The Great March of Return 🇵🇸

Site logo, white double quotation marks in a blue circle The Great March of Return The Palestinian flag.

On March 30, 2018, a series of non-violent protest demonstrations known as "The Great March of Return" began.

Thousands of Palestinians gathered to protest the Israeli occupation of Palestine and Israeli blockade of Gaza.

The demonstrations were peaceful and continued for months, with peak participation on Fridays.

In response to this peaceful protest, Israel deployed snipers using live ammunition against the people of Gaza.

Over several weeks, 223 Gazans were killed. 9,204 Gazans were injured.

In one bloody day, on May 14, 2018 alone, Israeli snipers killed 60 human beings, and wounded 1,162.

Imagine the bravery, to be a Gazan, coming out week after week for months in protest of the inhuman occupation, undeterred by the massacre.

For those looking to learn more about the Great March of Return, as well as to learn about what life was like in Gaza in 2018, I highly recommend the outstanding 2019 documentary film "Gaza Fights for Freedom" (available free on YouTube) by Abby Martin from the Empire Files. Follow the Empire Files on YouTube, Substack, Instagram, and their website.

The following excerpt comes from pages 28-30 of the 2020 book "I ACCUSE" by Dr. Norman Finkelstein. You can purchase a copy from the publisher's online bookstore, here.

I reproduce the text below, with full permission from the author:

Israel’s Deliberate Targeting of Unarmed Civilian Demonstrators During the “Great March of Return” (2018): A Sampling of “Emblematic” Cases Compiled by an Independent International Commission of Inquiry[92]

Note: Israel deployed—in its words—“specially trained snipers, in order to ensure accurate and measured use” of live ammunition.[93] The IDF subsequently stated that “nothing was carried out uncontrolled; everything was accurate and measured, and we know where every bullet landed,” while Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman stated that “Israeli soldiers did what was necessary. I think all our soldiers deserve a medal.”[94] The Commission of Inquiry found that “demonstrators who were hundreds of meters away from the Israeli forces and visibly engaged in civilian activities were intentionally shot. Journalists and health workers who were clearly marked as such were shot, as were children, women, and persons with disabilities”; it also found “reasonable grounds to believe that the Israeli security forces killed and maimed Palestinian demonstrators who did not pose an imminent threat of death or serious injury to others when they were shot.”[95]

