For the fourth week in a row, unarmed Palestinians stood up against Israel's murderous violence. Some 10,000 demonstrated in Friday's "Great March of Return" at the Gaza-Israel border. They demanded the right to their land, taken seven decades ago when Israel was founded. They called for end to the slow, torturous death imposed on Gaza's 1.8 million inhabitants by Israel's genocidal embargo. Most of all they came out to assert their humanity.
Palestinian youths again risked death to run across their own land to approach the border fence--a 300-yard strip Israel has turned into a killing field. Masses of women came out in the face of Israeli army warnings that protesting was against their "feminine nature," and that they'd lose their "honor" by demonstrating. "Women are at the centre of this issue and make up half of society," one protester told Middle East Eye. "It's every Palestinian woman's right to defend her land and nation. Women are at the heart and centre of the resistance."
There were also protests in the West Bank and in Israel, where thousands of Israeli Palestinians gathered in a town south of Haifa to take part in the "Great March of Return."
Bullets, Tear Gas, and Lies--Israel's Response to Unarmed Protest
Once again, with the eyes of many across the world on Gaza, Israel opened fire. They assassinated a 15-year-old, and three other Palestinians, all under 30 years old. These are deliberate executions by Israeli military snipers--whose commander claims they know where each bullet goes.
With their aerial surveillance planes overhead, the Israeli military fired tear-gas canisters at vehicles clearly marked as press. At least one car full of journalists was hit, causing serious injuries. Massive amounts of tear gas were fired at protesters, some hundreds of yards from the fence. There were reports of live fire at protests in the West Bank.
On Friday, 727 protesters were wounded. These protests brought the four-week death count to at least 37, and the injury total to 4,300 according to the Gaza's Ministry of Health. Brad Parker, international advocacy officer at Defense for Children (@DCIPalestine), tweeted,"The number of patients treated in @MSF clinics in Gaza over the last three weeks is more than the number treated throughout all of 2014, when Israel's military offensive Operation Protective Edge was launched on Gaza."
There were no Israeli casualties this Friday, and there have been none--zero--in the three Fridays before, giving the lie to Israel's claims the protests have been "violent disturbances," and "terrorist attacks."
It would be impossible for Israel to carry out its crimes without massive U.S. military, political, and economic backing--including for these latest murders in Gaza. The blood of the Palestinian people is on America's hands!
A Critical Moment:
Condemn Israel's Crimes, Uphold the Palestinian People's Just Struggle for Liberation
This wave of Palestinian protests highlights the deep yearning of the Palestinian people for real emancipation and an end to the horrors that have been inflicted on them over these past seven decades. Yet neither wing of the currently dominant Palestinian leadership--the Islamic fundamentalist Hamas and the oppressive conciliators of Fatah--represents the fundamental interests of the Palestinian people or the path forward.
These interests are NOT represented within the clash between U.S. imperialism, now in fascist form with the Trump/Pence regime, with its enforcer in Israel on one side, and the Islamic fascists represented by Hamas and its backer in Iran on the other. As Bob Avakian has analyzed:
What we see in contention here with Jihad on the one hand and McWorld/McCrusade [increasingly globalized western imperialism] on the other hand, are historically outmoded strata among colonized and oppressed humanity up against historically outmoded ruling strata of the imperialist system. These two reactionary poles reinforce each other, even while opposing each other. If you side with either of these "outmodeds," you end up strengthening both.
While this is a very important formulation and is crucial to understanding much of the dynamics driving things in the world in this period, at the same time we do have to be clear about which of these "historically outmodeds" has done the greater damage and poses the greater threat to humanity: It is the historically outmoded ruling strata of the imperialist system, and in particular the U.S. imperialists. (BAsics 1:28)
The current wave of Palestinian protests is totally just and must be supported. And it points to the basis and potential for bringing forward a whole other, emancipating way forward for the Palestinian people.
The significance of these protests is also heightened because they are taking place with a fascist regime now in charge in the U.S. and the storm clouds of war looming over the region, which could lead to even more murderous assaults on the Palestinian people. (The U.S. move of its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem points in this dangerous direction.)
So especially at this fraught, dangerous moment, it's imperative for many, many more to speak out against the crimes being carried out by Israel and the U.S., and to visibly demonstrate support for the just struggle of the Palestinian people.