Gazan journalist: 'We are not numbers'

Issue 
Yousef Al-Helou.

Yousef Al-Helou is a British-based journalist from Gaza city who has worked with Al Araby TV Network. He currently manages Gaza TV News. Al-Helou sent the below greetings to a screening the Palestinian film The Wanted 18 in Geelong organised by Socialist Alliance on May 18.

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Palestinians are not numbers! The Israeli occupation forces have been dehumanising the Palestinians for a long time and manipulating the facts. They portray the indigenous natives of the land — Palestinians — as the victimisers simply for fighting for their right to be a free nation, for self determination, for equal rights under the ongoing 70 years of military occupation.

The right of Palestinian refugees to return where their ancestors were forced to flee in 1948 is a sacred right. The humanitarian situation in Gaza is a man-made disaster as a result of the ongoing 12-year crippling illegal Israeli siege imposed on Gaza’s 2 million people, who are living in a big cage.

The unarmed protesters killed by Israel [since the Great March of Return began on March 30] were just trying to protest at Gaza’s perimeter known as the security fence, an armistice line drew back in 1948 to prevent the refugees returning to their homes and towns. Besides Gaza is not a sovereign country to claim that its people are trying to infiltrate the “border”.

Gaza is still under Israeli occupation. It’s airspace, territorial waters on the Mediterranean and border crossings are under Israeli control. It has been subjected to all-out devastating onslaughts and have been used as an experimental field to test US-Israeli weapons against the civilian population, half of whom are children.

In recent weeks, dozens have been killed and thousands injured, including children, medics and journalists despite Israel’s claim its snipers know where every bullet landed. To add another ugly arrogant statement to those already made to justify the horrific massacre on May 14, that left more than 60 dead, an Israeli army official said his army has enough bullets to kill the thousands of unarmed protestors along the border.

Another statement by an Israeli government spokesperson states that the army killed the protesters because Israel could not put that many protesters in jail.

The horror show, as Amnesty International described it on that day, was the bloodiest since the 2014 war on Gaza.

The protesters went out to voice their rejection of the relocation of the US Embassy to Jerusalem. Many Palestinians, including Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, say the new embassy is a new Israeli settlement.

Seventy years on, Palestinians will never give up their inalienable rights. They will not vanish. The old will die but the young will not forget. Free Palestine.