On 30 March 2018, a six-week campaign composed of a series of protests was launched at the Gaza Strip, near the Gaza-Israel border. Called by Palestinian organisers the "Great March of Return", the protests demand that Palestinian refugees and their descendants be allowed to return to what is now Israel. It was supposed to last between 30 March (Land day) and 15 May (Nakba Day). Five tent camps were set up 500 to 700 meters from the fence with Israel and were to remain there throughout the campaign. 25 April Hamas stated that the protests will continue on even after May 15.
Gaza victims in pictures
Forty Palestinians have been killed and 5,511 wounded in the mass protests along the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel since March 30, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported 26th of April. The protests have been held every Friday since 30th of March.
14-year-old Reham was attending the Return March in Gaza with her mother, father, sister and two brothers on the 29th of March, and on the 30th of March her father was shot in the leg. Reham’s father may need to have his leg amputated. Since then, Reham has suffered from nightmares and experienced difficulties in school.
The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) works to address these psychosocial needs in Gaza through its Better Learning Programme, which provides support to students, teachers and caregivers.
Read more about the Better Learning Programme.
Taking care of her injured husband
Manarah Qudaih, mother of Reham, is taking care of her husband Tareq Qudaih who was shot while he participated in the Gaza protest “The Great March of Return” on Friday 30th March 2018. She fears that her husband may now need to have his leg amputated.
Mourning the death of her son
Rawiah Abu Samour is the mother of Omar Abu Samour, who was killed on 30th of March 2018. Omar was a 26-years-old farmer, and he was killed during his work in Khan Yunis in Gaza, in the morning of the first day of the 'Great March of Return'.
Omar’s wife says their 2½-year-old daughter keeps asking about where he is as she cannot understand that he is gone. Omar’s mother insists that he was not taking part in the demonstration, but was simply farming his land in the morning, around 700 meters from the border fence.
“May Allah help us”
Ghadeer Abu Jamous, the wife of Jehad Abu Jamous, with her two children. Her husband Jehad was shot in the head while attending the Great March of Return with his wife and children.
The 30-year-old salesman was shot in the head while attending the march with his wife and children. “We went there to prove to the Israelis that we’re steadfast in our connection to the land and our desire to return one day” said a relative of Jehad’s.
Jehad was the sole provider for the family; supporting his wife, four children, four visually-impaired sisters, two brothers, a blind father, and his mother. “Now we have no help and no source of income”, said Jehad’s wife. “May Allah help us”.
Accountability needed for killing of Gaza civilians
NRC Secretary General Jan Egeland says that those responsible for the killings must be held to account.
“The ongoing and unjustifiable border closure and extreme economic deprivation of civilians in Gaza amounts to nothing short of collective punishment. And now, the indiscriminate shooting at peaceful protesters on their land – while running away, while waving flags, while praying, while reporting, while giving first aid and while working on their land – it's abominable. This cannot be allowed to continue, and those responsible must be held to account,” Egeland said, in a press release published 9 April.