As Palestinians protested along the Israel-Gaza border for the fifth consecutive Friday, occupation forces wounded over 800 and killed at least four, including a 15-year-old boy, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health.
Four members of medical staff and six journalists were among the hundreds injured in this Friday’s “rebellious youth protest” as part of the Great March of Return. Israel’s army said that more than 10,000 people participated in the Friday protest. Demonstrators continue to show considerable numbers despite thousands of injuries and a death toll of at least 40.
On Friday, while the protests were taking place and several were being shot by Israeli snipers with live ammunition, human rights organization Amnesty International echoed the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement’s call for an arms embargo against Israel.
The organization said Israel was carrying out a “murderous assault” against Palestinian protesters who pose no immediate threat to them, and urged concrete actions.
“The time for symbolic statements of condemnation is now over. The international community must act concretely and stop the delivery of arms and military equipment to Israel. A failure to do so will continue to fuel serious human rights abuses against thousands of men, women, and children suffering the consequences of life under Israel’s cruel blockade of Gaza. These people are merely protesting their unbearable conditions and demanding the right to return to their homes and towns in what is now Israel,” Magdalena Mughrabi, Amnesty International's deputy regional director said.
Although the United States is Israel’s leading supplier of military equipment and technology, states such as France, Germany, the United Kingdom and Italy have licensed exports of large volumes of military equipment.
Amnesty’s call for an embargo came after United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Ra'ad al-Hussein said: “the loss of life is deplorable, and the staggering number of injuries caused by live ammunition only confirms the sense that excessive force has been used against demonstrators – not once, not twice, but repeatedly.”
Protests were scheduled to continue until May 15, when Palestinians commemorate 70 years of the Nakba, or "Catastrophe" marking the day over 700,000 Palestinians were expelled from their homes and towns after the foundation of the state of Israel on May 14, 1948.
However, Hamas’ political advisor Yahya Sinwar said Friday: “Palestinian people will demonstrate throughout the month of Ramadan to deal with the many challenges facing us, and first of all the peace plan promoted by U.S. President Donald Trump… We will turn this deal into a resounding slap in the face for the administration in Washington and anyone who weaves conspiracies against the Palestinian people.”
In December the United States declared it would recognize the city of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, in a move that generated international outraged and revealed U.S. bias in support of Israel. In May, the U.S. is expected to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Hamas, a Palestinian political party that believes in armed resistance against the Israeli occupation, is considered by Israel and its Western allies as a terrorist group.
Earlier this month, International Criminal Court Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda announced her office would conduct a preliminary examination to monitor the situation in Gaza to confirm whether genocide, crimes against humanity, or war crimes have been committed.