In the Gaza Strip, Israeli forces shot and killed a Palestinian man Thursday as he joined a mass protest near Israel’s heavily militarized border wall near the town of Khan Younis. He was at least the 34th Palestinian shot dead by Israel’s military since a wave of protests against Israel’s occupation began on March 30. Hundreds more have been injured by Israeli bullets. Earlier Thursday, another Palestinian was killed in an Israeli airstrike on Gaza. The latest violence came as a Palestinian stepped forward to say he was the unarmed man who was shot by Israeli sniper in a gunsight video recorded last December that went viral this week. The video captures the sound of a gunshot, the Palestinian man falling to the ground, and then a voice celebrating in Hebrew and cursing the sniper’s victim. Tamer Abu Daqqa says he was shot in the leg without warning as he stood about 200 meters from Israel’s fortified border. He told Al Jazeera he posed no threat to Israeli troops.
Tamer Abu Daqqa: “Some young people near the border were lying on the ground. They couldn’t get out. So I came to protect them and ask them to go back. Then the Israelis shot me. How am I a danger to the Israelis? We were on our land. We didn’t cross. I was in the buffer zone. I had no weapons in my hands. I had nothing.”
Israel’s military has criticized the soldiers who shot Abu Daqqa for cheering, but has defended the shooting itself, with Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman saying the sniper “deserves a medal.” Meanwhile, employees of the Palestinian Authority in the Gaza Strip say they have not received salaries this month, causing further misery in the already-impoverished territory. It’s the latest sign that a reconciliation agreement is fracturing between the West Bank-based Fatah movement and its Gaza-based rival Hamas.