JfJfP condemns killings by Israel of Nakba-day demonstrators

May 22, 2011
Sarah Benton

The Israeli killing machine

Statement by JfJfP Executive 21.5.2011
The Nakba demonstrations on Sunday, 15 May 2011, show us once again that Israel is the equal of Syria, Bahrain and Libya in suppressing demonstrations. Not content with firing tear gas, the IDF fired rubber bullets and in some cases live rounds to disperse the demonstrators and force them back from Israel’s borders. In Gaza, Palestinian refugees marched to the border with Israel, while in Syria and Lebanon the refugees marching to the border were joined by Syrians and Lebanese. Palestinians also demonstrated in Ramallah. The demonstrators were armed only with rocks and sticks. Accounts of numbers casualties vary, but it is clear that more than 10 demonstrators were killed and more than 400 injured.

Israeli Prime Minster Netanyahu’s comment was chilling, “We hope calm and quiet will quickly return. But let nobody be misled: we are determined to defend our borders and sovereignty.” He uttered not a word about the refugees’ legitimate grievances because the Israeli government has never acknowledged any.

We are reminded of the IDF’s violent suppression of the peaceful protests against the separation wall in Bi’lin and other West Bank villages. Most of all we are reminded of the Israeli security forces’ suppression of the protests by Israeli Palestinians in late September –early October 2000. The Israeli security forces killed seven in riots around the Al Aqsa Mosque, one child in Gaza, and 15 in demonstrations in Umm Al Fahm. There was not one word from the Israeli government about the failure of the Camp David negotiations, which were supposed to lead to the creation of a Palestinian state, or of Ariel Sharon’s provocative walk on the Haram al Sharif protected by a phalanx of Israeli security personnel, which precipitated the rioting. In the eight years of the second intifada that followed those demonstrations, nearly 5,000 Palestinians and more than 1,000 Israelis were killed.

We fervently hope that these latest killings will not lead to another violent intifada, but Israel’s propensity to meet legitimate grievance with suppression does not give confidence that it will be avoided.

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