Excerpt from Ahmad Abu Rtemah: With the Great Return March, Palestinians Are Demanding a Life of Dignity
Today, the Palestinians of Gaza are attempting to break the chains that Israel has tried so hard to force us into. We are unarmed demonstrators confronting heavily armed soldiers with peaceful protest. As a result, it is difficult for Israel to smear us and justify its brutal violence, and the world is faced with the reality that innocent civilians are being killed just for exercising their right to protest peacefully. The excuses Israel uses to justify its policies toward the Palestinians are slowly losing their effectiveness, as people around the world are increasingly realizing that the true face of Israel is that of a brutal apartheid regime.
Despite the calculated violence and targeting of unarmed protesters by Israel, with our Great Return March, Palestinians in Gaza are stating loudly and clearly that we are still here. For Israel, it is our identity that is our crime, but we are celebrating the very identity that Israel tries to criminalize. People from all walks of life are joining the march. Artists are contributing with the traditional dabke dance, intellectuals are organizing reading circles, entertainers are dressing as clowns and playing with children. What has been most striking is the young, living and playing, their laughter the greatest protest of all.
The UN warned that Gaza may be uninhabitable in just two years. Resisting the fate that Israel has planned for us, we are fighting back peacefully with our bodies and our love for life, appealing to the justice that remains in the world.
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