Friday March 30 2018 saw the murder of sixteen Palestinians and the injury of at least 1500, mostly from live ammunition by Israeli troops as they protested inside Gaza, reports Susan Moore. The Palestinian action was calling for an end for the illegal blockade of the territory as well as for the right of return. Israel had imposed a no-go zone which extended hundreds of metres inside Gaza along the boundary and then used 100 snipers to attack the marchers.
The Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC) put it like this: “Evoking memories of the South African apartheid regime’s massacre of peaceful protesters in Sharpeville in 1960, Israel’s military committed a new massacre against Palestinian civilians as they were peacefully commemorating Palestinian Land Day.” The BNC went on to underline the importance of stepping up “accountability measures against Israel, particularly a two-way military embargo, as was imposed against apartheid South Africa.
As the Electronic Intifada reported the Israeli army posted a statement on Twitter on Saturday apparently accepting full responsibility for the killings a day earlier. The army then quickly deleted the admission but not before a copy was made by the human rights group B’Tselem.
The now-deleted tweet from the official @IDFSpokesperson account stated: “Yesterday we saw 30,000 people; we arrived prepared and with precise reinforcements. Nothing was carried out uncontrolled; everything was accurate and measured, and we know where every bullet landed.”
The fact that videos widely shared on social media, show irrefutable evidence that 19 year old Abd al-Fattah Abd al-Nabi was lethally shot in the head running away from the boundary fence may be one of the reasons the tweet was withdrawn.
March 30 has been an important day in the Palestinian calendar since 1976, when thousands of Palestinian citizens of Israel marched in towns and villages across the region of Galilee, in the north of present-day Israel, and a general strike was proclaimed to protest that state’s expropriation of vast tracts of land as part of its openly declared policy to take that land at the expense of the indigenous population. Army and border police, including armored units, were dispatched to many villages where protests were expected. Violent confrontations ensued, and six Arabs were killed, tens wounded and hundreds arrested by the Israelis. Since then it has been marked as Land Day.
Ali Abunimah explained its significance like this in an article in the Electronic Intifada in 2014:
“Its commemoration is a reaffirmation that the Palestinians who remained in the areas on which Israel was declared in 1948 are an inseparable part of the Palestinian people and their struggle.Land Day continues to resonate with Palestinians everywhere because it does not just mark a past historical event, but draws attention to Israel’s ongoing violent, settler-colonial process…. “
2018 is also an important year in the calendar of Palestinian resistance, marking 70 years since the Nakba. The protests starting on Land Day are the beginning of six weeks of action which will culminate on May 15, Nakba Day.
Israel’s arrogance, undoubtedly bolstered by Trump’s decision to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem, was graphically demonstrated by their ambassador to Britain, Mark Regev, in his dismissal of even the mildest criticism of Israel’s slaughter of Palestinian civilians. In the context where the BBC routinely repeats Israeli propaganda, such as the notion that Gaza is “controlled” by Hamas, such scorn is bolstered by the British establishment.
Nevertheless, support for the Palestinian struggle and particularly for the demands of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions continue to grow – and are themselves part of what determines Israel’s aggression.
These are just some of the reasons why people will be protesting in London on April 7.
Protest for Gaza: Stop the Killing
Join us this coming Saturday to call for an end to the siege of Gaza and ask UK government to condemn Israel’s actions.
When: Saturday 7 April, from 1pm – 3pm.
Where: Opposite Downing Street, SW1A 2AA.
Nearest Station: Westminster.
Organised by Friends of Al-Aqsa, Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Palestinian Forum in Britain, Stop the War, Supported by EuroPal.