On Friday Afternoon, 15 December 2017,Israeli forces killed 3 Palestinian civilians; one of whom is a lower-limb amputee, and wounded 252 civilians, including 19 children, 2 paramedics and 2 journalists; one is Indonesian, in the Gaza Strip and West Bank as Israeli forces excessively used force against participants in protests. Meanwhile, shown in a video widely published, Israeli forces liquidated a forth Palestinian after he carried out a stab attack at the northern entrance to al-Bireh in the West Bank during clashes in the area. These incidents came in light of the ongoing tense atmosphere following the U.S. President’s Donald Trump Decision to recognize Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel and move the U.S. Embassy to it, constituting a dangerous precedent that violates the international law.
This high number of casualties, particularly targeting a disabled and lower-limp amputee by directly shooting him in the head, prove that Israeli forces continue their systematic crimes and indiscriminate use of excessive and disproportionate force against Palestinian civilians in disregard for their lives.
PCHR’s follow up showed that it is clear that the Israeli forces heavily and upon a decision use live ammunition; some of which is explosive, to confront the unarmed civilians. Thus, comparing with the last year, the number of Palestinians wounded with live bullets east of the Gaza Strip increased in addition to directly hitting them with tear gas canisters.
The Israeli forces also fired dozens of tear gas canisters through special vehciles at the protests. As a result, dozens of civilians suffered fatigue, cramps, vomiting, coughing and high heart rate. Some of them were transered to the hospital while others were treated on the spot.
In the Gaza Strip, the eastern and northern areas witnessed protests against the U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision, and the Israeli forces used force against the protestors. As a result, two Palestinian civilians were killed, including a lower-limb amputee, and wounded 192 civilians, including 18 children, 2 paramedics and 2 journalists; one is Indonesian. 117 of the Wounded civilians were hit with live bullets, 55 were hit with tear gas canisters, and dozens suffered tear gas inhalation.
According to PCHR’s investigations, at approximately 13:30 on Friday, 15 December 2017, dozens of young men and youngsters gathered tens of meters away from the border fence with Israel near former Nahal Oz Crossing, east of al-Shuja’iyah neighborhood, east of Gaza City. They set fire to tires, threw stones at the Israeli forces stationed along the border fence in protest against the U.S. President’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel. During the 6-hour clashes, the Israeli soldiers sporadically fired tear gas canisters and live and rubber-coated metal bullets at the protestors. As a result, 2 civilians, from al-Shuja’iyah neighborhood in Gaza, were killed with live bullets; one of them is disabled with no legs. The killed civilians were identified as Yasser Naji Sukar (23) hit with a bullet to the head and Ibrahim Nayeh Ibrahim Abu Thurayah (29) hit with a bullet to the forehead, noting that he lost his legs in an Israeli airstrike in 2008.
According to PCHR’s investigations, wheelchair-bound Abu Thurayah was directly shot to the head when he was 30 meters away from the border fence, where Israeli forces can clearly see him, and did not pose any threat to the soldiers. Moreover, shooting him in the forehead prove that he was deliberately sniped by the Israeli soldiers, without posing any threat to the soldiers’ lives, during a protest that was only about chanting slogans, throwing stones and setting fire to tires. This also emphasizes that the Israeli forces used lethal and disproportionate force against unarmed civilians.
The Injuries were as follows throughout the Gaza Strip:
Northern Gaza Strip: the confrontations were mainly in the vicinity of al-Shuhadaa’ Cemetery, east of Jabalia; in the vicinity of Beit Hanoun Crossing; and in Abu Samrah area, north of Beit Lahia. As a result, 67 Palestinians, including 7 children, 2 paramedics and an Indonesian journalist, were wounded. Forty were hit with live bullets; one was hit with rubber-coated metal bullets; 18 were hit with tear gas canisters; and 8 suffered tear gas inhalation. Moreover, an ambulance belonging to the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) sustained damage after being hit with a tear gas canister.
Gaza City: the clashes and Israeli shooting were mainly near former Nahal Oz Crossing, east of al-Shuja’iyah neighborhood. As a result, 43 Palestinians, including 3 children, were wounded. Twenty-three of them were hit with live bullets; 18 were hit with tear gas canisters; and 2 suffered tear gas inhalation.
Central Gaza Strip: the clashes and Israeli shooting occurred in the eastern side of al-Bureij refugee camp. As a result, 14 Palestinians, including 2 children, were wounded. Six were hit with live bullets; one of whom to the head and transferred to al-Shifa Hospital due to his serious condition; 5 were hit with tear gas canisters, including 3 directly hit to their heads; and 3 suffered tear gas inhalation.
