ActionAid’s statement on the violence in Palestine – Nakba Day

Yesterday 14th of May 2018, the Palestinian people witnessed another bloodbath whilst commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba of 1948. A day that saw some 750,000 Palestinians expelled from their homeland and more than 400 villages destroyed. This day which David Ben-Gurion’s hoped that the Palestinian refugees would disappear when he said to his son: “We must expel Arabs and take their place.”

Today we see the paradox of the world’s oppressors celebrating the inauguration of the USA embassy in the occupied Jerusalem, while a million Palestinian civilian demonstrators from all walks of life taking their route to the so-called ‘security fence’ in demand for their right of return their villages and towns.

As of writing this piece, 52 Palestinians were murdered in cold blood by the Israeli military machinery and leaving more than 2410 sustained severe injuries. Six of the slain Palestinians were minors under the age of 18, including one girl.

According to the ministry, 1,204 Palestinians were injured with live ammunition. 79 were injured in their necks, 161 in their arms, 62 in the back and chests, 52 in their stomachs, and 1,055 in their lower limbs. 203 of the injured were reported to be children, and 78 women.

Since the protests began on March 30, 2018, Israeli forces have killed 100 Palestinians in the coastal enclave and wounded close to 10,500 people.

As the Great March of Return reaches its pinnacle on Nakba Day, Tuesday May 15, the Israeli responded with even deadlier force; the death toll for today is shocking and the number of casualties is expected to increase dramatically.

Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas condemned what he called Israeli "massacres against our people” and declared three days of mourning in Palestine.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein said in a tweet: “Shocking killing of dozens, injury of hundreds by Israeli live fire in Gaza must stop now. The right to life must be respected. Those responsible for outrageous human rights violations must be held to account. The int'l community needs to ensure justice for victims”.

Amnesty International, the UN anti-racism committee and other organisations expressed their condemnation and concern at the events and called Israel to immediately stop the use of excessive force and live ammunition in dealing with unarmed protesters who pose no real threat to soldiers.

Human Rights Watch criticised Israel for using live rounds when there was no immediate threat to Israeli troops or civilians and said the policy had “resulted in a bloodbath that anyone could have foreseen”.

We will continue to monitor the situation in Gaza and provide whatever support we can for the victims and the people there.