Friends of the Earth International and Friends of the Earth Asia Pacific are deeply aggrieved by news that dozens of Palestinians have been killed at the Gaza border during the official opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem.
On Monday 14 May, Israel used lethal force against unarmed and peaceful Palestinian protesters, which resulted in the largest toll of Palestinians killed by Israelis in a single day since the last war against Gaza in 2014. More than 60 people were murdered and more than 2,800 Palestinian demonstrators were injured (at least 1,350 by gunfire) along the border fence with Gaza. The Israeli military’s use of gunfire proves the appalling indifference towards human life on the part of senior Israeli government and military officials.
Monday became the bloodiest day since demonstrations began seven weeks ago to demand the return of Palestinian refugees, known as the Great March of Return. The latest protests coincided with the formal relocation of the United States Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, on the 70th anniversary of the formation of Israel – Nakba Day, meaning catastrophe, for more than 700,000 Palestinians who were expelled from their homelands by Israel during the 1948 Palestine war.
Tens of thousands of Gaza’s two million residents, including men, women and children, as well as entire families, have been marching since 30 March towards farm lands adjacent to the Israeli border fence. They are peacefully demanding their rights to return to their homeland. Israel attacked all people, women, children even the handicapped in wheelchairs.
People in Gaza have lived in a catastrophic situation since Israel began its blockade in 2006. Palestinians endure very poor living conditions as they are denied even basic human rights – 97% of water is unsafe for drinking and medical services are limited, and this became worse after US funding to the UN agencies for Palestinian refugees was cut.
Friends of the Earth International and Friends of the Earth Asia Pacific condemn the continued silence of the international community, and its inability to put an end to the suffering of the people in Gaza and lift the Israeli blockade on Gaza.
We call on all global leaders to once and for all put an end to this appalling injustice caused by Israel, a state which violates international law daily in the absence of any form of accountability, and to end permanently the occupation of Palestinian lands. Finally, Friends of the Earth Asia Pacific calls on the global community to recognize and heed the call of the Palestinians who assert that Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine.
“Environmental Nabka: Environmental injustice and violations of the Israeli occupation of Palestine”: A report of the Friends of the Earth International observer mission to the West Bank