On Friday afternoon, 21 September 2018, using excessive force against the peaceful protesters in the eastern Gaza Strip for the 26th Friday in a row, Israeli forces killed a Palestinian civilian and wounded 148 others, including 32 children, 8 of those sustained serious wounds.
According to PCHR fieldworkers’ observations, the border area witnessed large participation by Palestinian civilians as the Israeli forces continued to use upon highest military and political echelons excessive force against the peaceful demonstrators who posed no threat or danger to the life of Israeli soldiers in the areas of demonstrations.
Table of Civilian Casualties due to the Israeli Suppression since the Beginning of the Great March of Return on 30 March:
|Among those Killed, there are 3 Persons with Disabilities while among the children killed, there is a girl.||3||2||1||27||140||Killed|
|Among those wounded, 455 are in serious condition and 76 had their lower or upper limbs amputated. The number of those wounded only include those wounded with live bullet and directly hit with tear gas canisters as there have been thousand others who suffered tear gas inhalation.||115||87||216||1303||7509||Wounded|
Investigations and observations by PCHR’s fieldworkers emphasize that the demonstrations in all areas were as always fully peaceful, and neither weapons nor armed persons were seen. However, the Israeli forces’ snipers continued to position on the hills, behind the sand berms and in military jeeps along the border fence.
The incidents today, 21 September 2018, were as follows:
At approximately 16:30, thousands of civilians, including women, children and entire families, started swarming to the 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 governorates. They raised flags and chanted national songs. Hundreds, including children and women, approached the border fence with Israel, set fire to tires and gathered 300 meters away from the main border fence. Some of them attempted to throw stones at the Israeli forces, pulled parts of the barbed-wire fence established inside the Palestinian territories and fired incendiary balloons along the border fence. In limitted cases, a number of the protestors approached the border fence and attempted to cross it in the eastern Rafah and Gaza City.
The Israeli shooting, which continued until 19:30, resulted in the killing of civilian Karim Mohammed ahmoud Kollab (20), from Gaza City, was hit with a live bullet that penetrated the abdomen and existed the back during his participation in the demonstrations organized in the east of al-Sheja’eiyah neighborhood in Gaza City.
Moreover, 148 civilians, including 32 children, were wounded with live bullets and direct tear gas canisters. Eight of those wounded sustained serious wounds in addition dozens suffering tear gas inhalation and seizures after tear gas canisters were heavily fired by the Israeli soldiers from the military jeeps and riffles in the eastern Gaza Strip.
PCHR hereby condemns the crimes 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 using lethal force to target and kill civilians, who exercise their right to peaceful assembly or while carrying out their humanitarian duty, is a serious violation of the rules of international law, international humanitarian law, the ICC Rome Statute and Fourth Geneva Convention. Thus, PCHR calls upon the ICC Prosecutor to open an official investigation in these crimes and to prosecute and hold accountable all those applying or involved in issuing orders within the Israeli Forces at the security and political echelons.
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.