It amazing when you have the resilience to continue your struggle despite of all obstacles you’re still facing. It deserves respect when it’s relating to a nation who scarifies all it has for the sake of freedom and dignity. It’s incredible when you see how people are killed on daily basis and despite of that they never give up. Maybe, when you are reading this article, you will guess that it’s a fiction story or a story of a legend nation who lived and died in the past. But the fact is that it’s not fiction, it’s— real. Yes, it’s something to be proud of when you are writing about such a nation, such heroes who won’t ever be forgotten in history— they are the Palestinian nation.
This story of struggle and steadfastness began in the 1948 when an occupier came from an unknown place to expel, dispossess and displace the indigenous people from their own land and homes and then claimed that it’s his own land. With the help from Britain, heavy armed gangs occupied the land, killed thousands of Palestinians, expelled others to create the Palestinian refugee crisis.
“After we had tried to fight using stones and sticks, we couldn’t be steadfast in front of those gangs’ troops,” a Palestinian grandfather refugee said.
Some of the Palestinians were forced to leave their lands to Gaza and West Bank, others to the other countries, facing untold sufferings. The grandfather continued: “We couldn’t find shelters to live in for days, neither food nor water, walked for days trying to survive. Yet, despite the excruciating pain, we’d never gave up and we struggled until we reached the Gaza Strip where our brothers hosted us, and then, the UNRWA came and gave us tents to live in., I can’t deny that we suffered the windy, rainy days, and suffered severe illnesses, but our steadfastness was stronger than the worst circumstances.”
“We suffered from that day and we are still suffering till this day.”
Dear reader, don’t be surprised. This is the truth about the Palestinian people who continue to write their heroic stories in history.
In 1969, the Israeli occupation forces launched another aggression against the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. They killed thousands and expelled others without any justification, claiming that they are the real owners of the land in an atmosphere of total silence by the Security Council and the International community.
Since that time until 1987, Israel continued to pursue their criminal and terrorist activities against Palestinian civilians. On 9 December 1987, in the Jabalia refugee camp, north of the Gaza Strip, after an Israeli occupation forces' truck collided with a civilian car, killing four Palestinians, something momentous was to happen. In the wake of the criminal incident, a Palestinian uprising “The First Intifada” broke out. It was a protest against Israeli repression including "beatings, shootings, killings, house demolitions, uprooting of trees, deportations, extended imprisonments, and detentions without trial. Israel, deploying some 80,000 soldiers and initially firing live rounds, killed a large number of Palestinians. In the first 13 months, 332 Palestinians and 12 Israelis were killed. Given the high proportion of children, youths and civilians killed, it then adopted a policy of 'might, power, and beatings,' namely "breaking Palestinians' bones". The global diffusion of images of soldiers beating adolescents with clubs then led to the adoption of firing semi-lethal plastic bullets. In the intifada's first year, Israeli security forces killed 311 Palestinians, of which 53 were under the age of 17. Over the first two years, according to Save the Children, an estimated 7% of all Palestinians under 18 years of age suffered injuries from shootings, beatings, or tear gas. Over six years the IDF killed an estimated 1,162–1,204 Palestinians. Between 23,600–29,900 Palestinian children required medical treatment from IDF beatings in the first 2 years.. Palestinians resisted and fought with primitive means and killed 160 Israeli occupation soldiers . The uprising lasted from December 1987 until the Madrid Conference in 1991, though some date its conclusion to 1993, with the signing of the Oslo Accords.
The Oslo Accords marked the start of the Oslo process, a peace process aimed at achieving a peace treaty based on United Nations Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338, and at fulfilling the "right of the Palestinian people to self-determination. Most of the Palestinians didn’t accept that accord and considered it as high treason and up to this day because it didn’t achieve any peace process, it just paved the way for the occupation process to commit more crimes against the Palestinians. The most valid proof of that was when the Ariel Sharon staged a provocative visit to Al-Aqsa Mosque in 2000, which led to new Palestinian uprising “The Second Intifada”.
In the Second Intifada, Israel killed 3000 of Palestinians by tank and gunfire and air attacks, and assassinations. Once again, Palestinians struggled, fought and killed about 1,000 of Israeli occupation forces in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. It lasted until the Israeli withdrawal and disengagement from the Gaza Strip in 2005 due to the Palestinians’ struggle and resistance. This is the story of my heroic and persistent people. The Palestinian resistance struggled until it finally succeeded in forcing the Israeli occupation to leave the Gaza Strip For good.
Then a sequence of events took place until the date when Israel and its allies decided to impose a siege on Gaza in 2006 after Hamas won the legislative elections. As a result of the Gaza siege, civilians suffered everything in life, the shortage of electricity, medicines, food, money and all spheres of life. The thing was even more far-reaching was the 3 deadly aggressions that Israel launched against Gaza.
On 27 December 2008, Israel launched a massive military offensive against the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. The Strip had been placed under an Israeli-led siege a year earlier, subjecting the 360 square-kilometer-enclave to a land, air and sea blockade. Codenamed Operation Cast Lead, this offensive began at 11am on a Saturday morning, with Israeli Air Force jets firing on targets across the territory. Ynet reported at the time that “80 jets, warplanes and helicopters dropped over 100 bombs on dozens of targets [during] the initial strike.” Among the targets were the small fishing port and the main police compound in Gaza City. According to figures from Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem, 1,390 Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip during Operation Cast Lead. Among those killed were 344 minors and 110 women. B’Tselem estimates that 759 of those killed in Gaza were Palestinians who did not take part in hostilities, and yet were still killed by Israeli forces.
