Yesterday, Friday 24th of August, Return demonstrated from the Eastern side of the Gaza fence in solidarity with the weekly Great March of Return in Gaza, which took place for the 22nd Friday in a row.
This week’s demonstration on both sides of the fence demanded an end to the Israeli policy of targeting medics and accountability for the medics who have been injured and murdered while providing medical assistance during the protests. According to World Health Organization (WHO) and health officials in Gaza, at least 52 health workers have been injured while providing first aid to the wounded during the Marches, most while wearing clothing identifying them as medics. Three health workers have been killed.
“We arrived to demonstrate in solidarity with the Palestinian demonstration on the other side of the fence. We got stopped by the soldiers and we couldn’t get close, but we could get to this sort of hill here from which they can see us waving the Palestinian flag. All of us here, Jews and internationals are here to support the right of return.
When people are deported or flee for their lives in times of war or conflict, they have an universally recognized right to return to their towns and villages of origins, their homes, after the war is over. Israel has been denying Palestinians of this right for 70 years, they’ve been robbing their land, robbing their property. We think that if people will be allowed to return to their original places, we could get our lives together and live as neighbors in equality.” –Yossi, a Return activist.
According to numbers from the Gaza health ministry, 189 civilians—including 10 children—were injured by Israeli forces during the march, and 73 were hospitalized. The most serious injuries were inflicted by live ammunition and direct tear gas canisters, according to the latest report by the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights.
“They raised flags, and chanted slogans and national songs in addition to flying kites and firing balloons, while hundreds of them, including children and women, approached the border fence, set fire to tires and attempted to throw stones at the Israeli forces. The participants were present around 300 meters away from the main border fence,” the human rights organization reported.
PCHR additionally pointed out that Israeli forces used excessive lethal force against peaceful protestors who posed no threat to the lives of Israeli soldiers, and continued to target medical personnel working in the field, wounding 3. Additionally, an ambulance was damaged, indicating that there is without a question a systematic Israeli policy to target medical personnel and to obstruct their humanitarian work, which is protected under the rules of international humanitarian law.