Mohammad Obeid, a 24-year-old footballer for the Al Salah Sports Club…, took out his telephone and began recording a “selfie” video. An Israeli Security Forces sniper shot him in the right side of his right leg as he filmed himself approximately 150 meters from the separation fence. The bullet passed through his right leg and hit his left leg just above the knee, shattering the base of his femur.… He was standing alone. The area was quiet and calm, there was no shooting from the Israeli side, no tear gas, no stone throwing from the Palestinian side, no one had set fire to tires.… Mohammad was speaking calmly and filming himself when the ISF sniper shot him.[96]
Yousef Kronz was a 19-year-old student journalist when he attended the demonstration.… He wore a blue “PRESS” vest and carried his photography equipment, including a camera and a tripod. He sat cross-legged on top of a sand dune to take photographs of the demonstrators, at least 800 meters from the separation fence. After approximately 40 minutes…, as he stood up, the ISF shot him with two bullets in immediate succession which hit him in the right knee and the left knee.… Yousef’s right leg was later amputated.[97]
Abed Hawajri was a 41-year-old man…. The ISF shot him in the abdomen.… Abed was standing near the back of a crowd when shot, with nothing in his hands…, approximately 150 meters from the fence. He was taken to the hospital and died the same day.[98]
A 16-year-old boy climbed onto high ground … approximately 300 meters from the separation fence. He was distributing sandwiches to demonstrators. The ISF then shot him in the face with a single bullet, which entered his nose and exited his skull. As a result of his injuries, he had a fractured jaw, is deaf in one ear and is unable to taste or smell.[99]
Naji Abu Hojayeer was a 25-year-old mechanic…. An ISF soldier … shot him in the abdomen…. He died the same day.… Naji was standing 300 meters from the separation fence when he was shot. He was wrapped in a Palestinian flag, surrounded by hundreds of people.[100]
Mohammad Ajouri, a 17-year-old … member of the Palestinian Athletics Organization, … handed out onions and water to protestors to relieve symptoms of teargas inhalation. When he was approximately 300 meters away from the fence, ISF soldiers shot Mohammad in the back of his right leg. Doctors had to amputate his leg as a result.[101]
Jihad Abu Jamous was a 30-year-old man…. ISF soldiers shot him in the head with live ammunition when he was approximately 250 to 300 meters from the fence. He died immediately.[102]
Alaa Dali is a 21-year-old cyclist for the Palestinian Cycling Team. He had earned a slot to participate in the Asian Games in the summer of 2018.… An ISF sniper shot him in his right leg … as he stood alone watching the demonstration approximately 300 meters from the separation fence … while wearing his cycling gear and holding his bicycle. The nearest demonstrator was approximately 15 meters in front of him.… Doctors amputated Alaa’s leg above the knee in order to save his life.[103]
Ali Khafajah was a university student…. ISF soldiers shot him in the head with live ammunition…. Ali was talking on his phone while standing in a crowd about 150 meters from the separation fence when he was shot.… He died at the hospital.[104]
The ISF shot 14-year-old Mohammad Ayoub … in the head…. Mohammad was at least 200 meters from the separation fence when the ISF shot him.[105]
The ISF shot 14-year-old Haytham Jamal in the abdomen. He was killed with a single shot as he stood in a crowd watching the ISF fire tear gas at another group of demonstrators.[106]
Majdi Al Satari was an 11-year-old child…. He was shot in the head by live ammunition by an ISF sharpshooter while attending the protest…. Majdi died of severe brain lacerations…. Majdi was shot while standing … about 100 meters away from the security fence.[107]
ISF soldiers shot 16-year-old Ahmad Abu Tyoor in the thigh as he danced a traditional Palestinian dance alone with his hands in the air, around 10-15 meters from the separation fence. The bullet severed his femoral artery and he died of his wounds the following day.[108]
The ISF shot 11-year-old Nasser Mosabeh in the back of the head…. Nasser had been helping his two volunteer paramedic sisters treating injured people…. When the victim was shot, he was under a tree, 250 meters from the fence…. The bullet entered the right side of his head behind his ear and parts of his skull and brain were found close to his body.[109]
Musa Abu Hassainen was a 35-year-old Civil Defense paramedic. ISF soldiers killed him with a shot to the chest … while he was wearing a high-visibility Civil Defense vest.… He was approximately 250-300 meters from the fence when ISF soldiers shot him.[110]
Abed Abdullah Al Qotati was a 22-year-old volunteer paramedic…. ISF soldiers shot him in the chest in Rafah … as he was tending to an injured demonstrator near the separation fence. Abdullah was wearing a white paramedic jacket and carrying a red first-aid kit when the ISF soldiers shot him.… He died of bleeding and lacerations to his thoracic organs.[111]
Tarek Loubani is a Canadian-Palestinian physician.… The ISF shot him as he stood among a group of paramedics wearing his hospital uniform. He was shot with one bullet that passed through both legs. Visibility was clear. There were no demonstrators near the group of medics and there was no shooting from the ISF either immediately before or after he was shot.[112]
The ISF shot a 24-year-old freelance photojournalist … in the abdomen with live ammunition. He was standing with his back to the separation fence, around 300 meters away. When he was shot he was taking a break from photographing along with two other photojournalists from international news agencies. He was wearing a blue vest marked “PRESS” and the bullet entered his mid-section just below the vest.[113]
The ISF shot 30-year-old journalist Yasser Murtaja with live ammunition in the lower abdomen as he covered the demonstration site…. Yasser was wearing a dark blue bulletproof vest clearly marked with the word “PRESS,” and a blue helmet.… He was standing approximately 300 meters from the separation fence, behind a large group of demonstrators. Visibility was good, and there were no other shots fired in the vicinity at the time. The gunshot hit him in the abdomen … and [he] died of his injuries the following morning.[114]
The ISF killed Ahmed Abu Hussein, a 24-year-old journalist…. Publicly available video footage of Ahmed’s shooting ... clearly shows him standing still taking photographs of demonstrators…. At the moment he was shot, Abu Hussein was approximately 250-300 meters from the fence. He was clearly marked as a journalist, wearing a blue helmet and a blue vest marked “PRESS.”[115]
Fadi Abu Salmi was a 29-year-old double amputee…. The ISF shot him in the chest…. He died immediately. The ISF shot him … as he sat in his wheelchair under a tree approximately 250-300 meters from the separation fence with two friends.[116]
Ahmad Abu Aqel was 24 years old…. He walked with crutches…. He sat down alone on a small sand hill … approximately 150 meters from the separation fence … with his back towards the fence. The ISF shot him in the back of the head…. He died the same day.[117]

92 - Report of the Detailed Findings of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Protests in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (A/HRC/40/CRP.2; 18 March 2019).

93 - Ibid., para. 272 (see also para. 229).

94 - Ibid., paras. 743, 746.

95 - Ibid., paras. 692, 694 (see also paras. 519, 526, 536). In her Report on Preliminary Examination Activities 2019 (, the Prosecutor made mention of “alleged use of excessive and deadly force by Israeli forces in the context of the demonstrations” (para. 214; cf. para. 226), but scrupulously omitted the Commission of Inquiry’s crucial finding that Israeli forces were intentionally targeting civilians who posed no imminent threat.

96 - Ibid., para. 420.

97 - Ibid.

98 - Ibid.

99 - Ibid.

100 - Ibid.

101 - Ibid., para. 423.

102 - Ibid., para. 427.

103 - Ibid., para. 431.

104 - Ibid., para. 480.

105 - Ibid., para. 515.

106 - Ibid., para. 517.

107 - Ibid.

108 - Ibid.

109 - Ibid.

110 - Ibid., para. 524.

111 - Ibid.

112 - Ibid., para. 525.

113 - Ibid., para. 535.

114 - Ibid.

115 - Ibid.

116 - Ibid., para. 537.

117 - Ibid.