Gazans mourn their dead. Reuters photo. Front photo by Ashraf Amra/APA
Last weekend's murder and mass wounding of scores of Palestinians - at least 17 dead, from 770 to 1,400 injured - as they marched, prayed and peacefully commemorated Land Day in the occupied Gaza Strip was abhorrent enough in and of itself. Now comes proof the carnage by what Ha'aretz columnist Gideon Levy calls Israeli "massacre forces" was premeditated. Israel had already announced plans to use “a lot of force,” including the deployment of 100 snipers, against thousands of unarmed Palestinians gathering for the annual event, which marks the start of a six-week-mobilization culminating in this year's 70th anniversary of the disastrous Nakba. In the end, they opened fire with live ammunition, rubber-coated bullets and tear gas; almost half of those killed or injured were kids or young people.
Afterwards, an IDF spokesperson bragged in a now-deleted tweet, "We arrived prepared and with precise reinforcements. Nothing was carried out uncontrolled; everything was accurate and measured, and we know where every bullet landed” - or, "pretty good war crimes huh?" Military and political leaders quickly doubled down, charging that all those killed were "terrorists" engaged in violence and arguing in the face of global calls for an investigation that “our soldiers deserve a commendation” - thus again proving, says Levy, "There is nothing cheaper in Israel than Palestinian blood." No more, says the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement, which evokes apartheid South Africa's 1960 massacre of peaceful protesters in Sharpeville to call for an arms embargo of Israel. Noting that today's apartheid regime has been emboldened by the support of Trump and the complicity of the E.U., they insist, "Israel’s impunity for the murder of Palestinians...must come to an end."
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Before the march. Photo by Mohammed Asad