The UN Human Rights Council released the Report of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Protests in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, finding potential crimes against humanity committed by Israel. The report focuses on the seven-month period last year when the Gaza protest campaign known as the "Great March of Return and the Breaking of the Siege" was taking place. During this period, 6,106 unarmed protesters were shot by military snipers, resulting in 189 Palestinian deaths. (Photo: Ma'an News Agency)
The secretary general of the Palestinian Liberation Organization executive committee, Saeb Erekat, issued a statement rejecting the US-led conference in Warsaw, ostensibly aimed at brokering Middle East peace. Said Erekat: “Today we face a reality whereby the US Trump administration, in cooperation with the Polish government, is pushing yet a new initiative to annihilate the Palestinian national project.” Poland has been making some efforts to resist turning the conference into a propagandistic anti-Iran meeting dominated by the US, Israel and Saudi Arabia. The notable absentees from the summit are meanwhile convening their own meeting in the Russian resort of Sochi. The rival summit is bringing together Vladimir Putin, Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Iran’s Hassan Rouhani. (Photo: Ma’an)
The UN General Assembly adopted a resolution calling for greater protection for the Palestinian people following weeks of the "Great March of Return" protests on the eastern borders of the Gaza Strip. The resolution also denounces any use of "excessive, disproportionate and indiscriminate" force by Israel against Palestinians. The Algerian-sponsored resolution was adopted by a vote of 120 in favor, eight against, with 45 abstentions. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said that the vote is "a victory for Palestinian rights, justice and international law." While the UNGA—in which every member country has an equal vote —has historically stood in support of Palestinians, its resolutions are generally non-binding. A similar but binding measure in the UN Security Council days earlier was vetoed by the United States. (Photo: Ma'an News Agency)
The UN Human Rights Council passed a resolution to send an independent commission of inquiry to investigate "all violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law in the context of large-scale civilian protests in the occupied Palestinian territory." The Council "condemned the disproportionate and indiscriminate use of force by the Israeli occupying forces against Palestinian civilians, including in the context of peaceful protests, particularly in the Gaza Strip." The US was one of only two countries out of 45 to vote against the resolution. (Image: Maan News Agency)
At least 55 Palestinians were killed and more than 2,700 injured along the eastern borders of the Gaza Strip as Israeli army snipers opened fire on "March of Return" protesters. Six of the slain Palestinians were minors under the age of 18, including one girl. The Gaza Ministry of Health said at least 1,204 Palestinians were injured with live ammunition. The massacre along the Gaza borders came exactly as US and Israeli dignitaries inaugurated the move of the US embassy to Jerusalem, with Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump among those officiating. Just outside the new embassy, Palestinian demonstrators were brutally attacked by Israeli security forces—eliciting cheers from Israelis who came out to support the embassy’s opening. The Israelis reportedly chanted "Burn them, shoot them, kill them!" (Image: Maan)
Local activists in Gaza announced that they have moved tents set up along the border with Israel as part of the "Great March of Return," relocating them 50 meters closer to the border fence. The committee in charge of the Great March said they had moved the "tents of return" closer to the border "as a message of persistence from our people to the world that we are moving forward towards our rightful goals." The announcement came on the 20th day of protests since the Great March of Return began in the besieged Gaza Strip, as hundreds of thousands of Palestinians demanded their collective right of return to their homelands in present-day Israel. Since the demonstrations began, at least 36 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces. Among the dead are two minors and a journalist. (Photo: Ma'an)
International Criminal Court chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda called for an end to the violence along the border of the Gaza Strip, and raised the possibility of ICC prosecutions against Israel and Hamas. In her statement, Bensouda cautioned about the "deteriorating situation" that has engulfed the region. Bensouda reminded both parties that her office is in the midst of a preliminary investigation into allegations of war crimes, which has been ongoing since 2015 when Palestine was admitted as a member of the court. While Israel is not a member of the court, Israeli citizens who commit war-crimes or crimes against humanity on the territory of a member could fall under the jurisdiction of the ICC. (Photo: Maan News Agency)
Protesters for both the besieged Gaza Strip and the besieged Syrian enclave of Ghouta gathered in New York's Union Square on Friday night. Those standing for Gaza and Ghouta should be natural allies, but there was little interaction between the two protests. And some (by no means all) among the Gaza protesters were followers of Stalinist factions that support the dictatorship of Bashar Assad—who is raining death down on Ghouta just as Israel has serially rained death down on Gaza. What will it take to provoke the conversation that needs to be had on the American left, and build the unified but multi-issue movement so desperately needed at this dangerous moment, with fascist forces on the advance worldwide? (Photo: Syria Solidarity NYC via Facebook)
Human rights organizations have come out in full condemnation of Israel's violent response to massive unarmed civilian protests in Gaza, which left 16 Palestinians—one farmer and 15 protesters —dead along the Strip's border. Adalah, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights, released a statement condemning Israel's use of military snipers against the civilian protesters. "The Israeli military's use of 100 snipers against unarmed Palestinian civilian protesters in the Gaza Strip is illegal," the statement said, adding that "live gunfire on unarmed civilians constitutes a brutal violation of the international legal obligation to distinguish between civilians and combatants." (Photo: Maan News Agency)
If Trump is seeking to appease the Christian fundamentalist element of his base with his pledge to move the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, this should hardly be comforting to Jews. The evangelical fundis see Jewish control of Jerusalem only as fulfillment of Bible prophecies portending the End Times. What makes this wackiness dangerous is that with nuclear weapons, the human race now has the capacity to bring about the foreseen rain of fire and brimstone.
Israeli authorities revoked permits for Palestinians to enter Jerusalem and Israel in response to a deadly attack in East Jerusalem's Old City, rounding up hundreds in mass arrests.
Palestinians erupted in anger over President Trump naming the Hamas movement—Gaza's de facto ruling party—in a list of terrorist organizations during his speech in Riyadh.