Congress largely silent as close ally shoots 750 protesters, kills 17 to stifle demonstration.

Tens of thousands of Gazans walked toward the border facing a heavily armed Israeli line. They walked toward rifles and drones. Israel had announced its deployment of a hundred snipers authorized to use live ammunition. And fire they did; the United Nations reports 15 dead and 1,416 wounded, including 750 hit by live ammunition, of whom 20 are in critical condition. […]

The Israeli army additionally militarizes a belt of Gaza’s agricultural land, intruding a further 300 to 500 meters into Gaza. That is the zone in which live fire is being used. Gazans are walking and being killed, on their own land. Walking in protest is not a capital crime in other places, and human rights group B’Tselem calls Israel’s attempt to control the Gaza protest with live fire “absurd.” —…

As if penning almost 2 million people within 140 sq miles for decades wasn’t enough, Israeli authorities have carved a half kilometer strip inside Gaza as a free-fire zone for snipers and drones.

Shai Eluk served as a medic among IDF snipers six years ago. Writing in +972mag, he talks about what he felt when his friends were ordered to fire at protesters in 2012:

This order, which never explained exactly how a soldier is meant to identify, isolate, and shoot a “main inciter” out of tens of thousands of demonstrators disturbed me then. It continued to disturb me this past weekend, after IDF snipers opened fire on Palestinian marchers at the Gaza border. “How can opening fire at a crowd of people be a legal order?” I asked my deputy company commander six years ago. I have yet to receive an answer.

One of my friends killed a demonstrator on the border with Gaza. I am part of a group that carries this death on its shoulders. The only difference between myself and my friend is chance. Had I been sent to the sniper course rather than the medics course, I would have been that shooter. —…

Where indeed, are all those voices who advocate military interventions? Why are they silent when Bahrain or Saudi Arabia suppress demonstrations? Why are they silent when Israeli soldiers fire on Palestinian demonstrators? Why aren’t they advocating sanctions under the Leahy amendments directed at Israeli army units that willfully violate Palestinian’s human rights?

Hasan ended up writing an article exploring the thought behind his tweet and Amira Haas has an article in Haaretz discussing the long history of the IDF’s killing of Gazan civilians.

As a close ally that receives billions in military support each year violently suppressed a protest, most American politicians remained silent. With a few exceptions:

Human Rights Watch issued a report on the violent suppression of the protest:

Senior Israeli officials who unlawfully called for use of live ammunition against Palestinian demonstrations who posed no imminent threat to life bear responsibility for the killings of 14 demonstrators in Gaza and the injuring of hundreds on March 30, 2018, Human Rights Watch said today. […] The high number of deaths and injuries was the foreseeable consequence of granting soldiers leeway to use lethal force outside of life-threatening situations in violation of international norms, coupled with the longstanding culture of impunity within the Israeli army for serious abuses. —…

The Israeli Defense ministry said there would be no investigation of the firing on demonstrators, and that Israel would not co-operate with any international investigation. Israeli forces have a history of using force against Palestinian protesters who pose no threat. In December, an Israeli soldier shot Abu Thuraya in the head at a protest in Gaza, killing him. Thuraya lost both his legs in an Israeli missile strike and was in his wheelchair.

Khadrah Zaqout, 76, was busy baking a fresh, homemade loaf of bread in a mud oven that provides for her family of nine. She said she intends to remain all day in the tent to demand her right to return to her home city, which was abandoned in 1948 when the state of Israel was established.

“I am from the city of Majdal [Ashkelon], where I was born and lived the most beautiful days of my life,” she said. “I still remember our beautiful house, the olive tree and the chicken coop.”

“I brought my grandsons with me to the protest to show them the way to their historical homeland, the land of Palestine,” she said. —…