On 14 November 2012, Israel launched “Operation Pillar of Defense” against the Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip. Over the eight days, almost 175 Palestinians were killed and more than 1,000 were injured.
On 8 July 2014, Israel launched one of its deadliest military offensives against the Gaza Strip in recent history. The conflict left 2,251 people dead, with more than 11,000 wounded, according to Palestinian and UN sources. Four years on, Gaza is still subject to intense attacks by Israel as well as the ongoing blockade which has been enforced for more than 11 years.
After those 3 deadly aggressions, Gaza continues to bathe beacon of the steadfastness as manifested by of people. Despite the worst circumstances due to the immoral and illegal siege, and after more than 12 years of it, Gazans had no choice but to protest near the Israeli separating fence to pressure the Israeli occupation to break the brutal siege, to call for the right of return to their occupied lands which there were evicted from the Israeli militia gangs in 1948. The people of Gaza are practicing their right to peaceful assembly as enshrined in international law, and to send a message to the International community that they need their help to put an end to these crises which affected and deteriorated all aspects of life in the Gaza Strip.
Great March of Return
The Great March of Return protests started on March 30, the commemoration of Land Day, which marks the events of March 30, 1976, when Israeli police shot and killed six Palestinian citizens of Israel as they protested against the Israeli government's expropriation of land.
The protestors have fair demands. They call for the right of return of the Palestinian refugees by forcing Israel to apply UN resolution 194 and an end of the siege imposed on the Gaza Strip by Israel for over a decade, which has caused deplorable suffering to the Palestinians.
Around two-thirds of the Palestinians living in the Strip are refugees, more than 80 percent of the population relies on humanitarian aid.
Since the beginning of the Great March of Return, Israeli occupation forces have used excessive force against the peaceful Palestinian protesters, killing more than 260, and injured more than 28,000.
On the first day of the Great March of Return, Israel killed 15 and nearly 1500 injured, according to the Ministry of Health.
Following the establishment of Israel, Prime Minister David Ben Gurion ordered the army to shoot and kill any Palestinian who dared to cross the new borders to return to their land, Edo Konard, the deputy editor & writer at Israeli 972mag in a tweet said that 70 years later, the IDF is implementing the exact same policy at the Gaza's 'Great Return March.'
Meanwhile, Israeli deliberately targeted journalists, medics, civilians, and children claiming that they were members of Hamas movement, while they were simply unarmed protestors who posed no threat to Israeli occupation soldiers.
During the protests, Israel committed massacres against civilians in Gaza, most notably the May 14, 2018 massacre. Israeli forces massacred almost 60 Palestinian protesters who were marching along the boundaries of the besieged Gaza Strip, 2,800 injured, half were shot with live ammunition.
Fishing in stagnant water
Israel justified its crimes to the International community that it maintains the right to defend itself. Thus, Israeli authorities gave the green light to its military troops to kill and target civilians who posed no imminent danger to them.
A report issued by the United Nations Humans Rights Council concluded that Israel’s killing of Palestinians at the Great Return March may amount to war crimes.
The 1st anniversary of the Great March of Return
The High National Commission for Return and Breaking the Siege in Gaza called for an unprecedented mass participation on Saturday, coinciding with the first anniversary the return marches.
In a press conference held on Monday, the commission said that it would not step back from land and sea marches until it achieves its goals, stressing that the return marches are a peaceful movement rightfully practiced the Palestinian people to restore their rights.
The first anniversary of the return marches will take place on 30th of March marking the annual anniversary of Palestinian Land Day.
The commission member, Ahmed Al-Mudalal, called on Palestinians to join in the mass "rally of Land Day."
"The protest will witness Palestinian masses that will restore glory to our cause and strength to our people," he said, calling on the national community to mobilize and participate in it.
He stressed that the March of Return and breaking the siege with all its tools will continue, explaining that “it emphasizes the unity of our people and the vitality of its cause, and will never stop until the achievement of its objectives in full.”
Since 30 March, Palestinian citizens have been holding peaceful demonstrations in the return camps in the eastern Gaza Strip's five governorates, calling for the right of return and the breaking of the 13-year-old blockade.
Palestinians in Gaza will participate the first anniversary of the Great March of Return. They will adopt all peaceful means of protest. Yet, no one knows his destiny, maybe he will be killed, injured, and despite of that they assert to win their basic rights that Israel stole from them and to break the brutal siege impost against them.
“I’m going to participate in the million-people protest on Saturday. Don’t be sad if I getkilled. It’s my duty to go and participate,” a Palestinian youth told his mother.
Nelson Mandela said that overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity— It is an act of justice. It is the protection of a fundamental human right, the right to dignity and a decent life, and this exactly what Palestinians are aiming at— it’s the dignity of life.
To be or not to be
Palestinians won’t give up and will continue their protests against the Israeli occupation until breaking the siege and their return to their occupied lands.
Unknown fate awaits the Palestinians on Saturday, and despite of that they are going to participate in the marches fearlessly and without giving up.