Israel’s Unrelenting Killings, Siege Try to Crush Gaza’s Protests
Israeli forces have shot dead three more Palestinians, including an 11-year old boy, protesting in Gaza’s Great March of Return. We speak to Ali Abunimah of The Electronic Intifada
AARON MATE: It’s The Real News. I’m Aaron Mate. This is part two with Ali Abunimah. He is co-founder of The Electronic Intifada. And in part one, we talked about the freedom of Ahed Tamimi after eight months in an Israeli prison, the jailed Palestinian teenager who was filmed slapping an Israeli soldier after Israeli forces shot her cousin in the face and left him with serious injuries.
Now in part two we’re going to talk about Gaza, where the weekly Great March of Return protests are entering their fifth full month. Every Friday, Palestinians have been coming out in large numbers. They’ve been shot at by Israeli soldiers. The death toll now is at least 150 on the Palestinian side. The latest victims include Majdi al-Satari. He’s 11 years old. And he was laid to rest this weekend after being shot.
So Ali, if you could talk about how in the face of these constant attacks, in the face of the world standing by, Palestinians are still coming out. Talk to us about what is happening there.
ALI ABUNIMAH: It’s been 18 weeks, as we speak of Great March of Return protests. And as you mentioned, more than 150 people have been killed, the vast majority unarmed protesters being shot by Israeli snipers. More than two dozen children, including Majdi al-Satari, who you mentioned. There have also been children killed in Israeli airstrikes, like Amir and Louay, two 14-year-old friends who were killed while playing in the heart of Gaza City when Israel bombed al-Katiba Square, an area right in the heart of Gaza City, a couple of weeks ago.
And yet the protests continue because life in Gaza is simply intolerable. Anyone you talk to there will tell you that. And it’s intolerable because of the 11-year-siege and blockade that Israel has imposed. It is a hermetic siege. On the one hand, Israel claims, oh, we no longer control Gaza. Well, Israel controls everything that comes in and out of Gaza. Just in recent hours, Israeli forces abducted on the high seas the latest flotilla trying to reach Gaza carrying international activists from around the world. And in recent weeks, as collective punishment for the kites, the burning kites that some people have been sending from Gaza which have caused fires in Israel- no injuries, but fires- Israel cut off the only commercial goods crossing into Gaza, including fuel for the hospitals. And that has, in the words of all the major international organizations and the U.N., put an already dire situation in Gaza into an even more severe tailspin, which comes on top of the Trump administration’s freezing of more than $300 million in U.S. funding for UNRA, the U.N. agency for Palestine refugees.
So all of this has reduced the two million people in Gaza- half of whom are children- so one million children to an intolerable situation, in a territory which is cut off from the world, which has polluted water, hospitals that are in crisis and in a state of collapse, an economy that has collapsed because of the Israeli siege, unemployment at more than 50 percent. And so people are living in a ghetto, and feel that risking death from Israeli bullets- nobody wants to die, but risking death from Israeli bullets in order to tell the world that we’re here is preferable to dying slowly and silently as Israel and its allies would like the Palestinians to do.
AARON MATE: Ali Abunimah, co-founder of The Electronic Intifada. His latest book is The Battle for Justice in Palestine. Ali, thank you.
ALI ABUNIMAH: Thank you, Aaron.
AARON MATE: And thank you for joining us on The Real News.