Khan Younis: The clashes and Israeli shooting were concentrated in 4 areas: ‘Abasan al-Kabirirah and al-Jadidah; Khuza’ah; and al-Qararah. As a result, 31 Palestinians, including 4 children, were wounded. Eighteen were hit with live bullets, including a photojournalist, and the others were hit with rubber-coated bullets and tear gas canisters, including one sustaining serious wounds.
Rafah: The clashes and Israeli shooting mainly occurred in the eastern side of al-Shokah neighborhood. As a result, 37 Palestinians were wounded, including 2 children. Ten of them were hit with live bullets, and 27 were hit with tear gas canisters.
In the West Bank, All the cities witnessed protests against the U.S. President’s decision. During those protests, Israeli forces used excessive force against the protesters. The shooting to disperse the protests resulted in the killing of 2 Palestinians; one during the protests and the other was liquidated in front of cameras after carrying out a stab attack. Moreover, 60 civilians were wounded, including a child seriously wounded. Four of those wounded were hit with live bullets, and 56 were hit with rubber-coated metal bullets.
According to PCHR’s investigations, at approximately 13:00 on the abovementioned Friday, dozens of young men and youngsters gathered at the northern entrance to al-Bireh. They set fire to tires and threw stones and empty bottles at the Israeli soldiers stationed at DCO checkpoint. The Israeli soldiers fired live and rubber-coated metal bullets and tear gas canisters at the protesters. At approximately 14:00, Amir ‘Aqel al-‘Adam (19) from Beit Oula village, west of Hebron, holding a knife approached the soldiers and stabbed one of them He then took 4 steps backwards, and the Israeli soldiers fired 3 consecutive bullets at him, wounding him with 2 bullets in his foot. Al-Adam then fell on the ground, and another bullet was fired to the right side of his chest while he was lying on the ground. He was liquidated as documented in a video taken by a journalist’s camera. The video showed al-‘Adam lying on the ground and receiving bullet after another and suffering a lot with the soldiers’ giving no attention to him. A PRCS crew then approached al-‘Adam to rescue him and evacuate him via an ambulance. However, the soldiers prevented the crew and confiscated the ambulance keys. Therefore, the PRCS crew with the help of Palestinian young men pulled al-‘Adam and ran away a distance of around 50 meters before putting him in a private car and heading to a hospital in Ramallah. In the afternoon, his death was declared after undergoing many urgent surgeries. Eyewitnesses said to PCHR’s fieldworker that al-‘Adam was directly shot at point-blank range. The eyewitnesses added that he was wearing fake explosive belt around his abdomen.
Following ‘Aser Prayer, Residents of ‘Anata village, east of occupied Jerusalem, organized a protest at the village intersection. They threw stones at the settlers’ cars passing through the intersection, which links the northern and southern West Bank. As a result, one of the cars’ windows was broken. Israeli forces immediately arrived and heavily opened fire at the stone-throwers. As a result, Basel Mustafa Mohammed Ibrahim (29) was hit with several bullets to his chest. Basel was taken to al-Iman Medical Center in the village, but then referred to Palestine Medical Complex in Ramallah due to his serious condition. At approximately 18:30, doctors declared that Basel succumbed to his wounds.
PCHR follows up with deep concern the deteriorating situation in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) and seriously consider the use of lethal force against unarmed civilians, amounting to targeting a civilian with no legs, in violation of the international humanitarian law standards.
PCHR also condemns the Israeli forces’ use of lethal and excessive force against the protesters and believes it is as a result of giving Israel the green light following the U.S. decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. PCHR also emphasizes that this decision is complicity in a crime of aggression and directly threatens the international peace and security.
PCHR calls upon the international community and UN bodies to intervene to stop the Israeli escalating crimes and violations and work on providing international protection for Palestinians in the oPt.
PCHR also warns of the serious repercussions of the U.S. declaration, which has stirred up the feelings of millions of Muslims and Christians around the world, not only in Palestine. This was clearly evinced in the widespread international and local reaction.
PCHR also reiterates its call upon the High Contracting Parties to the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention to fulfill their obligations under Article 1; i.e., to respect and ensure respect for the Convention in all circumstances and their obligations under Article 146 to prosecute persons alleged to commit grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention. These grave breaches constitute war crimes under Article 147 of the same Convention and Protocol (I) Additional to the Geneva Conventions regarding the guarantee of Palestinian civilians’ right to protection in the oPt.