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The Great March of Return - GAZA

The Great March of Return - GAZA

Palestine Solidarity Network Aotearoa - New Zealand 10th April 2018

For a second week, thousands of Palestinians have protested along the eastern borders of the Gaza Strip, as part of the Great March of Return movement.

In response Israeli forces have killed 29 Palestinians including sixteen-year-old Husain Madi and photo-journalist Yaser Murtaja, and more than 2,500 have been injured across the occupied Palestinian territory.

“Where is condemnation of Israeli actions resulting in this appalling human toll by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Winston Peters” asks Billy Hania of PSN?
The ongoing “Great March of Return” began to affirm the right of return for Palestinian refugees to their ancestral homes and to protest the appalling conditions that they are forced to live in.

Despite the fact that the protestors were unarmed, Israeli forces deliberately targeted Palestinians with sniper fire, live ammunition, rubber-coated steel bullets and used drones for the first time in history to fire tear gas indiscriminately into the crowds.

The PSN spokesperson Hania says “we strongly condemn Israel’s deliberate and violent attacks against unarmed Palestinian protestors, and support the PLO’s call for an independent international commission of inquiry to investigate Israel’s murder of Palestinian demonstrators and its continued unlawful violations of international law and international humanitarian law”.

With a sense of shock and outrage, we also condemn the U.S. for preventing the UN Security Council from adopting a statement demanding that Israel respect international law and the right of Palestinian civilians to demonstrate peacefully. Despite the support of other members of the Security Council, the U.S. compounded its culpability by blocking the statement for the second time this week. Efforts by members of the White House and American administration, primarily U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, to safeguard Israel’s lawlessness and criminal behaviour are further cause for alarm, and it is time for New Zealand and other members of the international community to assume a moral and courageous stand and provide protection for the Palestinian people and genuine accountability for Israel.

Debbie Abbas says “we salute the courageous journalists in Palestine and abroad who have worked to present the Palestinian human narrative and report on Israel’s recent campaign of war crimes as the Palestinian people strive to achieve self-determination and freedom peacefully".

In direct contravention of Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that calls for the protection of the fundamental rights of freedom of expression and freedom of the press, these violations against journalists and members of the press are part of Israel’s systematic policies that deliberately target journalists and media institutions in Palestine. International law pertaining to the safety of journalists must be respected, and Israel must be held accountable in order to ensure it will refrain from employing such illegal policies.”

In the spirit of UNSCR Resolution 2334, New Zealand must call upon the United Nations to warn Israel that any future violations of the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention will result in the imposition of severe sanctions and an end to past impunity Hania says.

PSN will be holding weekly rallies to demonstrate support for the Palestinians under assault by Israeli IDF. No more silence Winston!

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