In Gaza, grief and pain for slain ‘angel of mercy’ paramedic

from al Jazeera

Too worn out to shed more tears, Sabreen al-Najjar recalls the last time she saw her daughter alive.

“She stood up and smiled at me, saying she was heading out to the protest,” the 43-year-old told Al Jazeera from her home in Khuza’a, southern Gaza Strip.

That protest was the 10th Friday demonstration held by Palestinians since March 30 near the fence with Israel dubbed the Great March of Return. Sabreen’s daughter, 21-year-old Razan, had been in all of them, volunteering as a paramedic to help those shot by Israeli snipers.

“In a blink of an eye, she was out of door. I ran to the balcony to watch her outside but she had already made her way to the end of the street,” Sabreen said on Saturday, surrounded by grieving relatives, friends and female patients her daughter had once treated.

“She flew like a bird in front of me.”

At the protest site in Khuza’a, witnesses said that Razan approached the fence on Friday in her medic’s vest and with both of her arms raised to show the Israeli soldiers a 100 yards away that she posed no threat.

Her intention was to evacuate a wounded protester lying on the other side of the fence, after he had managed to cut a hole through it.

Instead, Razan was shot in her chest with live ammunition, the single bullet escaping through a hole in the back of her vest.

She became the 119th Palestinian to be killed by Israeli forces since the popular protests began calling for the Palestinians’ right of return to the homes from which they were expelled from in 1948. More than 13,000 others have been wounded…

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Under the Cover of Robinson and Roseanne, Israel Continues Ethnic Cleansing of Gaza

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A New Flotilla Steams Towards Gaza

by Elizabeth Murray from Consortium News

“Islands Bruegge,” an idyllic harbor park that stretches along the east bank of Copenhagen, was alive with a celebratory crowd on Monday as three ships were about to steam towards Gaza. The 2018 Freedom Flotilla—two ships from Sweden and one from Norway — will call at ports in Germany, Holland, Belgium, France, Spain, Portugal and Italy before traveling through the Mediterranean Sea to its final destination: Gaza harbor.

Volunteer boat guides explained the history and mission of the Gaza Flotilla movement, which has organized a number of journeys to demonstrate solidarity with the people of Gaza and break the illegal economic siege. An independent U.N. panel and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) say the blockade violates the Geneva Conventions and is illegal.

Israel dragged the last Israeli settlers from Gaza and withdrew the Israeli Defense Force in 2005. When the Palestinian Authority lost a 2006 election in Gaza to Hamas, Israel imposed the illegal blockade. A considerable number of young Danish people learned about Gaza for the first time and walked away with new political awareness of the injustices suffered by Gaza’s children, who are denied the same carefree life enjoyed by Danish children.

The upbeat music and offerings of traditional Palestinian falafel wraps washed down with Danish beer created a festive atmosphere at the Freedom Flotilla tent Passerby lined up to buy ‘Boat to Gaza’ T-shirts, Palestinian kaffiyehs (traditional checkered scarves) while a Palestinian musician strummed the oud (traditional Palestinian lute) and sang a song of sentimental love for his Palestinian homeland. A local Palestinian man danced and waved the Palestinian flag while the crowd clapped along…

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Which side of history are you on? Gaza is the litmus test. Period

The world is watching and reacting in horror to what the IDF is doing to unarmed protesters in Gaza. The complicit media spin the blame, making the victims the perps and the perps the victims. What side of history are you on? These are the moments that test our metal and expose us for who we really are. Step up or step off.

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White House Defends Israel After Its Soldiers Reportedly Kill More than 50 Palestinian Protesters

from AlterNet

White House press secretary Raj Shah said there was no need for Israel’s leadership or soldiers to show any restraint after the country’s military reportedly killed more than 50 Palestinian protesters and wounded more than 1,000 others on Monday.

The protests and killings erupted on the same day that the United States celebrated the implementation of President Donald Trump’s move of the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, a deeply contentious decision. Recent protests in the region have also led to mass killings of Palestinians.

“The death toll is over 50 in Gaza,” a reporter asked Shah during the day’s briefing. “Is the U.S. calling on Israel to use restraint in dealing with these protests?”

“Well, we believe that, you know, Hamas is responsible for these tragic deaths, that their rather cynical exploitation of the situation is what’s leading to these events, and we want them to stop,” Shah said.

“So there’s no burden on Israel to do something to sort of rein it in?” the reporter replied.

Shah was clear that the White House thinks Israel has done nothing wrong: “No. We think we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that Hamas is the one that frankly bears responsibility for the dire situation right now in Gaza.”

Facebook labels Palestinian journalism “hate speech”

from Electronic Intifada

Facebook is defending its decision to shut down the page of a major Palestinian news outlet, describing the action as a move against “hate speech.”

On Saturday, the social media giant closed without warning the page of the Safa Palestinian Press Agency, which had 1.3 million followers, as well as Safa’s account on the photo sharing site Instagram.

On Tuesday, the Palestinian Media Association condemned Facebook’s widening assault on the free speech of Palestinian journalists, calling it “clear submission to the policies and dictates of the Israeli occupation which is pursuing Palestinian activists on the basis of their political views and intellectual positions and issuing prison sentences against them.”

But Facebook is justifying the removal of Safa’s account. “This page was correctly removed for violating our community standards,” a company spokesperson emailed The Electronic Intifada Monday evening. “There is no room for hate speech or incitement of violence on our platform.”…

According to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Facebook’s latest crackdown on Palestinian journalists and activists began several weeks ago, after Israeli occupation forces extrajudicially executed Ahmad Nasser Jarrar, a man Israel claims was involved in the shooting death of an Israeli settler in early January.

Israeli lawmakers also discussed how to suppress online content, including getting Facebook to take down images of Jarrar.

Since the beginning of the year, Haaretz says, citing an unnamed Palestinian activist who monitors the issue, about 500 Facebook pages of Palestinian activists and journalists have been closed by the company…

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Erdogan calls Netanyahu a ‘terrorist’ in wake of Gaza deaths

from RT

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has launched a blistering attack on Benjamin Netanyahu, calling his Israeli counterpart the “leader of a terrorist state” following the deadly shooting of protesters in Gaza.

Erdogan made the comments at his party’s congress in southern Turkey. Addressing the event, the president slammed Netanyahu’s criticism of Turkey’s military operation in Syria. “I do not need to tell the world how cruel the Israeli army is. We can see what this terror state is doing by looking at the situation in Gaza and Jerusalem,” Erdogan said, according to the Daily Sabah.

“Israel has carried out a massacre in Gaza and Netanyahu is a terrorist. We will continue to expose Israeli terror all the time and on all platforms,” he added.

Erdogan’s remarks are just the latest in a rapidly escalating war of words between the two nations. Earlier this week, Netanyahu suggested that Erdogan was playing an April Fool’s Day prank when his spokesman described Friday’s killing of protesters in Gaza as “inhumane.”

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