50 Palestinian protesters have been blinded by shots to the eye at Gaza fence protests
PAJU note: Israeli snipers- representing the “only democracy in the Middle East” – have been shooting down Palestinian protesters peacefully demonstrating every Friday against Israel’s illegal blockade of Gaza for months now. There have been hundreds of casualties. The blockade has been going on for nearly twelve years. Now it has been revealed that Israeli snipers are targeting the eyes of the Palestinian protesters (see the text below).
It has also been revealed that the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) planned to form a group of snipers to shoot down Indigenous demonstrators protesting against the proposed construction of a pipeline on their territory. (See the link to the article below). One wonders if the RCMP has taken its inspiration from Israeli snipers, or if the RCMP trains with the Israelis.
Media coverage and social media posts went wild when Palestinian photojournalist Muath Amarneh was blinded in his left eye after he was hit by a rubber bullet while covering a protest in the West Bank. However, Amarneh was far from unique; Israeli snipers targeting participants in Gaza’s weekly Great Return March protests have aimed for the legs – and eyes.
To date, Gaza’s Ministry of Health reports that 50 protesters have been shot in the eye since the demonstrations began March 30, 2018 – leaving them permanently blind. “Some of these protesters and journalists were hit in the eye with teargas canisters, but most were targeted directly with what is commonly called a ‘rubber bullet,’ giving the impression they are somehow benign,” says Ashraf Alqedra, MD, a treating physician at Gaza City’s al-Shifa Hospital and spokesperson for the Ministry of Health. “But there is still steel at the core, and although these bullets don’t usually kill, they do grave damage. It is impossible to save an eye hit directly by a rubber-coated steel bullet.”
Mai Abu Rwedah: the most recent victim — Mai Abu Rwedah, 20, grew up in north Gaza’s al-Bureij Refugee Camp in a family of nine children supported by a father who works as a janitor for a UN school. She just graduated from university, hoping to start her professional life as a medical secretary and contribute her income. Abu Rwedah believes in using peaceful, but active, resistance to reclaim Palestinians’ right to return to their ancestral homeland. So, she has joined participants in the Great Return March protest since its launch on March 30, 2018. But that dream was dealt a severe blow December 6, when she became the most recent Gazan to lose an eye to an Israeli bullet.
Earlier this month, stood with a few friends about 100 metres from the fence that marks the border between Gaza and Israel. She glimpsed an Israeli soldier waving and pointing his finger to his eye. “He was trying to intimidate me, but I was not afraid because I was doing nothing wrong. I wasn’t even throwing stones,” Abu Rwedeh recalls. The soldiers fired tear gas then, and Mai and her friends ran away, but still were in sight of the young man who had threatened her. “He was watching me; wherever I moved he kept watching. Then, suddenly, he raised his gun and pointed it at me. I was about to flee but he was too fast. He shot me in my eye.” The bullet damaged her jaw as well. Doctors had to extract her right eye, since it was destroyed.
See: RCMP Planned Snipers
Distributed by PAJU (Palestinian and Jewish Unity)