MAY 3, 2018
SPECIAL UPDATES will be available weekly as needed. This update concerns the Gaza Fence protests between the Palestinians of Gaza and the Israeli Defense Forces. Please note: Opinions expressed in the following articles do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns.
“A group of 10 Democratic members of Congress released a statement Thursday calling on Israel and Palestinian protesters in Gaza to show restraint amid the violence on the Gaza border and ahead of the massive protests expected on May 15. ‘We are deeply concerned by the violence and the tragic loss of life along the border of Gaza,’ the 10 Democrats wrote. ‘As strong supporters of Israel and advocates for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, we respect Israel’s right to defend itself. However, short of a threat to human life, we call on the Israeli Defense Forces to immediately stop using deadly force against unarmed protestors.’ They added that ‘likewise, we respect the Palestinians who are advocating for change through peaceful means. However, we call on the Palestinian demonstrators to renounce the violence and inflammatory rhetoric expressed by Hamas.’”
“Three Palestinians were killed and at least 833 Palestinians were wounded Friday (April 27) as thousands participated in the ‘March of Return’ along the Israel-Gaza border for the fifth week in a row, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry. Of the wounded, at least 174 of which by live Israeli fire, four were medical staff and six were journalists, reported the ministry. Two of the wounded are said to be in critical condition, six in very serious condition and 234 in moderate condition.”
“I fully believe in the march’s tactics of unarmed, direct, civilian-led mass action. I have also been inspired by how the action has unified the Palestinian people in the politically fractured Gaza Strip. And the march is an effective way to highlight the unbearable living conditions facing residents of the Gaza Strip: four hours of electricity a day, the indignity of having our economy and borders under siege, the fear of having our homes shelled.”
“Every Friday for the past month, thousands of Palestinians have surged to Gaza’s border fence with Israel in a show of anger and defiance, some throwing stones and molotov cocktails, others simply wanting to be there. ‘Young people have nothing to lose.’ Across the 140-square-mile territory, Gazans are struggling to finance their daily lives. Young people, unable to pay for weddings or homes of their own, are delaying marriage, figures show, while health officials say suicide, once virtually unheard of in Gaza, is on the rise.”
Why are thousands of Palestinians risking their lives by running toward the Israeli snipers who guard the fence that encloses Gaza? Because Gaza is becoming uninhabitable. But the actor with the greatest power over Gaza is Israel. Israeli policies are instrumental in denying Gaza’s people the water, electricity, education and food they need to live decent lives. How do kind, respectable, well-meaning American Jews defend this? How do they endorse the strangulation of 2 million human beings? Orwell provided the answer. They do so because Jewish leaders, in both Israel and the United States, encase Israel’s actions in a fog of euphemism and lies.