On Friday, 26 October 2018, in excessive use of force against peaceful protesters on the 31th Friday of the March of Return and Breaking the Siege, Israeli forces killed 4 Palestinian civilians and wounded 236 others, including 51 children, 8 women, 3 journalists and 6 paramedics, with live bullets and directly hit tear gas canisters in eastern Gaza Strip. Sixteen of those wounded sustained serious wounds.
According to the fieldworkers of Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), the Israeli forces increased the use of live bullets against peaceful demonstrators, especially in eastern Khan Younis, where demonstrations moved to a new location in the east of Khuza’a and 3 demonstrators were killed in addition to dozen others were wounded.
PCHR’s investigations and fieldworkers’ observations emphasize that though limited attempts to approach the border fence were reported in the demonstration areas, there was no imminent threat posed to the life of the Israeli soldiers and the protests were totally peaceful. PCHR’s fieldworkers did not witness any armed manifestations while the Israeli soldiers continued to position on the top of sand berms and hills, in military jeeps and tanks along the border fence.
This proves that Israeli forces continue to use excessive force against the protestors upon highest Israeli military and political echelons despite no danger or threat posed to the life of Israeli soldiers.
At approximately 15:00, 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, limitedly threw Molotov Cocktails and pulled parts of the second barbed-wire few meters away from the fence established inside the Palestinian territories few meters away from the border fence and in limited cases, they threw Molotov Cocktails along the border fence. However, there was no threat posed on the lives of Israeli soldiers stationed behind barracks and sand berms, 70 meters away the border fence.
The Israeli shooting, which continued until 18:30, resulted in the killing of 4 civilians; 3 of them were killed in eastern Khan Yunis, east of Khuza’ah, where demonstrations moved to a new location near the border fence in eastern Khan Yunis. The death of civilians killed was declared few hours after their arrival at the European Hospital and they were identified as:
- Nassar Eyad Nassar Abu Tayyim (19), from Bani Suhiylah, east of Khan Yunis, was hit with a live bullet to the head in eastern Khan Yunis.
- Ahmed Sa’ied ‘Abed al-‘Aziz Abu Lebda (22), from Bani Suhiylah, east of Khan Yunis, was hit with a live bullet to the chest in eastern Khan Yunis.
- ‘Ayish Ghassan ‘Ayish Sha’at (23), from al-Fukhari neighborhood, east of Khan Yunis, was hit with a live bullet to the head in eastern Khan Yunis.
- Mohamed Khaled Mahmoud ‘Abed al-Nabi (27), from Jabalia, was hit with a live bullet to the head at approximately 15:20, in eastern Abu Safiyia area, northeast of Jabalia. His death was declared at approximately 16:30 in al-Shifa Hospital after referring him from the Indonesian Hospital.
Moreover, 236 civilians, including 51 children, 8 women, 3 journalists, and 6 paramedics, were wounded with live bullets and directly hit with tear gas canisters. Sixteen 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.
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 5 Persons with Disabilities and a girl||3||2||1||33||168||Killed|
|Among those wounded, 495 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.||128||116||247||1586||9073||Wounded|
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 targeting 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.