US independent Senator and former Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has called the recent killings of Palestinians by Israeli forces “tragic.”
Vermont Senator Sanders — himself a Jew — said in two Twitter posts on Saturday that Palestinian people had a right to protest without being exposed to violence.
On Friday, March 30, thousands of Palestinians in the Israeli-besieged Gaza Strip started a protest action to mark Land Day, the day in 1976 when Israeli troopers killed six Arab “citizens” of Israel who were protesting the confiscation of land by the Tel Aviv regime.
The protest action is planned to continue for six weeks, during which the participants will be staying in tents to also demand the return to their homeland of Palestinians displaced by Israeli aggression and occupation.
Israel has deployed hundreds of forces to the buffer zone with Gaza, including 100 snipers who have been given authorization to use live ammunition.
At least 17 Palestinians were killed and over 1,400 others were injured by Israeli forces inside Gaza on Friday alone. The Israeli fire was unprovoked, as the regime has militarized Gaza’s border, and the Palestinians were protesting peacefully.
“The killing of Palestinian demonstrators by Israeli forces in Gaza is tragic,” Senator Sanders wrote on one of his official Twitter accounts. “It is the right of all people to protest for a better future without a violent response.”
In a next tweet, he called the situation in the Israeli-blockaded Gaza “a humanitarian disaster.”
Sanders said the United States had to play “a more positive role” to end the Israeli siege on Gaza.
But the US has, under President Donald Trump, unilaterally declared Jerusalem al-Quds the “capital” of Israel, a highly controversial move condemned by Palestinians and most world countries alike. The city comprises territory internationally recognized as occupied, and is also home to the al-Aqsa Mosque, one of the most revered Muslim holy sites.
The Palestinian protest action that started on Friday is planned to continue through May 15 — which is called Nakba (Catastrophe) Day by Palestinians. On that day in 1948, more than 750,000 Palestinians were forcibly displaced by Israeli forces.
Many Palestinians in Gaza are descendants of those who were displaced in 1948.