Though Deadly, Gaza Protests Draw Attention and Enthusiasm

USCPR Executive Director offers his analysis of the Great Return March in Gaza in the New York Times, drawing connections between the Palestinian struggle for freedom, justice, and equality and other freedom struggles throughout history.

Yousef Munayyer, executive director of the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights, likened attempts to cross Israel’s fence to American civil rights marchers’ attempts to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala., more than 50 years ago. He said he saw the demonstrations as an opportunity for a strategic shift by Palestinians.

“This is not a battle that protesters are coming to with guns,” Mr. Munayyer said. “They’re coming to it with their bodies and they’re confronting very real policies of violent repression. The protesters paid with their lives to get people to question whether these policies are justifiable.”

“Frankly, I think this is Israel’s Achilles’ heel,” he added, “and it’s very important in this moment for the international community to be supportive of the protesters. They’ve always said, ‘Abandon militancy, abandon violence.’ If the international community allows the violent repression of these protests without any real condemnation or intervention to stop the killing, it’s going to send a message that the world doesn’t want any Palestinian resistance — not violent, not nonviolent, not anything in between.”

“What the Israelis are defending is not lives. They’re defending a fence,” Mr. Munayyer said. “That’s not the standard when it comes to the use of lethal force — to just snipe at people from hundreds of feet away.”

Read the article.