Ref: 81/2018

Date: 03 August 2018

Time: 18:30 GMT

 

On Friday, 03 August 2018, using excessive lethal force against the peaceful protesters in eastern Gaza Strip for the 19th Friday in a row, Israeli forces killed a Palestinian civilian and wounded 98 other civilians, including 10 children and a  woman. Nine of those wounded sustained serious wounds due to hitting with live bullets and direct tear gas canisters. Moreover, dozens of civilians suffered tear gas inhalation.  Upon a Decision by the highest political and military echelons, the Israeli forces continued to use excessive force against the peaceful protesters, who posed no threat to the life of the soldiers. The number of civilian casualties due to the Israeli suppression since the beginning of the Great March of Return on 30 March, has amounted to 122 deaths, including 21 children, 2 girls ( a child and a female volunteer paramedic), a Civil Defense paramedic, 2 journalists, and 3 persons with disabilities; and 6413 injuries, including 1073 children, 197 women and 76 journalists. Among those wounded, 370  in serious condition and 68 had their lower or upper limbs amputated

 

Investigations and observations by PCHR’s fieldworkers emphasize that the demonstrations were as always fully peaceful and  PCHR’s fieldworkers did not witness weapons or armed persons whereas Israeli forces’ snipers continued to position on the hills, behind the sand barriers and in military jeeps along the border fence.

 

 

The incidents today, 03 August 2018, were as follows:

 

At approximately 16:00, thousands of civilians, including women, children and entire families, started swarming to 5 encampments established by the Supreme National Authority for the Great March of Return and Breaking Siege along the border fence, east of the Gaza Strip’s governorates. They raised flags, and chanted slogans and national songs in addition to flying kites and firing balloons, while hundreds of them, including children and women, approached the border fence, set fire to tires and attempted to throw stones at the Israeli forces around 300 meters away from the main border fence.

The Israeli shooting which continued until 20:00  resulted in the killing of Ahmed Yehia ‘Atallah Yaghi (27), from Gaza City. At approximately 19:55, Mohamed was hit with a live bullet that entered his chest and exited his back while he was present few meters away from the border fence, east of al-Shuja’iyia neighborhood.

Moreover, 98 civilians, including 10 children and a woman, were wounded. Nine of those wounded sustained serious wounds due to hitting with live bullets and direct tear gas canisters. In addition, dozens of civilians suffered tear gas inhalation and seizures while covering the suppression of demonstrations, after tear gas canisters were heavily fired by the soldiers stationed along the border fence and by drones hovering over the protesters.

The incidents were classified as follows according to the Gaza Strip Governorates:

  1. Northern Gaza Strip: incidents occurred in eastern Jabalia and resulted in the targeting of 14 civilians, including 4 children, with live bullets and direct tear gas canisters; 3 of those wounded sustained serious wound, including a child. Among the wounded persons, 13 were hit with live bullets and shrapnel while the last one was directly hit with a tear gas canister.
  2. Gaza City: incidents occurred in eastern al-Shuja’iyia neighborhood and resulted in the killing of the abovementioned civilian and wounding 35 civilians by live bullets and direct tear gas canisters.
  3. Central Gaza Strip: incidents occurred in eastern al-Buriej camp and resulted in the wounding of 20 civilians, including 4 children. One of those wounded sustained serious wounds. Among the wounded persons, 19 were hit with live bullets and the last one was directly hit with a tear gas canister.
  4. Khan Yunis City: incidents occurred in eastern Khuza’ah and resulted in the wounding of 18 civilians, including a child and a woman. Three of those wounded sustained serious wounds. Among the wounded persons, 14 were hit with live bullets and 4 were directly hit with tear gas canister.
  5. Rafah City: incidents occurred in eastern Rafah and resulted in the wounding of 11 civilians, including a child. Two of those wounded sustained serious wounds. Among the wounded persons, 10 were hit with live bullets and the last one was directly hit with a tear gas canister.

 

PCHR condemns this new crime committed by the Israeli forces, believing it is as a result of Israel’s enjoying impunity thanks to the U.S. and so encouraging the Israeli forces to commit further crimes upon an official decision by the highest military and political echelons.

 

PCHR emphasizes that continuously inflicting casualties, either killed or wounded, is unjustified and targeting and killing civilians, who exercise their right to peaceful assembly or while carrying out their humanitarian duty, using lethal force is a serious violation of the rules of intentional law and international humanitarian law.

 

PCHR also stresses that this ongoing policy by Israel violates the Rome STATUTE OF THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT (ICC) and Fourth Geneva Convention, and its practices qualify to war crimes. Thus, PCHR calls upon the ICC Prosecutor to open an official investigation into these crimes in addition to prosecuting and holding accountable all of those involved in issuing decisions and orders in the Israeli forces at the political and security level and those applying the orders.

 

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.

 

PCHR calls upon Switzerland, in its capacity as the Depository State for the Convention, to demand the High Contracting Parties to convene a meeting and ensure Israel’s respect for this Convention, noting that 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 occupied territories.