Gaza: The Palestinians who died during the Great March of Return

A young boy carries a Palestinian flag during a Great March of Return demonstration in Gaza, May 14, 2018. (photo: AFP)

Scores of protesting Palestinians were killed by Israeli soldiers during 2018. These are some of their stories.

By Ahmad Nafi and Chloé Benoistor | Middle East Eye | Dec 27, 2018

The UN General Assembly denounced Israel’s use of force against the demonstrators as ‘excessive, disproportionate and indiscriminate,’ while many rights groups slammed it as illegal, ‘horrifying’ and ‘calculated.’

One of the most enduring popular movements of 2018 has been the ongoing Great March of Return in the besieged Gaza Strip.

Since March 30, thousands of Palestinians in the small coastal territory have demonstrated along the boundary with Israel, demanding the implementation of Palestinian refugees’ right of return and an end to the crippling 11-year siege of Gaza.

But such high-scale mobilization has come at a high cost: according to Middle East Eye’s calculations, 190 Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces within the scope of the demonstrations between March 30 and November 30 — equivalent to one Palestinian killed every 31 hours in eight months.

The numbers exclude more than 50 victims of air strikes or other Israeli military actions when demonstrations were not taking place.

The death toll peaked on May 14 — the day the US opened its embassy in Jerusalem — when 68 people were killed.

During that same time frame, more than 25,000 Palestinians were wounded by Israeli forces in Gaza, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. One Israeli soldier was also killed within the context of the March.

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