Man with an Infectious Smile Slain During the ‘Great March of Return’

Yaser Murtaja, and his dreams of traveling

The Palestinian journalist was characterized as a man with a contagious smile and devoted his career to telling tales of Gaza residents.

Under an image of Gaza City’s harbor taken by his drone,  Palestinian journalist Yaser Murtaja noted the accompanying words: “I hope the day that I can take this picture when I am in the sky instead of on the ground will come!

My name is Yaser, I am 30 years old, reside in Gaza City and I have never traveled before in my life!”

Palestinian journalist

نفسي يجي اليوم اللي اخد هاي اللقطة وأنا بالجو مش ع الأرض !

اسمي ياسر مرتجى
عمري 30 سنة
ساكن في مدينة غزة
عمري ما سافرت !

This inscription conveying Murtaja’s vision of traveling was recorded on March 24. Two weeks thereafter, the 30-year-old Palestinian journalist was slain by Israeli forces while covering the second Friday protests in as many weeks near the Gaza Strip’s eastern boundary.

An Israeli sniper shot Murtaja in the gut, despite him bearing a flak jacket distinctly imprinted with the term “press” on it. He became the 10th Palestinian to be slain by Israeli forces after being killed on April 6.

Visions of Flying

Murtaja’s ambition to travel was a frequent topic in his social media posts. In February, his visions were realized when he managed to leave behind the Gaza Strip through the southern Rafah border.

However, after spending hours in the Egyptian lobby on the other side of the crossroad, he was ordered to withdraw to the trapped area along with hundreds of other travelers.

In a Facebook post recounting the experiences, Murtaja noted: “The first time in my entire life I was fortunate in traveling was yesterday but I am back now. I remained in the Egyptian lobby, and I wished to get on the plane or even just to look at one.

Instead what I noticed was the degradation and injustice of the people from Gaza of which it is sufficient to furnish a textbook with. The Egyptians turned back three commuter buses, offering security reasons in the Sinai.”

Palestinian journalist

In another image, Murtaja is discovered carrying a drone just before it lifts off to take pictures of the Gaza Strip.

His remarks on several pictures captured by drones all point to his dream of flying or traveling – just for once in his life.

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