Palestinian sources say hospitals and medics are struggling to cope with the severe injuries of civilians in yesterday’s Great Right of Return protests. Eight Gazans were shot and killed by Zionist occupation forces yesterday, which brings the death toll since the start of the protests on March 30 to 31.
For the second consecutive Friday, tens of thousands marched to the Gaza border area with Israel, demanding the right of return for Palestinian refugees. Live ammunition, rubber-coated steel bullet and tear gas fired at the rallies by Israeli soldiers, wounded over 2000 people. Ahmad Al Najaar, a member of the emergency committee in Gaza’s Ministry of Health says about 200 Gazans have been severely injured. The Palestinian Ministry of Health has sent out an appeal to assist with the needs to treat those injured.
“For the past 12 years, Gaza has been suffering due to the Israeli siege. Palestinians cannot afford basic needs and we have a chronic crisis as a result of the fuel and electricity shortage and shortage of medication and medical equipment. This escalation is doubling our suffering here in Gaza,” Al Najaar told VOC News today.
On social media, tributes were pouring in for a Palestinian journalist who was shot by Israeli forces during the mass demonstration on Friday. Yaser Murtaja, a photographer with the Gaza-based Ain Media agency, was shot in the stomach in Khuza’a in the south of the Gaza Strip. Al Najaar says Murtaja, 30, was hit despite wearing a blue flak jacket marked with the word “press”.
In a statement, BDS South Africa said it was shocked to learn of the death of the Palestinian journalist.
“Last month Yaser posted a picture of Gaza taken by a drone and said that he hoped to one day take such a photo from the sky instead of from the ground (click here). Israel unfortunately also controls the airspace above Gaza. Murtaja never got the opportunity to take the photo or to, even once, leave Gaza,” said BDS South Africa.
“Palestinian media analyst Nour Odeh has described Murtaja as “a beautiful soul and a gifted journalist [who] dedicated his short-lived career to telling his people’s story, showing their pain but also their joy, & dreams. His friends and colleagues mourn him with sorrow”. Our condolences go out from South Africa to the friends, family and media colleagues of Yaser Murtaja. Hamba kahle, Yaser.”
The Claremont Main Road Mosque in Cape Town condemned the calculated” killings of unarmed Palestinians civilians were in violation of international law. During Jumuah service on Friday, the masjid offered special prayers for Palestinians brutally killed and injured in the protests this past week.
“The return to occupied Palestinian lands is the legitimate and inalienable right of every individual Palestinian refugee. They have the right to protest and bring world attention to their plight and we have a moral obligation to respond. It is now more important than ever, for ordinary people across the world to take up the cause of the oppressed and dispossessed Palestinian people, to demand the boycott and isolation of the apartheid state of Israel by supporting the global Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel, to bring an end to the decades of state terror inflicted on the Palestinians,” said CMRM imam Dr Rashied Omar.
The mosque has called the ANC government to employ the same peaceful means of boycotting and isolating the Apartheid State of Israel that was so successful against the Apartheid South African regime, by severing all diplomatic, cultural and trade links with Israel.
“We call on the international community to enact its own resolutions in pursuit of justice for Palestinians by ending the impunity with which the Zionist State of Israel continues to perpetrate gross violations of human rights against the Palestinians.” VOC