Bloody Friday Massacre on the first day of Palestine's Great March of Return
On March 30, the commemoration of Land Day in Palestine, Palestinian factions and political parties came together for the beginning of a six week long nonviolent demonstration at the Gaza border to call for the Right of Return of refugees to their homes as guaranteed under UN Resolution 194. With international law on their side, around 30,000 came to protest and resist their 70 years of life as refugees; a siege that has robbed them of their freedom of movement; right to medicine and medical care; clean air and water. Modeled after Gandhi’s Salt March, they came to declare their right to live in dignity. UN experts say that Gaza will be uninhabitable by 2020. There are 2 million people in Gaza. 1.3 million are refugees who rely on UNWRA assistance, which was recently cut by the United States.
On this same day, Good Friday, and the eve of Passover, Israeli military snipers and soldiers fired rubber coated steel bullets, live ammunition, and tear gas dropped by drones at thousands of unarmed civilians. According to the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Health more than 2,000 were wounded, 750 were shot, and 16 people killed. The Israeli military has admitted that its bloody crackdown on unarmed Palestinian protesters was premeditated when they tweeted it was "accurate and measured. We know where every bullet landed."
JAI asks the its partners and friends to categorically condemn the killing of unarmed civilians because it is inhumane and against international law. As a Christian organization, we also ask you to reflect on the fact that this massacre happened on the western churches' Good Friday, a time when we remember the Passion of Jesus, his walk on the Via Dolorosa. We want you to condemn this atrocity, pray for the ending of the illegal siege and the liberation of all the Palestinian people, and work for a just peace by taking one or more of these actions:
- Plan events or actions in solidarity with the Gazan people or against the Land Day Massacre;
- Write editorials to the media to ask for fair and accurate reporting which include not calling what is happening "clashes";
- Support the UN Secretary General and the EU Foreign Policy Coordinator's call for an independent investigation;
- Tell your political leaders to condemn Israel's excessive use of force and to support UN Resolution 194; the Right of Return for all Palestinian refugees;
Support UN Human Rights Council calling on states to ensure respect for international law by preventing arms trade with Israel.