Arab MK: Gaza protests were peaceful, hold Israel accountable

Hanin Zoabi blasts Israeli ‘crimes’ during border clashes, claims Jewish state moving ‘from racist to fascist’

Hanin Zoabi of the Joint List party in the Knesset on December 22, 2015. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Hanin Zoabi of the Joint List party in the Knesset on December 22, 2015. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

An Arab-Israeli Knesset member called Friday for the Israeli government to be investigated and held accountable “for its crimes against the Palestinians.”

Hanin Zoabi of the Joint (Arab) List said the Palestinian march in Gaza was “a peaceful act of struggle,” stressing that “popular resistance is the only way that the Palestinians can free themselves” from Israeli occupation.

She said the statement Friday by the Hamas leader in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, announcing that Palestinians were going to breach the border and march to Jerusalem to pray at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, “reinforces the peaceful vision of the march.”

Sinwar also warned that the Strip was ready to “explode in the face of the occupation.”

“Yes, we need millions of Palestinians to go to march to Jerusalem,” Zoabi told a news conference at UN headquarters in New York. “Yes, it is the ambition. But we cannot do this because the Israelis will kill them.”

“I am a Palestinian,” Zoabi said, “I am expected to be loyal to Zionism while the only meaning of Zionism is to deny my rights and to deny my identity.”

Zoabi warned that “now Israel is transforming from a racist situation to a fascist situation,” adding that a political change in the country won’t change this transformation.

The controversial MK has in the past called Israeli soldiers murderers, compared Israel to Nazi Germany, met with relatives of terrorists, called for the prosecution of policemen who killed an armed terrorist, and insisted that the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teens in the West Bank was not terrorism.

Friday’s violent demonstration was the second of what Gaza’s ruling Hamas terror group said would be several weeks of “March of Return” protests which Hamas leaders say ultimately aim to see the removal of the border and the liberation of Palestine.

Palestinians collect tires and burn them at the Israel-Gaza border during a protest east of Gaza City, on April 6, 2018. (AFP/Mahmud Hams)

Tens of thousands of Palestinians gathered along the Gaza border, burning tires and throwing firebombs and rocks at Israeli soldiers, who responded with tear gas and live fire, the army and witnesses said.

Hamas said seven Gazans were killed by Israeli fire. The IDF said it thwarted multiple efforts to breach the border fence — and that it used live fire to do so in some instances — as well as attempts to activate bombs against the troops under the cover of smoke.

Israel has accused Hamas of trying to carry out border attacks under the cover of large protests and said it will prevent a breach of the fence at all costs.

An Islamist terror group, Hamas violently took control of Gaza from Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah in 2007, two years after Israel withdrew its military and civilian presence from the Strip.

Israel and Egypt maintain a security blockade of Gaza. Israel says this is vital to prevent Hamas — which has fought three rounds of conflict against Israel since seizing Gaza, firing thousands of rockets into Israel and digging dozens of attack tunnels under the border — from importing weaponry.

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