News Release

Israel Shooting Palestinian Protesters and the Gaza “Conspiracy of Silence”

BBC reports today: “Two Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces during fresh protests on Gaza’s border with Israel, Palestinian health ministry officials say. … Protesters set ablaze tires, hoping smoke will obscure the vision of Israeli snipers.”

[See live video from Gaza and live coverage from the pan-Arab network Al-Mayadeen. Also see @accuracy Twitter list on Israel-Palestine.]

RAJI SOURANI, pchr at pchrgaza.org, @pchrgaza
Sourani is executive director of the Palestinian Center for Human Rights in Gaza. The group just released its annual report. Sourani was recently on the program “Democracy Now”: “Massacre in Gaza: Israeli Forces Open Fire on Palestinians, Killing 18, Wounding As Many As 1,700.” Sourani spoke of “Eleven years of criminal, illegal, inhuman siege, which suffocated Gaza socially and economically, and three wars, where Israel was targeting … Palestinian civilians and civilian targets. All this time, when Israel didn’t allow the rebuilding of Gaza, and denied us our basic rights, to the level that we are not able to treat our water or our sewage. … So, people [are protesting because they] wanted, after all this conspiracy of silence, after all this pain and suffering, to demonstrate for their dignity.”

NOOR HARAZEEN, updatefromgaza at gmail.com
Harazeen is a Palestinian journalist and a TV correspondent for CGTN and teleSUR.

SANDY TOLAN, sandytolan at gmail.com
Tolan is author of The Lemon Tree: An Arab, A Jew, and the Heart of the Middle East and Children of the Stones. His pieces include “Witness to a Catastrophe” — largely about Palestinians in Gaza — for the Los Angeles Review of Books.

DIANA BUTTU, [in Haifa, Israel] dbuttu at gmail.com, @dianabuttu
Buttu is a Palestinian-Canadian lawyer and former Palestinian negotiator. See her interview with host Dennis Bernstein on Monday about the protests last Friday on the program “Flashpoints.” She said: “From video footage we can see that people were shot in the back. Others were shot for carrying tires or for simply walking into these areas. These were individuals who posed no threat whatsoever. Even if they were attempting to cross the border, you don’t use live fire to kill people who are crossing a border.

“And secondly, the point of this was to highlight the fact that Palestinians cannot return. Eighty percent of the Palestinian population of the Gaza Strip does not come from the Gaza Strip. They are actually refugees driven out by the Israelis. While Israel keeps claiming that there were attempts to ‘infiltrate,’ in any case, this is not a proper response.

“The fact that Israel was positioning snipers on the border indicates that they were ready, willing and able to shoot protesters in the back. The head of the Israeli defense establishment has said that every one of these snipers should be commended.”

The interview was just published by Consortium News. [There will be a memorial service for Consortium News founder Robert Parry in D.C. on April 14 and another in the Bay Area on May 19.]