Laila Anwar al-Ghandour becomes the face of Gaza carnage

15-05-2018 14:20

Source: AlJazeera


Laila Anwar al-Ghandour, an eight-month-old baby, has died of tear-gas inhalation at dawn, Gaza's ministry of health says, highlighting international outrage over the killings by Israeli soldiers of 60 Palestinians, who joined in a massive protest against the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem.


Laila was the youngest fatality following demonstrations on Monday, leading to the 70th anniversary on Tuesday of Nakba, or Catastrophe, when the state of Israel was established on May 15, 1948, and forced hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their homes.


According to the Palestine Network for Dialogue, Laila and the al-Ghandour family are residents of al-Shati district, also known as Beach Camp, in western Gaza.


The activist group posted on Tuesday images of the al-Ghandour family as they bid farewell to Laila.


At least eight Palestinians under the age of 18 were among the dead in the protest on Monday.


On Tuesday, Talal Adel, a 16-year-old, died after sustaining severe injuries on Monday. 


The Israeli military has imposed a land, sea and air blockade on the Gaza Strip for more than a decade, leaving the Palestinian territory cut off from the outside world, while leaving many of its residents impoverished, including the al-Ghandour family.


For the last seven weeks, Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have been protesting as part of a campaign demanding the right of return for Palestinian refugees to the areas they were forcibly expelled from in 1948.


Since the protests began on March 30, Israeli forces have killed at least 108 Palestinians in the coastal enclave and wounded about 12,000 people.


The bloodshed in Gaza contrasted with the events in Jerusalem on Monday, as US President Donald Trump's daughter, Ivanka, and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, joined Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in inaugurating the American embassy.


Images broadcast on television and splashed all over the internet and social media also provided sharp visual disparity of the two news events.


Another image that has been widely circulating online is that of Fadi Abu Salah, a double-amputee sitting in a wheelchair.


In the photo, Salah, who reportedly lost his legs in the 2008 Israeli assault in Gaza, was carrying an improvised slingshot. According to reports, he was killed by Israeli snipers east of Khan Younis on Monday.


Mahmoud Elbezzawy, an Egyptian actor, writer and director, paid tribute to Salah writing, "There can be no more proof than this photo that Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine."


The killings on Monday was the deadliest day since the Israeli siege of Gaza in 2014.


During the 50-day assault, at least 2,251 Palestinians were killed. Most of the fatalities were civilians, including 551 children.


At least 73 Israelis were also killed out of which 67 were soldiers during the 2014 assault.


At least 2,771 protesters were also reported injured as of Tuesday, according to Gaza ministry of health.  


Also on Tuesday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called on the residents across the occupied West Bank to hold a general strike in honour of those killed in Gaza.


Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan led the international condemnation of deaths, accusing Israel of "state terror" and "genocide", according to the state-run Anadolu news agency. 


Erdogan has declared a three days of national mourning in honour of those who were killed.


In the US, Bernie Sanders, the former Democratic presidential candidate and senator from Vermont, urged Washington DC to bring the adversaries together "to address Gaza's humanitarian crisis and stop this escalating violence".


Jeremy Corbyn, Britain's opposition leader and head of the Labour Party, also joined in the condemnation of the violence in Gaza, saying: "We cannot turn a blind eye to such wanton disregard for international law".


In a post on social media, Corbyn wrote that his party is committed to reviewing the UK's arms sales to Israel "while these violations continue".


"The international community must at last put its collective authority and weight behind achieving a lasting settlement that delivers peace, justice and security for both Israelis and Palestinians, who have waited so long to achieve their rights."


In response, the Trump administration said Hamas, the Palestinian group which governs the Gaza Strip, is to blame for the violence.


In a social media post, Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, said that "by blaming solely Hamas for the Gaza border killings, Trump gives the Israeli snipers a green light to keep killing".


Zeid Ra'ad al Hussein, the high commissioner of the UN human rights office, said that international law on the use of force appears "to be ignored again and again".


"It seems anyone is liable to be shot dead or injured: women, children, press, first responders, bystanders, and at almost any point up to 700m from the fence."

Inside Gaza, residents and activists have also made their collective voice heard on social media against the Israeli occupation and the latest violence.


As the protest raged on Monday, Mohammed Said Nashwan, a Gaza-based social activist, wrote in Arabic that Jerusalem is "the eternal capital of Palestine, and always will be".


"I swear the bloodshed will not go wasted."


His post on Twitter was retweeted at least 1,400 times.


On Tuesday, the UK government called for an independent investigation into the deadly Gaza protest.


Philip Luther, of the human-rights group Amnesty International, said in a statement on Tuesday that the killings of Palestinian protesters were "a violation of international standards, in some instances committing what appear to be wilful killings constituting war crimes".

Topics : #war crimes #Palestine #Israel #Gaza

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