On Friday, 09 June 2017, while participating in a protest against the closure, a Palestinian civilian was killed and 21 others were wounded at the hands of Israeli forces stationed along the border fence, east of the Gaza Strip. Investigations conducted by the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) confirmed that Israeli forces could have used less force against the protestors that approached the fence as they posed no threat to the soldiers’ lives. It should be noted that this civilian is the second to have been killed in an excessive use of force since the beginning of the protests along the abovementioned border fence against the closure in early May.
According to PCHR’s investigations, at approximately 14:30 on Friday, 09 June 2017, dozens of youngsters gathered near the border fence, east of the cemetery, east of Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip. Some of them set fire to tires and threw stones at Israeli soldiers stationed behind the border fence. The Israeli soldiers sporadically fired tear gas canisters and live bullets at the protestors for 5 hours. The confrontations peaked at 18:00. As a result, ‘Ayed Khamis Mahmoud Jom’ah (19) from Jabalia died after he sustained a live bullet wound to the head. In addition, 18 civilians, including 2 children, were wounded, while they were at a distance ranging between 50 to 150 away from the border fence. Six civilians were hit with live bullets to the limbs, a civilian sustained a live bullet shrapnel wound to the chest, 9 civilians were directly hit with tear gas canisters and 2 others sustained live bullet wounds. The killed and wounded were transferred by ambulances, civilian vehicles and even motorcycles to the Indonesian Hospital in Jabalia. The medical sources classified their injuries between moderate and minor.
Later on the same day, the vicinity of Nahal Oz in the east of al-Shuja’iya neighborhood; east of al-Buraij refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip; east of Khuza’ah in the east of Khan Yunis; and east of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, witnessed similar protests. The Israeli forces targeted these protests firing live bullets and tear gas canisters. As a result, a civilian from Rafah was wounded. In addition, two others from al-Buraij refugee camp sustained live bullet wounds to the limbs and were taken to al-Aqsa Hospital in Deir al-Balah. Moreover, several civilians sustained tear gas inhalation while they were in various confrontation areas. Among the wounded civilians were 3 paramedics, who were wounded after a tear gas canisters fell near them, east of Gaza.
According to PCHR’s documentation, Israeli forces killed a Palestinian civilian and wounded 23 others, including 3 children, in the 5 past weeks. Not to mention dozens of civilians who suffered tear gas inhalation and burns because of the sound bombs. All of them were wounded in the same circumstances near the border fence along the Gaza Strip eastern borders.
In light of the above, PCHR condemns this new crime committed by the Israeli forces resulting in the death of al-Najjar. PCHR hereby:
- Demands the United Nations to provide international protection for Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt) and ensure guarantees to protect civilians in the oPt;
- Demands immediately ending the closure imposed on the Gaza Strip, due to which the living conditions of the Palestinian people deteriorated because of the collective punishment policy and retaliation measures practiced against civilians;
- Calls upon the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Conventions to oblige Israel, in its capacity as a Member State, to apply the Geneva Conventions in the oPt;
- Demands States Parties to the Geneva Conventions to fulfill their obligations under these Conventions by exercising their Universal Jurisdiction to hold Israeli war criminals accountable regardless of the criminals’ nationalities and the place where the crimes were committed and put an end to their impunity; and
- Calls upon the States, which domestic jurisdiction, to hold war criminals accountable regardless of their origins and not to obedient to the Israeli pressures aiming at limiting this jurisdiction in favor of maintaining the impunity enjoyed by the Israeli war criminals.