[HCCN] The massacre will begin tomorrow

Dick Atlee atlee at dickatlee.com
Sun May 13 17:03:31 EDT 2018


For those concerned about the Palestinian situation:

This is a dangerous weekend in the Mideast.

Every Friday since March 30, residents of Gaza have been moving in large 
non-violent protests to the fence the Israeli government has built on 
confiscated Palestinian land, partly to voice their "Right of Return" under 
international law. Meanwhile, Israel has moved thousands soldiers to the 
fence and have been shooting tear gas and live ammunition at the 
protestors, including clearly-identified journalists and people hundreds of 
yards away from the fence. The casualties as of the day before this last 
Friday were at least 39 killed, and approximately 8000 people injured, 2100 
of them by live fire.

It has been the stated "mowing the grass" preference of the Israeli 
military -- in past such situations and in invasions -- to wound people. 
That is, to kill some, but wound many, particularly by blinding them or 
wrecking their lower limbs. The reason given is that it makes the victims a 
burden on the Gazan society without creating martyrs.

The last six weeks have shown how this policy plays out as the numbers of 
people involve increase. But this weekend, the U.S. is moving its embassy 
in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, in violation of common sense and 
international law, and it is expected to produce truly huge protests. If 
Israeli policy continues unchanged, the results will be truly appalling.

NYU professor Mark Crispin Miller sent out the following message a few 
hours ago, relevant to what is about to happen. I have replaced all the 
tracking links in the message he forwarded with direct links. The first 
link, to the photo blog, will bring these people closer to you.

But particularly, to understand what is going on, listen to or read the 
Intercept's "Deconstructed" podcast -- "The Killing Fields of Gaza" -- at 
https://theintercept.com/2018/04/27/deconstructed-podcast-israeli-activists-speak-out-against-the-occupation-of-gaza/ 
.

Dick

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Please donate to those nurses NOW, before tomorrow's protest:
https://www.youcaring.com/thefamiliesofgaza-1160587
either directly from that page, or via their Paypal account
anahona366 at gmail.com

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: B'Tselem <mail at btselem.org>

Dear ביאטה,

My name is Olfat al-Kurd. I live in Shuja'iya in Gaza. I am 37 years old 
and have four children. In July 2017, I joined the B’Tselem team as one of 
three field researchers in Gaza. In the past few weeks, since the protests 
along the fence with Israel began, we have been working around the clock to 
document, collect eyewitness accounts and testimonies of injured people, 
and gather information about the demonstrations and casualties.

I attend the weekly protests not only in my professional capacity but also 
as a Gazan. Some of my photos, posted on B’Tselem’s photo blog 
<https://www.btselem.org/photoblog/20180503_gaza_not_through_gun_sights>, 
show how most of the protesters gather in tents pitched far from the fence. 
These families enjoy entertainment stages, live music, food stalls and 
other family activities. We go there to convey a political message, to 
demonstrate, but non-violently – we don’t go there with weapons. The 
soldiers shoot at us nonetheless, and people are injured from live fire and 
tear gas. 
<https://www.btselem.org/gaza_strip/20180419_military_fires_tear_gas_at_gaza_protest_tents>

This week, a concerned Israeli colleague asked me why I keep attending the 
protests, even though it’s dangerous. I replied that I am, of course, 
afraid, sometimes so much that I fear I won’t come back.

But the truth is that nowhere in Gaza is safe – whether near the border or 
in our own homes. Israeli planes can bomb any house, anywhere, at any 
moment. We all live in constant dread of something terrible happening. 
Everyone in Gaza lost a relative in the last wars. I lost my brother in the 
2009 war.

The festival activities at the protests are a rare opportunity for us to 
breathe, meet people, and feel that we belong to something larger than 
ourselves. The open areas near the fence are the vastest in Gaza, but no 
one has dared go there since the last war. We can’t go to the beach any 
longer because sewage infrastructure has collapsed as a result of the 
blockade, and raw sewage flows into the sea. Many Gazans live in abject 
poverty and cannot afford to sit in a café or a restaurant, so they come to 
the protests with a coffee thermos and food.

Israel has been holding Gaza under blockade for more than ten years. Some 
of the young people participating in the protests and being wounded or even 
killed by soldiers, do not know what it’s like to have running water and a 
steady supply of electricity. They have never left Gaza and grew up in a 
prison.

You can’t visit us, Israel doesn’t allow anyone to see what’s going on 
here. There is no real life in Gaza. The whole place is clinically dead.

The younger generations are crushed by the hopelessness and death 
everywhere. The protests have given us all a spark of hope. They are our 
attempt to cry out to the world that it must wake up, that there are people 
here fighting for their most basic rights, which they are entitled to 
fulfill. We deserve to live, too.

Sincerely,

Olfat al-Kurd
Gaza Field Researcher
B'Tselem

We thank the 408 supporters who donated $52,040 to B'Tselem during March & 
April 2018. We won't be able to keep working without your generous support.
A special thanks to the 147 Israelis among them. Together we will stop the 
occupation. [Dick note: this organization is a different from, and older 
than, the nurse's organization.]

