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  • 06:49 - 7 July 2018

Gaza's 'return keys' maker new victim of Israeli violence

Gaza,(DRAH.ps)-- For the first time since the start of the Great March of Return along Gaza's eastern border, his hands are silent and his feet are unable to walk among the protesters so that he can sell the "return keys" he makes.

 Ali Banat, 30, a few days ago was deliberately hit by Israeli soldiers with a teargas canister that caused him several problems in the bones and tissues of his left knee. According to doctors, he is supposed to undergo a surgery and a physical therapy program.

 When the Great March of Return protests started, Banat, who works as a blacksmith, decided to make replicas for old keys to distribute them among the children participating in the peaceful protests to demand the Palestinian refugees' right of return to their occupied homes.

 Closed workshop

"When I went to visit him, I found his workshop closed, while he was lying in bed in a small apartment in the second floor," the PIC reporter said.

 In 2005, Israeli soldiers shot Banat in the knee, and about two weeks ago, a teargas canister was fired at the same knee, aggravating his old injury and forcing him to give up work.

 Banat, whose grandparents were expelled from Jaffa in 1948, said, "I first made 100 keys and distributed them to the children in the Great March of Return camps east of al-Bureij. These keys are symbols of our right to return."

 He continued to say that when his idea won the admiration of everyone in the Great March of Return camps, he decided to make another 100 keys and distribute them among the protesters.

 Banat used to close his workshop and spend hours there cutting and welding iron to make "return keys" before giving them life by painting them in black.

 "Now my workshop is closed. I am the sole breadwinner of a seven-member family including a girl with some health issues. I ask those concerned to help me complete my treatment program and return to work," he added.

 Last participation

"When I saw him for the first time in the Great March of Return he was accompanied by his children, each carrying a "return key" and walking among the protesters," the PIC reporter said.

 Ali Banat's family, who captured the attention of media and photographers in the protests, took part in the border march since the first day until 8th June, the day he was injured.

 Banat said, about the day he was injured, "I was standing casually watching the protests from a long distance, and suddenly I felt pain in my knee and fell to the ground. I saw three other young men shot with live ammunition. One of them was my cousin."

 Banat visited the Moroccan field hospital, which was sent by the King of Morocco to help the people of the besieged Gaza Strip, and doctors there decided that he should undergo a knee surgery for the damages caused in his bones and tissues in addition to a long-term physical therapy program.

 Israeli soldiers during the Great March of Return, instead of using teargas canisters to disperse protesters, fired them directly at the bodies of protesters causing dozens of serious injuries.

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