Defending the ‘Auschwitz Borders’ against Unarmed Civilians as Sami Madi is mowed down

Defending the ‘Auschwitz Borders’ against Unarmed Civilians as Sami Madi is mowed down

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Despite Israel’s claim that its main opponent in Gaza is Hamas, it continues to kill peaceful protesters against the siege and blockade of Gaza.  In the instance below Israel opened fire on unarmed demonstrators who approached the boundary of Gaza and Israel.  T
In Auschwitz, any prisoner who approached the electrified fences was immediately the target of machine gun fire from the watchtowers and many died as a result.  Israelis call what was formerly known as the Green Line, dividing 1948-1967 Israel from the West Bank and Gaza, the ‘Auschwitz borders’.  Little did we know that what they meant by that was the execution of any Palestinian who had the audacity to approach the border.
We mourn  you Sami.
Tony Greenstein
The daughter of Palestinian Sami Madi is comforted by a relative as she cries
during her father’s funeral in Deir al-Balah, central Gaza. AFP PHOTO / SAID
KHATIB / AFP / SAID KHATIB

Shawki
Madi still cannot believe the embrace from his father that Friday would be
their last.

The
16-year-old boy was playing football with friends on 11 December when a
relative came to tell him that his father had been killed and that he should go
home.
I did not believe it, but I ran home and
found everyone in tears,”
Shawki told The Electronic Intifada.
Shawki’s
father, Sami Madi, 41, had led a demonstration that day to mark the 48th
anniversary of the Popular
Front for the Liberation of Palestine
(PFLP).
A relative of Sami Madi mourns over his coffin
Demonstrators
headed for the boundary with Israel by al-Bureij refugee camp in central Gaza.
There,
Israeli soldiers opened fire. It was not the first such demonstration since the
“intifada of the knives” erupted in Jerusalem in October. At least 20
Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces in Gaza since then, most of
them during demonstrations.
Palestinians carry the body of Sami Madi during his funeral in Deir al-Balah, central Gaza Strip, on 12 December.  Yasser Qudih APA images

On
this Friday, 17 unarmed people were wounded, including two children and a
journalist. Only Sami was killed.
The
PFLP had called for a “day of rage”
a common phrase denoting a day of popular demonstration and anger — to
commemorate the anniversary, and urged its supporters to prove that Gaza can
still play a role even when the focus is elsewhere. Demonstrating at the
boundary was meant to show solidarity with those in the West Bank who are
engaged in daily confrontations with the Israeli occupation.
That
Gaza had played little role in these events disturbed Sami, said his father
Shawki, for whom Sami’s son was named. “Demonstrating
at the border gave him some relief; it proved that Gaza should not be out of
the game,”
he said.
The
68-year-old man denounced the deadly use of live fire against the unarmed
protesters. “What kind of threat did my son
and other protesters pose to heavily armed soldiers?”
he asked. He referred
to the footage of the demonstration as proof. “All they wanted to do was carry the Palestinian flag.”
Video
from a protest in the same area last month shows Israeli forces firing
on and critically wounding
22-year-old Muhammad al-Bhaisy after he mounted
a Palestinian flag on the boundary fence.
Devoted comrade
Sami
was a lifelong PFLP activist. His affiliation to the left wing Palestinian
resistance faction began during the first Palestinian intifada in the mid-1980s
when as a teenager he would throw stones at vehicles going to and from the
Israeli settlements built on Gaza’s land.
He
was wounded in both legs at 19 by two Israeli rubber-coated steel bullets and
his father remembers him as a “rebellious” youth. “That was observed in the first intifada,” Shawki said.
As
a law student, Sami represented the PFLP in universities and colleges across
Gaza, where he organized activities to raise the political and the
revolutionary awareness of Palestinian students.
In
Deir al-Balah, where he was born and raised, his small rented apartment looks
shabby. Its foundations were weakened during Israel’s bombardments last year as
well as by floods during Gaza’s rainy season.
He
is well-known here among other residents. He was the head of the PFLP’s
factional committee in Deir al-Balah, a group that responded to emergencies as
part of its duties. During Israeli attacks, members of the committee would help
evacuate people in areas under attack.
To
be effective, they had to be quick. And Sami was fast. According to Aysar Aman,
the PFLP representative in central Gaza, Sami’s speed of thought and action was
a lifesaver” for many in Deir
al-Balah and other areas.
Aman
remembers Sami fondly. “He was a devoted
comrade. He provided leadership. He was always effective,”
Aman said.
He
also used to distribute food parcels for people in remote areas during wars,
said Aman, a job that demanded real courage.

“He managed to deliver basic relief for people in
wars, even though he knew that he was a potential target,”
he added.
Family man
Sami’s
funeral saw people from near and far flock to his house to offer condolences,
much to the family’s surprise. He was remembered in a speech given by the
PFLP’s leader in Gaza, Jamil Mizher, on 12 December, in another rally marking
the movement’s 48th anniversary.
Calling
him “a defiant fighter whose blood will
be a further step on liberation’s path,”
Mizher added, “He was a dedicated comrade, and an eloquent orator whose deeds matched
his words.”
Sami
was also the head of the media committee of the PFLP in which capacity he would
produce documentaries about the Palestinian cause. What would prove to be his
last production is about the Nakba
— the ethnic cleansing of Palestine in 1948 — and will be shown as part of the
movement’s anniversary commemorations.
Above
all, Sami was a family man. The eldest son of Shawki, he was, in the words of
his father, “obliging and responsible.”
A
former policeman, he drew a wage with the Palestinian
Authority
with which he would help pay for his siblings’ education.

“We are all indebted to him,” said his brother Mahmoud, for whom Sami paid
university tuition fees.
Sami
leaves behind seven children, the youngest a two-year-old girl.

“What breaks my heart is that his children have
started to call me ‘dad’ instead of ‘grandfather.’ They are not prepared to
absorb the ordeal of losing their father,”
Shawki
said.

Isra
Saleh el-Namey is a journalist from Gaza.
 

 

 

 

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