<https://www.btselem.org/donate>

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Shooting unarmed demonstrators is illegal and the command that allows it is 
manifestly illegal

Since 30 March 2018, Gazans have protested along the fence with Israel 
every Friday, with anywhere between thousands and tens of thousands of 
people participating. At least 39 people have been killed by live fire shot 
by Israeli security forces and, according to Palestinian Ministry of Health 
statistics, some 8,000 people have been wounded, more than 2,100 of them 
from live rounds.

Israeli security forces have been following manifestly unlawful orders for 
a month now, using live fire against unarmed protestors located on the 
other side of the fence, posing no danger to anyone. State officials refuse 
to change these orders, even in the face of the deaths and hundreds of 
injuries they have caused, claiming they are legal and defending them in 
court. However, as Justice Benjamin Halevy ruled in the Kafr Qasem case 
back in the 1950s, the illegality of these orders “pains the eye and 
outrages the heart, if the eye be not blind and the heart be not callous or 
corrupt”. Therefore, these orders must not be issued and must not be obeyed.

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B’Tselem to UN Secretary General: Protect Lives of Palestinian Protestors

Ahead of the UN Security Council's open debate on April 26th, and as the 
demonstrations along the Gaza-Israel fence are expected to continue, 
B’Tselem Executive Director Hagai El-Ad sent UN Secretary-General António 
Guterresa letter listing the names of the 35 Palestinians 
<https://www.btselem.org/press_release/20180426_btselem_to_un_secretary_general_protect_lives_of_palestinian_protestors> 
protestors shot to death (to that date) by Israeli forces during these 
demonstrations, four of whom were minors. El-Ad called upon the UN to do 
“all that is in its power – and its responsibility – in order to protect 
Palestinian lives and uphold international norms”, with the goal of 
immediately ending the illegal shooting of unarmed demonstrators in Gaza.

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On April 26th B'Tselem published the names of protestors shot and killed in 
Gaza demonstrations under manifestly illegal orders. The order to shoot at 
civilians who pose no danger to anyone is manifestly illegal. Use of lethal 
force is permitted only when there is a clear and present danger to life, 
as a last resort. The responsibility for issuing manifestly illegal orders 
lies primarily with the policy makers, including the prime minister, the 
defense minister and the chief of staff. It is forbidden to give and to 
obey such orders. Over 1,500 people have been injured by live fire.

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Israeli military fired teargas at family tents far from fence during Gaza 
protests, injuring hundreds

B’Tselem’s investigation has found that soldiers fired teargas at men, 
women and children  engaged in peaceful activities in tents pitched 
hundreds of meters from the fence during the recent Gaza protests. This is 
neither lawful nor justified: Israel has no right to disperse 
demonstrations inside Gaza or tell Gazans where they can be. It certainly 
may not fire teargas at demonstrators hundreds of meters from the fence who 
pose no threat to a soul.

If the heart be not callous: New position paper 
<https://www.btselem.org/publications/summaries/201804_if_the_heart_be_not_callous> 
by B’Tselem on the unlawful shooting of unarmed demonstrators in Gaza. 
*Despite the heavy toll on life and limb of Gazan protesters, all state and 
military officials refuse to cancel these manifestly unlawful open-fire 
orders and continue to issue – and justify – them. On 13 April 
2018, B’Tselem issued a position paper on its findings regarding the first 
day of protest, analyzing the illegality of orders to shoot at unarmed 
demonstrators who pose no danger to anyone.

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On 5 April 2018, B'Tselem launched a campaign 
<https://twitter.com/btselem/status/981541832839528448 (in 
Hebrew)> entitled “Sorry sir, I cannot shoot." in the Israeli media. The 
campaign included newspaper advertisements clarifying to Israeli soldiers 
that they must refuse to open fire on unarmed demonstrators. The 
organization is taking this unusual step following March 30th's events when 
soldiers used live fire against unarmed demonstrators.

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Photo Blog: Gaza not through gun sights

In recent weeks, tens of thousands of Gazans have protested along the fence 
<see first link, above> with Israel. Most have stayed several hundred 
meters away from the fence, with the demonstrations taking the form of a 
folk festival: entertainment stages, live music, food stalls and large 
tents where entire families spend the day.

Naturally, media coverage and public debate have focused on Israeli 
soldiers shooting demonstrators who approached the fence. Yet it is worth 
pausing over the vast majority of protesters, who have not been involved in 
such incidents. B’Tselem field researcher Olfat al-Kurd, Muhammad Sabah and 
Khaled al-‘Azayzeh documented not only casualties, but also the back line 
of the demonstrations: teens playing soccer, women baking bread, food 
stalls, and Gazans asking for an end to the Israeli blockade that has made 
their lives intolerable.

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Failing Gaza healthcare system after 10-year blockade barely handling 
2,000+ live fire injuries

Since 30 March 2018, more than 2,000 Palestinians have been injured by 
Israeli live fire at protests near the Gaza fence. Doctors there report 
unusually severe injuries and the healthcare system, already failing after 
a decade of Israeli blockade, cannot provide proper care 
<https://www.btselem.org/gaza_strip/20180510_failing_healthcare_system_barely_handling_injuries>. 
Rehabilitation options are also few and too expensive for most. Israel is 
responsible for this state of affairs: it ordered the unlawful shooting, 
brought the Gazan healthcare system to the verge of collapse and is denying 
the wounded rehabilitation – in or out of Gaza.




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