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MIDDLE EAST

Palestinians Hope For Justice After UN Report on Israel’s Excessive Use of Force

Gaza City. (Photo: blhphotography)
Gaza City. (Photo: blhphotography)

“We hope that the occupation is brought to justice and punished. We do hope that the occupation’s soldiers are being punished by means of international courts.”

The United Nations released a report in March concerning the Gaza Strip and Israeli use of force in 2018 against Palestinian protesters along the Gaza-Israel border.

The United Nations’ report suggested that Israel’s use of force against protesters on the Gaza border was disproportionate and caused numerous deaths and injured thousands more.

The panel’s report also indicated that the Israeli army may have committed war crimes against civilian protesters. The panel handed over its findings to U.N. Human Rights chief Michele Bachelet, who could give the case to the International Criminal Court for prosecution of Israeli army officials.

UN Report Welcomed, Prompts Hope For Justice 

The family of Jamal Mohammad Misleh, a 20-year-old youth, who was shot dead by an Israeli sniper on the eastern border in central Gaza Strip, expressed hope that their son’s killer would not go unpunished.

Portrait of Jamal Misleh (Photo: Rami Almegheri)

Portrait of Jamal Misleh (Photo: Rami Almegheri)

Jamal himself, is one of more than 260 Palestinian men, women and children, who were killed during the 2018 protests along the Gaza border with Israel, in what Palestinians called the Great March of Return.

“We hope that the occupation is brought to justice and punished. We do hope that the occupation’s soldiers are being punished by means of international courts. Those soldiers have claimed the lives of our children and caused many others to get wounded. We all hope that our rights are restored”, Tahrir Misleh, mother of late Jamal, told Citizen Truth at the family home in the central Gaza Strip refugee camp of Maghazi.

Another grieving mother, Samira Albaz (Um Iyad), from the nearby refugee camp of Nueirat, echoed the same hope when Citizen Truth met with her at her family home.

“We call upon the whole world to help us Palestinians get rid of the Israeli occupation and blockade of Gaza. We look forward to an end and my son is one of many killed by Israel. My son, Montaser, along with many others have defended their rights to live in dignity. Though their protests were very peaceful and non-violent, the Israeli military has deliberately killed them all and wounded many thousands others”, said Samira Albaz, who’s 18-year-old Palestinian son Montaser Albaz was killed, to Citizen Truth at her family home in the Nusierat refugee camp.

“Those international courts of justice should promptly bring those Israeli occupation soldiers to justice, in order to hold them accountable for the crimes against my son and others. No mother in the world can bear with the death of her beloved son, no one! Though, I try to practice my daily life, every night, when I put my head on my pillow, I begin crying until I fall asleep with a great deal of sadness,” Albaz added.

Montaser Albaz (Photo: Rami Almegheri)

Montaser Albaz (Photo: Rami Almegheri)

Doubt Abounds, “I can never believe that this report will do something.”

On the eastern parts of the Alburaij refugee camp, nearby to Montaser’s home, is the home of Mohannad Abu Tahoun. Tahoun is another Palestinian 20-year-old youth who was shot dead by an Israeli army sniper in central Gaza Strip.

“My son was apparently shot dead in the head, by a sniper, right to the east of Alburaij refugee camp, when he and many other local guys were protesting peacefully, about several months ago. Actually, I doubt that the world will act this time, I do not think that Israel is acting within international laws. Israel is now acting above the law and unfortunately, it is being utterly backed by U.S.A. Moreover, some Arab countries’ positions towards Israel, mainly normalization moves, have helped Israel go ahead in its brutal actions against the Palestinian people, including killing of our children, continuing illegal settlements building in the West Bank and turning a blind eye to real peace with the Palestinians. Previous U.N. similar reports had failed, and how come this new one will succeed? How come ?” Baker Abu Tahoun, father of the late Mohannad and five other children, said to Citizen Truth.

Father of Mohannad Abu Tahoun speaks with Citizen Truth reporter Rami Almeghari. (Photo: Rami Almeghari )

Father of Mohannad Abu Tahoun speaks with Citizen Truth reporter Rami Almeghari. (Photo: Rami Almeghari)

Among those affected by the Israeli army actions along the eastern borders of Gaza, are many thousands of Palestinian young men and children, who have been shot and wounded by Israeli army snipers.

The 28-year-old Tareq Alsa’dy, father of three young children, spoke to Citizen Truth while at his home in the Maghazi refugee camp. The man is relies on a walker after he was shot in both legs. One of the shots was an explosive bullet. Tareq is now waiting for a surgical operation for his right leg.

“I can never believe that this report will do something. I do not know really what to say. We in Gaza are merely helpless refugees and Israel is a state. I never expect this report to come out with any concrete action”, Tareq told Citizen Truth.

Mohammad Almalak, a 25-year-old man from the central Gaza Strip refugee camp of Nuseirat was also shot and wounded by an explosive bullet. As a result, his right leg is fractured and he is in need of surgery.

“I do hope that any actions by world bodies including the U.N., would eventually lead to better treatment of my leg. In here, local doctors can not intervene because of shrapnel into my leg. I have been advised that my treatment could be completed successfully, outside of the Gaza Strip,” Mohammad told Citizen Truth at his Nusierat home.

Prior to the injury, several months ago, Mohammad worked with a local water desalination plant, distributing water to local households. Pending surgery, Mohammad moves feebly with the help of a stick.

Since March 30 of last year, Palestinian crowds have been protesting each week along the eastern borders of Gaza.  The march is to assert the Palestinian refugees’ right to return to their historical Palestinian homeland and an attempt to lift the 12-year-long Israeli blockade of Gaza.

Organizers of Great March Respond

Organizers of the Great Return welcomed the U.N. Report and hoped for concrete steps towards achieving justice for Palestinians in Gaza.

“We have decided to use the peaceful methods and with this report by the U.N., which comes while such a peaceful struggle is going on, the report, itself, looks different from previous ones. This would mean that the march has been recognized internationally. This is probably the first kind of report that is issued, while the struggle itself is continuing. We just hope that the report will come out with forcing the Israeli occupation to stop its brutal actions against the peaceful protesters. The real relief to the grieved families should be holding the Israeli military accountable and then punished for the crimes it has committed, so far, against Palestinian protesters”, Essam Hammad, member of the legal and international communication committee of the Great March of Return, told Citizen Truth.

According to the Gaza-based Palestinian health ministry, Israeli army fire has so far claimed the lives of more than 260  Palestinians, including children, women, paramedics and journalists. The number of those wounded has exceeded 20,000, 134 of them have had limbs amputated.

“The international community should help us get rid of the occupation and blockade. My son and many others, have been protesting for the sake of dignity and normal lives,” said Samira Albaz.

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Rami Almeghari

Rami Almeghari is a freelance independent writer, journalist and lecturer, based in the Gaza Strip. Rami has contributed in English to several media outlets worldwide, including print, radio and TV. He can be reached on facebook as Rami Munir Almeghari and on email as [email protected]

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