Iconic image of disabled Gaza protester wins photojournalism award
A photograph of a disabled Gazan man protesting during demonstrations that have been brutally suppressed by Israeli forces has won a prestigious photojournalism award.
The iconic image of double-amputee Saber al-Ashkar hurling rocks in a wheelchair took first place at the Bayeux Calvados-Normandy Award for War Correspondents on Saturday.
The shot was taken by AFP photographer Mahmoud Hams on May 11 as Palestinians took part in mass demonstrations for the right to return to their historic homeland.
AFP chief photographer Thomas Coex hailed Hams for taking the image in a "very dangerous and difficult to access", according to France 24.
Demonstrations began in March for the right of refugees in Gaza to return their homes lost since the 1948 creation of Israel.
At least 205 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire in Gaza since protests began on March 30, including at least one disabled protester.
The vast majority were killed by sniper fire during border demonstrations, though others have died in airstrikes and tank shelling. One Israeli soldier has been killed.
The protesters are demanding to be allowed to return to land now inside Israel, from which their families fled or were displaced during the Nakba - Arabic for catastrophe - describing the 1948 war which led to the creation of Israel.
They are also calling for Israel to end its crippling blockade of the strip.
In December, Israeli forces shot dead 29-year-old Ibrahim Abu Thraya - a disabled man in a wheelchair - as he peacefully protested along Gaza's border.
Israel's military cleared its troops of any wrongdoing in the fatal shooting of Abu Thraya.