Israel’s denial of rights: a global story for Palestinians
Israel’s apartheid and racism, its brutal occupation, its siege on Gaza, and its refusal to abide by international law manifests itself in the increasing suffering of Palestinians worldwide.
A look at just a few events of the last week alone shows the appalling crisis point reached due to Israel’s ability to violate Palestinian human rights with impunity.
In Gaza, Israeli forces opened fire on Palestinian fisherman in the coastal waters, and also on farmers on 26 and 28 April. They additionally fired smoke bombs onto farmland. This is a near daily occurrence in Gaza. In March alone, there were a total of 38 incidents of shootings, incursions into the Strip, and arrests, according to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR). Israeli planes continue to spray crops along the eastern Khan Younis border with poisonous pesticides that burn crops. Israeli jets also regularly fly over Gaza, breaking the sound barrier and causing sonic booms which terrorise Palestinian children already suffering from the trauma of last summer’s Israeli massacre. On 24 April, a 14-year-old boy was hit by a stray Israeli bullet while studying in his home, and is now in hospital in a critical condition.
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In the West Bank, 17-year-old Muhammad Abu Ghannam was shot dead by Israeli forces at an East Jerusalem checkpoint on 24 April. The next day, soldiers stormed a neighbourhood Palestinian Martyrs’ Centre, firing tear gas canisters. They then fired rubber-coated steel bullets at youth who protested the invasion of the centre, injuring 26. Most were hit in the upper body. On 29 April, the Israeli army kidnapped 19 Palestinians in dawn raids across the West Bank, raids which are regular and ongoing. Meanwhile, on 27 April, Israeli authorities invited tenders for new settler homes in East Jerusalem. Earlier in the month, the Israeli Supreme Court approved the application of a law allowing the Israeli state to seize Palestinian property in East Jerusalem where owners live in the West Bank or Gaza. Last week, extreme right- wing Israelis entered the Al Aqsa mosque compound under armed guard, while settlers raised the Israeli flagby the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron (Al Khalil).
In Israel, Israeli police demolished the Palestinian Bedouin village of Al Araqib for the 83rd time. The village stands in the Negev (Naqab) desert, where Israel is attempting to force Palestinian Bedouin from their ancestral land and into designated townships, freeing up the land for Israeli Jewish settlement. On 28 April, Palestinian citizens of Israel staged a general strike to protest against a wave of demolition of Palestinian homes in Israel.
Amongst the diaspora, Palestinians are increasingly present among those attempting tocross the Mediterranean by boat, fleeing horror in Syria, Lebanon and Gaza. Those who are caught and returned to Syria have been arrested and imprisoned by the Syrian government. And many die – Palestinians were among the 500 who drowned near Malta when their boat was rammed by traffickers. Israel refuses to abide by international law, which stipulates that refugees have the right to return to their homeland, condemning millions of Palestinians to languish in refugee camps in foreign countries.
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