Dignity and death on Gaza’s border

May 17, 2018
Palestinians risked their lives to protest because their imposed living conditions are unbearable

Hana Salah, in Al Monitor, writes, “On May 14, Palestinian young people gathered on the front line along the Gaza border in the Malika area, east of Gaza City, distributing old tires for burning during the next day’s commemoration of the Nakba, the catastrophe of the Palestinians’ dispossession with the founding of Israel in 1948. Thick smoke already filled the air, obscuring young people as they tried to breach the fence separating Gaza and Israel on the day the United States moved its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.”

“A group of young Gazans had formed the self-styled tire-burning unit specifically for the Great Return March, commemorating year 70 of the Nakba. Members of the unit had been collecting tires for the past week in preparation, storing them in a pit some 900 feet from the fence so they could retrieve them throughout the day to keep the flames going to protect protesters by blinding Israeli soldiers’ view of the border. The unit’s work picked up beginning April 6, “Burning Friday,” when increasing numbers of Palestinians joined in the protests that began March 30, Land Day, commemorating a 1976 Israeli effort to confiscate Palestinian-owned land that resulted in deadly confrontations.”

“Al-Monitor visited the rear of the protest area and spoke with young men involved in the tire-burning unit. Jaafar, not his real name, a leader of the unit, said he had made his way to the fence, hiding his face with a keffiyeh and carrying wire-cutters on his shoulder. While his friends covered him by burning tires to protect him from Israeli snipers, he cut through part of the barrier, as others aggressively tugged at it, making a statement about their desire to return to their families’ homeland on the other side. Israeli soldiers responded with smoke bombs to disperse the protesters and with gunfire against those in the forefront at the fence.” (more…)


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