On Wednesday evening, 03 October 2018, using excessive force against Palestinian civilians, Israeli forces killed a Palestinian child and wounded 22 others, including 10 children and a woman, with live bullets and tear gas canisters. Ten of those wounded were seriously injured during the suppression of hundreds of peaceful demonstrators near the Beit Hanoun “Erez” crossing in the northern Gaza Strip.
This crime and other crimes committed by the Israeli forces recently indicate the Israeli forces’ escalation of using excessive force against peaceful demonstrators in the Gaza Strip, and their premeditated intention to claim as many victims as they could among the Palestinian protestors.
According to investigations conducted by the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), at approximately 16:30 On Wednesday evening, 03 October 2018, Israeli forces stationed in the military watchtowers on the top of the cement wall at Beit Hanoun “Erez” crossing, northwest of Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip, heavily fired live bullets and tear gas canisters at dozens of civilians, who protested on the asphalt road leading to the vehicles’ gate at the crossing. the protestors set fire to the tires and threw stones at the Israeli soldiers. The demonstrations were upon calls from popular and national factions to participate in the activities titled: “Together for the Protection of Refugees’ Human Rights and Breaking the Siege”. As a result, Ahmed Samir Harb Abu Habel (15), from the northern Gaza Strip, was killed after being hit with a tear gas canister that penetrated his head, causing a fracture to the skull. A recorded video shown Ahmed at the moment he was directly hit with a live bullet to the head and fell on the ground as the gas was coming out of the canister while it was in his head.
This is not the first time to document such victims due to the Israeli forces’ use of this type of tear gas canisters as PCHR previously documented the killing of many demonstrators. In addition, hundreds of civilians were directly hit with tear gas canisters. Moreover, 22 civilians, including 10 children and a woman, were hit with live bullets and tear gas canisters. two ambulances further were directly hit with tear gas canisters.
After the killing of the child, the number of victims due to the Israeli forces suppression against the protestors of the March of Return and Breaking Siege activates since their launch on 30 March 2018, has risen to 151 killed civilians, including 31 children, a woman, two journalists and three paramedics in addition to more than 7900 wounded civilians, including 1365 children and 223 Women.
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 calls upon the international community and UN bodies to stop the Israeli escalating crimes and violations and work on providing international protection for Palestinians in the oPt. 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.