This past Friday marked the 80th Great March of Return in the occupied Gaza Strip. Since March 2018, protesters have gathered near the Israel border fence every Friday. Israeli forces have killed over 300 Gazans since the protests started, most near the border fence.
At the most recent demonstrations, 95 protesters were injured, among them 43 children, 2 paramedics, and a journalist. 36 of those wounded were shot with live bullets, the rest either hit with rubber bullets or tear gas canisters.
Demonstrators are demanding an end to the blockade that has been in effect since 2007. The economy of Gaza is in dire straits, unemployment is around 50 percent, and about 70 percent for the occupied territories’ youth.
Israeli forces have killed children, journalists, paramedics, and disabled people since the protests began. In February, the UN released a report accusing Israeli soldiers of war crimes for how they targeted the civilian protesters.
The UN commission that investigated the protests said in a statement, “The Commission has reasonable grounds to believe that during the Great March of Return, Israeli soldiers committed violations of international human rights and humanitarian law. Some of those violations may constitute war crimes or crimes against humanity, and must be immediately investigated by Israel.”