their right to go home. Nothing to see just a normal “democracy.”
Dimi Reider of 972:
10 demonstrators peacefully marching out of bondage already shot dead, from behind the safety of the Gaza border fence. Passover indeed.
Jewish Voice for Peace has issued a statement, saying it is “horrified” by the deadly response to a peace march, and also citing the Passover angle:
Tonight, as Jews across the world gather at the Passover seder to remember our own story as a people questing for a homeland, we honor and recognize the yearning for homeland propelling today’s Land Day protests.
The Israeli military has yet again unleashed disproportionate violence against demonstrating Palestinians, the latest in a long series of deadly responses to popular protests by Palestinians.
Back in 2011, Thomas Friedman promised that an unarmed Palestinian mass march would “stimulate a real peace debate within Israel.” Today, the
#GreatMarchOfReturn happened and Israeli snipers have shot 13 marchers so far.
Israeli forces HAD to shoot into a non-violent march of 20K protestors in order to have the usual pretext of violence. Journos should be asking critical questions why they used lethal force in the first place? This is about settler anxiety not self defense.
Israel knows it can get away with murder, literally. It knows that because it is never held to account for its crimes. For that reason many are morally culpable for what is happening today.
In stark contrast to The New York Times, the Washington Post just published an article on the killings that is a model of what mainstream reporting should be. The second sentence says that the Israeli army used live ammunition, killing at least ten people. The Post describes the Israelis as attacking the demonstrators. The writers Loveday Morris and Hazem Balousha use the word “riots” and burning tires and rock-throwing in quotation marks, thus treating the Israeli military authorities as highly-interested informants. There’s no talk about “clashes”; the article is clear about who caused the violence. They actually quote a young Gazan, something the Times failed to do.
Media critics are assailing periodicals for describing today’s action as “clashes.” “Can you pls stop referring to soldiers shooting at unarmed civilians as ‘clashes’. You’re perpetuating the idea that this is a two-sided conflict as opposed to a powerful militarised state occupying & oppressing civilians.” Nima Shirazi: “Only one side fired ALL the bullets, ALL the mortar shells, ALL the tear gas. Only one side has ALL the tanks, ALL the bombers, ALL the drones.”
The Israeli army is seeking to stem international condemnation by characterizing the protests as “riots” and “terror.”
Hamas tells the world about a peacful protest, it should be called a violent riot pic.twitter.com/RFjEP1dBnL
— IDF (@IDFSpokesperson) March 30, 2018
J Street the liberal Zionist organization has had nothing to say about the killings. Americans for Peace Now issued a statement on the shootings offering both sides of the issue, IDF and protesters.